WEEK TWO, HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW/Greenwood, Warren East to scrap at Barren County; Hot weather forces some schedule adjustments


It’s been a challenging week for high school football teams and coaches across South Central Kentucky.

A heat wave has swept across the Mid-South over the last four or five days, forcing coaches to make all sorts of logistical adjustments as KHSAA high school teams prepare for Week Two of the 2023 football season.

“We’ve been in the gym, most of the week,” said Tanner Hall, Warren East’s first-year head coach. “We’ve tried to keep things consistent, the best we can, with the heat. Our game with Greenwood (on Friday night) has been pushed back, from 6 p.m. to 7:30.

“Barren County’s game with Trigg County Central (in the Don Franklin Auto Trojan Trail Turf War) has been moved from Friday to Saturday (on Saturday at BCHS). We’re looking forward to playing Greenwood; they’re a good football team.”

Greenwood coach William Howard has taken a different tact to deal with the suffocating temperatures.

The Gators (1-0) have gotten up with the chickens and reported to The Swamp for brisk 90-minute practices at 5:30 a.m. Greenwood is having work done on its stadium and won’t be playing at home until mid-September.

Greenwood and Warren East (1-0) haven’t squared off since the 2019 season, when Howard’s Gators knocked off the visiting Raiders, 22-13. Both teams are coming off successful seasons, with Greenwood finishing 9-3 overall while Warren East was winning a district championship on its way to a 12-1 season.

“The heat could be a factor, definitely,” Howard said. “It probably will be. Warren East is a good football team. We’ll need to play well, to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The Gators’ defense figures to have its hands full with Warren East quarterback Dane Parsley, who guided the Raiders to last week’s 24-0 victory over visiting Daviess County. Senior transfer Cam Smith is Howard’s starting quarterback at Greenwood, which opened the season with a 49-14 victory over Hopkinsville on August 18 at Allen County-Scottsville High School.

“I think our defense did what we were looking for, last week,” Greenwood fullback/linebacker Gray Price said. “We’ve got to minimize the mental mistakes … just go out and play our game.”

Greenwood’s non-district game against Warren East is just one of the compelling matchups in Week Two of the high school football season.

South Warren (1-0), a KHSAA Class 5A state champion in 2021, is looking to bounce back from last year’s 6-6 season. The Spartans play host to a big, strong Henderson County squad on Friday night, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The Colonels (1-0) slipped past Meade County, 35-34, last week, while South Warren used a big game from junior running back/linebacker Ethan Reynolds to derail North Hardin, 48-38, last Saturday in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

Bowling Green High School, last year’s Class 5A runner-up, has had a short work week after opening the season with a gut-wrenching, 56-52 loss to star quarterback Cutter Boley and Lexington Christian Academy in the Rafferty’s Bowl at WKU’s Houchens-Smith Stadium. The Purples (0-1) will face traditional rival Owensboro High School (0-1) at Rash Stadium, the venerable home of the Red Devils on Frederica Street in Owensboro.

“We’ve bounced back and put the LCA game behind us,” junior BGHS quarterback Deuce Bailey said. “I thought we’ve had a good week of practice, and I can tell our guys are itching for a win.”

Bailey had a sensational effort on Opening Night, passing for 478 yards and four touchdowns in the memorable game with LCA. There were nine lead changes before the Eagles scored the winning touchdown, a 12-yard run by LCA senior Brady Hensley, with just 27 seconds showing on the Smith-Houchens Stadium clock.

“It’s been a very businesslike week in practice,” BGHS coach Mark Spader said. “We went on Tuesday and Wednesday night, rather than after school, to beat the heat and handled the adjustment well.

“This is a great rivalry. It’s a typical Owensboro team. Big, athletic and fast. It will be a great road test for us.”

Bowling Green’s defense carried the Purples past Owensboro, 17-7, in the state championship game at Lexington’s Kroger Field in 2020.

Other games to watch include Franklin-Simpson (1-0) playing host to longtime rival Warren Central (0-1), Logan County (1-0) squaring off with Rossview High School of Clarksville, Tennessee, in Russellville, and Glasgow (1-0) traveling southwest to tangle with Coach Mikie Benton’s Russellville Panthers (0-1) at storied Rhea Stadium in Russellville.

“We’ve got to minimize the penalties, the mistakes,” Benton said after last week’s 29-7 loss to Butler County.

Other games to watch this week:

**** Barren County (1-0) playing host to Trigg County (0-1) on Saturday night in Glasgow;

**** — Allen County-Scottsville (1-0) tangling with Monroe County (1-0) on Friday night in Scottsville;

**** — Butler County (1-0) playing host to Webster County (1-0) on Friday night in Morgantown;

**** — And Hart County (1-0) squaring off with nearby LaRue County (0-1) on Friday night in Munfordville.

Greenwood and Warren East seemed to have caught a break by not spending the bulk of their non-district matchup in the heat of the day, with kickoff being moved back 90 minutes to 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The Gators have good team speed and talented veteran players such as running back/defensive back Tel Tel Long, fullback/linebacker Gray Price and senior wideout/defensive back Elmo Stewart.

William Howard, like many other area coaches, are using some players on both offense and defense, although it’s often a balancing act with the heat. Howard and GHS offensive coordinator Jason Jaggers are pleased with the progress of transfer quarterback Cam Smith, who hasn’t played football since the 2021 season, at South Warren.

Smith completed 9 of 13 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns, in last week’s road victory over Allen County-Scottsville.

“I think our offense will produce (against Warren East),” Smith said. “But defense could be the deciding factor for both of us. We’ve put in a little extra work, with the morning practices, after school.”

Warren East coach Tanner Hall, who succeeded Jeff Griffith after last year’s 12-1 season, is looking for a more complete performance after last week’s rout of AC-S.

“We’ve got to make improvement in lots of areas,” Hall said. “We left a lot of points off the scoreboard last week, particularly early in the game, and we still haven’t made a PAT, yet. We’ve got some new players — Grant White, Sam Jordan, Jackson Young — who came back to football after not playing last season.

“They’ve all taken on big roles with this team.”