Preview: Beechwood vs. Mayfield

Beechwood OL/DL Xavier Campbell (photo by Greg Shoemaker/

It’s only appropriate that small school football royalty in the Bluegrass State is squaring off for the Class 2A state championship. Mayfield and Beechwood have combined for 28 titles with 10 of those coming since 2010. The two coaches are a combined 479-101 in their careers. Expect this affair to be one of the most well-played games of the 2022 season.

Kickoff: 4:00 p.m., December 2, 2022
Kroger Field, University of Kentucky
Follow on Twitter: @TSFootball 

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior quarterback Zane Cartwright is the maestro of the Mayfield offensive orchestra. A three-year starter, Cartwright has been incredibly efficient and consistent over the last two campaigns, throwing for 4,209 yards with 46 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. After leading the Cardinals in sacks and tackles for losses in 2021, junior Jutarious Starks has moved his talents to the other side of the ball. He leads the team with 1,110 yards and 20 touchdowns rushing. On defense, Mayfield has forced 27 turnovers and found the end zone five times. Senior Michael Hughes has eight of those takeaways (seven INTs) including three pick-sixes.

The future looks bright in Fort Mitchell. Beechwood sophomore quarterback Clay Hayden has thrown for 1,706 with 20 touchdown tosses and only two interceptions in nine games since returning from an injury. Classmate Chase Flaherty has 88 carries for 653 yards and 18 touchdowns filling in nicely for star Mitch Berger who was lost to a knee injury in Week 8. Thanks to Covid reclassification, junior Xavier Campbell is in his fourth year as a starter. Campbell has recorded double digit sacks (11.0 in 2022) in each of the past two seasons. Senior Carson Craycraft has seven of the Tigers 22 interceptions including two pick-sixes.

TEAM TRENDS: This is the 10th time that the two schools have met in the playoffs including seven times in the Noel Rash Era. Mayfield won the first eight meetings before Beechwood took them down in last year’s state semifinals. All of the losses in this series have come in the state semifinals.

Mayfield is averaging 42.7 points per game with an average margin of victory of 32.3 points. The Cardinals have topped the 40-point mark nine times in their last 11 contests.

Beechwood has scored 48 points or more five times in the last six weeks. They have an average margin of victory of 35.1 points. The Tigers defense has only allowed more than 14 points once all season (31 to Covington Catholic). Beechwood has held 10 foes to nine points or less with five shutouts.

Mayfield: Joe Morris (285-54 at Mayfield, 24th year)

Beechwood: Noel Rash (194-47 at Beechwood, 17th year)

State Champions (12 times): 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2002, 1995, 1993, 1986, 1985, 1978, 1977. 

State Runner-Up (12 times): 2019, 2018, 2017, 2011, 2009, 2005, 1998, 1992, 1991, 1989, 1987, 1976.

State Champion (16 times): 2021, 2020, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2008, 2007, 2004, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1984

State Runner-Up (5 times): 2015, 2003, 2002, 1995, 1974

MAYFIELD’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Spread the wealth and use all their weapons on offense. Don’t allow Beechwood to take Starks out of the rushing attack and make the Cardinals one-dimensional through the air. That is best done by grabbing an early lead and keeping it so the running game can flourish. 

BEECHWOOD’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Maintaining balance on offense should keep the Cardinals defense honest and playing back on their heels. They will be hard to come by but forcing a couple of Mayfield turnovers could be the boost the Tigers need to get over the hill. The defense has all the motivation to make one final stand on what has been a stifling and smothering season to this point. 

Prediction: Beechwood 28, Mayfield 21 




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