The Mason County-Fleming County football rivalry will carry more meaning when the 2019 season rolls around.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association released the new realignment for all six football classes on Wednesday and the Royals and Panthers will be in the same district. The two are placed in the Class 3A, 6th District. Mason County moves down from 4A due to a drop in enrollment. They’ll be joining Lewis County, Pendleton County and Powell County to form the five-team district.
“Geographically, on a local district level it couldn’t be any better for us,” Mason County co-Athletic Director Chris Ullery said. “From our point-of-view, where out football program is, Fleming in our district is a great attention getter for our staff and out kids.”
Fleming County will lose long-standing traditional rivals in district play with Russell and West Carter.
“I really am glad to be back in the district with Mason,” Panthers coach Bill Spencer said. “It adds a little bit more to it with it being a district game. Losing Russell takes a little bit away, but we’ll still have them scheduled.”
For the most part, teams in the new district are familiar with one another outside of Powell County, who will be looking for a new coach after Brandon Bender left for Prestonsburg. The Pirates went 8-5 last season, making it to the regional finals.
Powell County was granted a request to move from the Class 3A, 5th District with Bell County, Estill County, Garrard County, Jackson County, McCreary County and Rockcastle County into the 6th District.
Lewis County had played Powell County from 2003-16.
“They were in our same district back when their were four classes, so we’re familiar with everyone,” Lions coach Josh Hughes said. “We lose a traditional rival with West Carter who I feel like we’ve battled for a playoff spot forever, but we’ll still keep them on the schedule. We’re definitely excited, expect some good crowds with who we’ll play.”
Pendleton County has been in a district with Fleming County and Lewis County since 2015.
Bracken County, originally proposed to move up to Class 2A with the new realignment, will remain in the Class A, 5th District with Bishop Brossart, Bracken County, Nicholas County and Paris.
The Polar Bears were the lowest team in terms of enrollment to move up a class, but with Fulton City out of Western Kentucky not slotted in realignment, it allowed the Polar Bears to stay in Class A.
“It keeps the natural rivalries we’ve built with with Nicholas and Brossart and the relationships we’ve built with those teams, so we’re pleased with the outcome,” Bracken County Athletic Director Daniel Fisher said.
The alignment is good for the 2019-22 seasons.
Other changes outside of the coverage area from the realignment include:
Class 2A: West Carter was granted a request to play in Class 2A after being placed in Class 3A during the draft process. The Comets will play in Class 2A, District 8. Morgan County was granted a geographic request to move to District 7 from District 8.
Class 3A:Garrard County was granted a geographic request to move to District 5 from District 4. Powell County was granted a geographic request to move to District 6 from District 5.
Class 4A: Russell County was granted a geographic and time zone request to move to District 2 from District 7.
Class 5A: Breckinridge County was granted a request to play up in class due to geographic concerns. It was placed in District 1.