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High School Football – A look at the district picture ahead of Perry’s clash with Jaguars

October 11, 2018 – Hazard, Kentucky – NATHAN LYTTLE – Bluegrass Sports Nation Perry Central Football Columnist 

Perry Central heads to London Friday night to take on the North Laurel Jaguars. The district picture is starting to take shape, but there is still plenty of football to be played.

Last Friday was a night of firsts for the Commodores: the first district win of the season, the first time defeating the Whitley County Colonels at their home field, and the first game this season Jayden Neace did not hit the century mark in the rushing yards column. Neace played through a lower-leg injury that slowed him down, but could not keep him out of the end zone as he still managed to tally a couple scores. The entire team stepped up last week and will need to do that again for the Commodore success to continue.

“They just gotta keep playing hard and take care of business this week and the following week,” Coach Ovie Canady said. “If we win out, things will take care of themselves.”

Coach Canady is well-schooled in the calculus one has to crunch to determine the district picture in 5A-District 8. The district has been one of the more competitive district’s in the state over the years and has been decided by a three-way tie before. A two-team or three-team tie is very possible this year. Let’s take a deeper look into this district championship race.

Here are the standings going into Friday night’s matchups:
Harlan County 2-0
Letcher Central 2-1
Perry Central 1-1
Whitley County 1-1
North Laurel 0-3

First off, Harlan County can win this thing outright if they win their next two games (Whitley County and Perry Central). They have gone out and handled business in their first two games and have the benefit of controlling their own destiny.

Perry Central is in a similar position in the sense that if they win out, they could likely be district champs. It is not a guarantee by any means, but the Commodores are in as good a spot as anyone. 

If the Commodores can manage a three-way tie with any two teams in the district they are in good shape. This looks to be the most likely scenario involving a Commodore district championship. If Perry wins their next two games, Harlan County beats Whitley County Friday and Letcher Central also hands the Colonels a loss next week, you will have a Letcher-Perry-Harlan tie at 3-1. Since those teams all split games against each other, you would go to a points system to determine your champ. Let’s head to the KHSAA Competition Rules governing football for the finer details. 

“Each team tied for the position shall receive one point for each game won by any four of their defeated opponents in all games, except for the games played between any two of the tied teams. All games played shall be counted in applying the tie-breaking procedure, including out of state games, with the exception that a defeated school may be counted only once in the procedure regardless of the number of games played against that particular school. Teams awarded forfeit victories (whether or not a forfeit fee is paid) may count the defeated opponents of the forfeiting team, provided the game was not replaced on the schedule.”

To sum all that up: you get a point for games won by your defeated opponents, but you don’t get to count the teams in the tie-breaker. You can technically count a win over another team in the district, but those wins are virtually always shared by the teams in the tie and it won’t do anything to help anyone. It comes down to who you played in non-district play and how well those teams performed throughout the year. 

Let’s look at where those point totals stack up right now. Keep in mind that as teams win games over the last three weeks of the season, these numbers will change.

Letcher Central – 5 points
Eligible Wins: Pike Central (2 pts), North Laurel (3 pts)
Games remaining: Whitley County (2 pts), Floyd Central (5 pts)

Harlan County – 3 points
Eligible Wins: North Laurel (3 pts)
Games remaining: Whitley County (2 pts), Bell County (7 pts)

Perry Central – 10 points*
Eligible Wins: McCreary Central (0 pts), Breathitt County (5 pts), Knott Central (1 pt), Clay County (1 pt), Pike Central (2 pts), Whitley County (2 pts)
Games remaining: North Laurel (3 pts), Prestonsburg (0 pts)

*You can only receive points from four games.

As things stand, Perry Central has the points. However, there are a lot of points in play with Letcher having Floyd Central on the schedule and  Harlan County having Bell County on the schedule.

This is just one scenario, but two things have to happen for it to play out: Perry Central winning their next two games and Harlan County beating Whitley County this Friday night. If Harlan County loses, that would set up a possible two-way tie with Letcher Central and the Commodores would be runners-up. Unless Whitley can knock off Harlan County and Letcher in back-to-back weeks, then the Commodores can tie with Whitley and win the championship. Is your head spinning yet?

There are plenty of scenarios at play in the final weeks of the season, but winning a championship in anything all boils down to one thing: keep winning.

The Commodores look to do just that as they head to London to face the Jaguars Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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