HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW, WEEK SEVEN/Scotties, Franklin-Simpson put unbeaten records on the line


They’re the final two unbeaten teams in South Central Kentucky, and two of the six remaining KHSAA Class 3A football squads yet to stub their toe with a defeat.

That’s about to change.

The Franklin-Simpson High School Wildcats, competing in KHSAA Class 3A, 2nd District after dropping from the 4A ranks, are 6-0 overall and 2-0 in district play.

Meanwhile, a couple counties over, the Glasgow Scotties are 6-0 overall and 1-0 in their familiar district. Coach Jeff Garmon’s Scotties have had one close call, a 36-35 victory over crosstown rival Barren County, a game settled in two overtimes on September 15.

Glasgow will play host to Franklin-Simpson on Friday night, with the winning team to gain the upper hand in the final month of regular-season play heading into the KHSAA playoffs. Kickoff at Glasgow’s Hank Royse Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

“Franklin’s a very good football team. They’re 6-0 for a reason,” Garmon said. “They run the ball really well. Defensively, they don’t give up many big plays.”

Glasgow traveled to Franklin-Simpson’s Mathews Stadium for last year’s regular-season finale, the Wildcats’ hard-fought, 24-14 victory over the Scotties. Both teams were knocked out in the opening round of the playoffs, Franklin-Simpson falling to Hopkinsville 24-17 while Union County was eliminating Glasgow, 50-20.

Both squads seem well equipped to go deeper into the postseason this time around.

Junior quarterback Easton Jessie has completed 59 of 92 passes (64 percent) for 1,098 yards and 14 touchdowns. In six games, he’s been intercepted just once, and he leads the Scotties in rushing too, with 239 yards on the ground, including four touchdowns.

“We’re more of a spread team this year,” Garmon said.

Traditionally, Glasgow is more like Franklin-Simpson, a wing-T team that values time of possession while keeping the defense guessing with misdirection in the running game.

Franklin-Simpson’s senior quarterback, Mathias Dickerson, is having a special season himself.

Dickerson’s sleight-of-hand repertoire in the backfield is what keeps the Wildcats on the move. Franklin-Simpson has prevailed in two competitive games, first on September 1, a 31-21 victory over longtime rival Allen County-Scottsville, and one week later, the Wildcats’ 27-20 triumph over Adair County.

Since then, F-S coach Max Chaney’s squad has rolled to victories over Russellville (50-19) and Butler County (43-16), extending the Wildcats’ record to 6-0 heading into Friday night’s showdown in Glasgow.

Chaney is impressed with Jessie and the Glasgow receiving corps, particularly senior wideout Rico Crowder, who leads the Scotties with 19 receptions for 490 yards — nearly 26 yards per catch — and a team-high seven touchdowns. Crowder plans to enroll at the University of Kentucky next year as a preferred walk-on.

“The Jessie kid has a lot of experience, and Crowder is really athletic,” Chaney said. “We’re excited … We’re excited for the opportunity. They’re a good team. They’re well coached. We’ve had a good week of practice.

“I think our guys are ready for the challenge.”

Collin Anderson leads the Wildcats with 400 yards rushing, with five touchdowns, while versatile senior Gavin Dickerson has rushed for 343 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Blake McPherson also has been effective on the ground, with 304 yards on the ground, and Mathias Dickerson is a dual threat quarterback.

Mathias Dickerson has completed 14 of 27 passes this season, for 297 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 84 yards rushing. The Wildcats also have proven players in senior linebacker fullback-linebacker Hayden Satterly and senior linemen Tytus Brown and Zeke Eberhart.

“We’ve usually got four or five kids playing both ways,” Chaney said. “Hayden does a lot of things for our football team. He can play fullback, wingback, tight end … he’s the (middle) linebacker of our defense, and he’s our long snapper, too.

“The last two weeks, we’ve only had 32 offensive plays for our first unit. We’re just trying to win some football games.”

Glasgow and Franklin-Simpson both have a lot of offensive weapons, with an eye on the big picture, and possibly a long season with an eye on the KHSAA’s Championship Weekend in the first week of December in Lexington. Both teams have enjoyed plenty of postseason success over the years.

“We struggled a little bit in the Barren County game,” Garmon said. “We were off, just a little bit … We didn’t throw it as well, we had two touchdowns called back because of penalties. That sort of thing hurts you, mentally, and you’re taking points off the board.

“The kids are excited. It’s been a long run here. We’ve got one more game before we go on fall break.”

The first full weekend of the 2023 season coincides with most Kentucky schools’ fall break, as well as all but one area team’s open date. South Warren, a Top 10 team in the KHSAA Class 5A ranks, will have its open date this week, and the Spartans (5-1 overall, 1-0 in Class 5A, 2nd District play) will be on the road on October 6 against Louisville’s Moore High School (3-2).

Bowling Green High School, last year’s Class 5A state runner-up, will be playing on Thursday night for the second consecutive week. The Purples (4-2, 1-0 in district play) will play host to Christian County (2-3 overall) at El Donaldson Stadium. Kickoff for that game is at 7 p.m.

The BGHS-Christian County game is one of eight games in the Commonwealth being played on Thursday night this week, in large part because of a shortage of KHSAA officials. Other Thursday night games involving South Central Kentucky teams include unbeaten Owensboro Catholic (6-0) traveling to Elkton to tangle with Todd County Central (3-3) in a Class 3A, 2nd District showdown, and Metcalfe County (1-5 overall) on the road to square off with Monroe County (2-4 overall) in Tompkinsville.

On Friday night, the marquee game will be Logan County (5-1, 2-0 in Class 4A, 1st District play) making the long trip to scrap with unbeaten Paducah Tilghman (6-0, 2-0). Logan County has played all but one of its first six games at home, and the Cougars are matched up with a new district rival, a traditional power on the Ohio River located about 2.5 hours from the LCHS campus.

“It’s a long trip, and really, it’s our first road trip of the year,” Logan County coach Todd Adler said. “The one time we didn’t play at home was at Russellville, and they’re right down the street. Paducah Tighlman is a tough opponent, and it’s going to be a really good test, for us to see where we are.

“Tilghman is really big up front, and they’ve got a ton of speed, offense and defense. They’re well coached. We’ll have our hands full, for sure.”

Tilghman has a player to watch in junior quarterback Jack James, who has completed 108 of 170 passes (64 percent) for 1,615 yards and 19 touchdowns. James has thrown just three interceptions and has scored three rushing touchdowns.

Adler has gone with a two-quarterback system this season, using both 6-foot-3 sophomore Ridge Holman and senior captain Davin Yates under center. Holman has passed for 1,230 yards and 14 touchdowns, with just two interceptions, while Yates, a dual-threat QB, has rushed for 443 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns.

Logan County’s senior fullback-linebacker, Eli Hawkins, leads the Cougars in both rushing (462 yards, four TDs) and tackles (54, including six for losses).

“We like what we’ve been able to do, using both Ridge and Davin at quarterback,” Adler said.

In other games on Friday night, Greenwood (4-2, 0-1) will resume its district schedule at home against Ohio County (1-5, 0-1), with an eye on bouncing back from last week’s 47-13 loss to South Warren. Warren East (4-2 overall, 2-0 in Class 4A, 2nd District) plays host to longtime rival Allen County-Scottsville (2-4, 0-2), while Mark Nelson’s Warren Central squad (1-5 overall) makes its Class 6A, 2nd District debut at home against Central Hardin (2-4 overall).