Tuesday marked exactly one calendar month away from the start of the high school football season in Kentucky.
Before we get there, let’s take a look at some games to circle as we get closer to the start.
Rivalries, district foes or an out of conference game it may be, here are some games to look forward to over the next couple of months:
Mason County at Fleming County (Aug. 24)
This matchup becomes even bigger next year when the two will be in the same Class 3A, 6th District, but don’t tell that to the parties involved. These two simply do not like one another and Fleming has owned the rivalry as of late, winning the last four contests. Prior to that, it was all Mason County, winning nine of 10. Adding more intrigue this year? The all-time series is all square at 21-21 as the Panthers took last year’s contest with a length of the field drive in the closing minutes…is it August 24th yet?
Bracken County at Ludlow (Aug. 24)
The Panthers were one of just two teams to give the Polar Bears a regular season loss last season, thanks to Justin Blackburn, who accounted for 317 yards and four touchdowns in a 27-24 victory. Blackburn has graduated now as the Polar Bears look to exact revenge.
Fleming County at Greenup County (Aug. 31)
These two always seem to play a tight game, the last five years have been decided by a total of 31 points, the Musketeers coming out on the winning end in three of the five. Greenup features talented junior quarterback Eli Sammons, who will be sure to test the Panthers secondary in this one.
Bracken County at Pendleton County (Aug. 31)
Rivalry, out of district game for these two. These two don’t like each other and the Polar Bears will look to put another hurting on the Wildcats again, winning last year’s contest 39-6.
Fleming County at Rowan County (Sept. 7)
Another early rivalry game for the Panthers in a series they’ve been able to turn the tides a bit, winning three of the last four after losing six straight in years prior.
Lewis County at Nicholas County (Sept. 7)
The Bluejackets were handed a heavy dose of apples last season as Garrett Applegate ran for 210 yards and five touchdowns to give the Lions a 56-32 victory, one of their two wins on the year last season. Applegate enters his senior year hoping for an encore performance, this time in Carlisle.
Montgomery County at Fleming County (Sept. 14)
The Panthers will face a step up in competition against the 5A Indians, who would appear to be loaded, returning the majority of key pieces from a 10-3 season in ‘17. Montgomery took last year’s contest 61-28 in a game that featured nearly 1,000 yards of offense, 597 of them from the Indians.
North Adams at Manchester (Sept. 14)
Guess one could call it the Adams County Bowl. North Adams still seeks OHSAA eligibility as they try to resurrect their program. A win over county foe Manchester would provide a boost. The Greyhounds will do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Mason County at Scott (Sept. 21)
No matter the sport, the Royals and Eagles always seem to play close games. That’s definitely been the case for these two on the gridiron the last two seasons, trading six-point victories on each other’s home field. The Royals snuck away with a 21-15 victory in Taylor Mill in ‘16, while the Eagles returned the favor with a 27-21 victory in overtime on the Royals field in ‘17. Not to mention the playoff implications this game holds being a district battle.
Fleming County at Lewis County (Sept. 21)
If the Lions want to show they can compete in the Class 3A, 5th District, no better time to do so when district play starts in Vanceburg with the Panthers. Since the Lions last victory in the series in 2013, the Panthers have outscored them 177-12 in the last four meetings.
Bracken County at Paris (Sept. 28)
In a district where these two are expected to be at the top, this one could decide who takes home the Class 1A, 5th District crown. The Greyhounds came to Brooksville last year and put a hurting on the Polar Bears, 34-14. The last time these two met in Paris, the Polar Bears pulled out an epic 43-41 victory, arguably their biggest win in school history prior to last year’s playoff win. This game also features two running backs in the Greyhounds’ Matthew Barber and the Polar Bears’ Tad Fisher that combined for over 2,500 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns last season.
Mason County at Bourbon County (Sept. 28)
The Royals haven’t beat the Colonels since 2010, dropping the past five matchups, including last year’s heartbreaker 27-26 in which a failed two-point conversion in the closing seconds was the difference maker. Can the Royals breakthrough against a Colonels team expected to be the district favorite entering the season?
Russell at Fleming County (Sept. 28)
Not sure many words need to be said here. These two have been mainstays at the top of the Class 3A, 5th District the past couple of years with each team winning on the others turf the past three seasons, the Panthers winning two of the last three, including returning a punt for a touchdown in the closing minute of the contest last season. Russell posted an uncharacteristic 5-6 season last year and one would fully expect them to be a hungry team in ‘18.
Lewis County at Pendleton County (Sept. 28)
Since the two joined the Class 3A, 5th District in 2015, its been nothing but close contests, all Lions victories, all by eight points or less. With a six-team district and these two teams that missed the playoffs last season, they’ll both be looking for a win in this one, most likely a close game once again.
Harrison County at Mason County (Oct. 5)
Repeat of last year’s game please? Not sure I’ve seen a crazier game since covering prep sports four years ago. The Thorobreds held a 40-21 lead with eight minutes to play in Cynthiana, on the cusp of their first victory of the season, but the Royals kept chipping away and away, to eventually tie the game in the closing minutes of regulation. The two would go into overtime tied at 40, where the Royals finally sealed the comeback by recovering a fumble in double overtime for a 54-48 victory.
Bracken County at Bishop Brossart (Oct. 5)
The second of three big district matchups for the Polar Bears. Last year was just Bracken’s second win in program history over the Mustangs. This one should play a big part in district seeding for the playoffs.
Nicholas County at Bracken County (Oct. 19)
See Bishop Brossart. Another big district matchup here. The Bluejackets will come in hungry for this one, having lost the last two years to the Polar Bears, including a 24-0 shutout last season on senior night in Carlisle.
Manchester at Notre Dame (Oct. 19)
A big rivalry game for the Greyhounds. Manchester was able to pull out a 21-14 victory a season ago, a game in which they scored in the final minute to earn the victory.