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Louisville Central (4-0) meets Franklin County (3-0) for district regular-season crown on Friday night

By Chad Hensley
KyForward sports reporter

A pair of unbeaten teams will battle for the Class 4A District 4 regular-season crown on Friday night in Frankfort as Franklin County plays host to Louisville Central.

Franklin County (3-0) is 14-1 since the beginning of the 2019 campaign, with its only loss coming in the postseason district finals against Central by a score of 18-7 in a game that Flyers fans would like to forget.

That playoff game was moved away from Benny Watkins Field to Woodford County’s Community Stadium because of field conditions. Also, Franklin County starting quarterback Nick Broyles was forced to miss the game with an injury.

Benny Watkins Field now has artificial turf, and Broyles is healthy going into what many will call the best matchup of the week in all of Kentucky.

Franklin County’s Nick Broyles reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against Waggener. (Photo by Hannah Wynn)

The Flyers are coming off a 54-14 drubbing of Louisville Waggener after having 28 days between games. Central (4-0) easily defeated North Oldham 38-3 to also remain perfect this season.

“I really think the Waggener game was a testament to two things,” said Franklin County head coach Eddie James. “First, it was a testament to how much our kids love to play the game of football. We were off for almost a month and they could have easily gotten distracted or checked out, but they didn’t. Secondly, I think it speaks to their maturity and ability to handle adversity. Our kids took the hand they were dealt and worked their way through it and came out on the other side better from it.”

Broyles was spectacular with a 19-of-25 passing performance for 274 yards and five touchdowns. The Flyers defense held Waggener to 101 totals yards — all of which were on the ground.

“Nick is a great leader for our team,” James said of his 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior signal caller who will be in the running for Mr. Football honors at the end of the season. “He has become like another coach on the field offensively. He does a great job of letting us coach him hard and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

“He is excited for this opportunity because the last time we played he was sidelined with an injury. He has worked hard this offseason to improve his game and it is showing in his statistics this year. He is completing 77 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns with zero interceptions in three games.”

Fred Farrier II caught seven passes for 117 yards and three touchdowns against Waggener to go along with an interception return for touchdown on defense. Farrier II, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound three-star wide receiver has picked up offers from the likes of San Diego State, Cincinnati, Army and Miami (Ohio) among others.

“Fred is an all-around football player,” James said. “He is the son of a coach and has a high knowledge for the game of football. He is very coachable and is valuable when on the field not only for his athletic ability but also because of his smartness and his awareness. He is a kid who loves to compete and wants to stay on the field because he knows his value to the team.”

Phillip Peiffer, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound defensive end, has 29 total tackles, five tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries and is followed closely behind by Brenton Sears, Peyton Ledford and Jayden Mattison, who is only in his second year of playing football and already has an offer for Cincinnati.

The Franklin County defense defense held Waggener to 101 totals yards — all of which were on the ground — during last week’s 54-14 victory. (Photo by Hannah Wynn)

“I’m excited about our defense,” James added about his defense that is giving up just 12 points per game. “We have a good unit there and great coaches helping make that side of the ball one of the strengths of our team. They pride themselves on the motto of RPD, which means relentless, physical, and disciplined, and I think they embody that in their approach to football. They are still young with only three senior starters on defense and growing each week, so we are working to polish the product by the playoffs.”

If Friday night’s matchup is anything like the two meetings between the programs last season, the points will be limited. Central has given up just 10 points this season with those coming against Waggener (24-7) and North Oldham (38-3) during the last two weeks.

Central head coach Marvin Dantzler has continued the success from predecessor Ty Scroggins, who won five Class 3A state titles at Central in 2007, 2008 and 2010-2012.

Franklin County head coach Eddie James (left) and quarterback Nick Broyles are looking to contend for this year’s Class 4A state championship. (Photo courtesy of Nick Moore, 44 Sports Photography)

Dantzler, who is in his fifth season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets, has led Central to at least the state semifinals in each of his previous four seasons including a Class 3A championship in 2018 before moving up to Class 4A in 2019, when the team enjoyed a run to the state semifinals.

Central’s ground game is led by running backs Justin Bush and Malachi Williams. Vernon Duncan is the quarterback for Central.

Bush, a sophomore halfback, has 471 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 60 carries. Williams has collected 356 yards and four touchdowns on 44 carries after moving from tight end to fullback this season.

Duncan is 23-for-38 passing for 353 yards and three touchdowns. If Central is to defeat Franklin County, Duncan will need to limit his interceptions as he has thrown five against teams that do not have the same caliber of defense as the Flyers.

“Central is a phenomenal program who has a storied history,” said James. “Coach Dantzler does an amazing job maximizing the talent of all the kids in his program. Last year was our first time playing against them and both games were hard-fought, clean and tough football games. We tell our kids to be the best, you must compete with the best and that is what this week is about. We know we have a powerhouse team coming to town and we want to do everything we can to put ourselves in a position to win that game.

“We haven’t talked much about last year’s game and have sold our kids on being the best that we can be on Friday night. The reality of the district and playoff setup is that the regular season game is basically to determine where the playoff game will be held.

“Homefield advantage is critical. We know the likelihood of facing them is high, so we want to win this game, so we get to play at home. I think it will be critical for us to stay ahead of the chains and play physical. Our leaders on offense will need to do a good job of executing our game plan in order to have success against a great defensive unit from Central.”

Pike County Central star looks to build on record-setting performance

Matt Anderson, a sophomore running back at Pike County Central, rushed for 409 yards on 30 carries last week in an 82-52 win against Magoffin County, but it was his nine touchdowns on the ground that broke the previous record of eight.

Pike County Central’s Matt Anderson (left) carries the ball against Magoffin County. (Photo by Brittany Hamilton Morley)

The astounding feet turned in by Anderson also tied for eighth in history in 11-man football across the nation. Anderson has rushed for 1,075 yards on 117 carries for 16 touchdowns this fall.

Next up for Anderson and Pike County Central (3-3) will be a trip to perennial powerhouse Belfry.

Belfry (4-2) has allowed just 490 yards on the ground, compared to the 2,826 that the Hawks have gained against their opponents. The Pirates are the defending Class 3A state champion and are poised for another long jaunt through the playoffs.

Belfry has a prolific, 1,000-yard running back of its own in Isaac Dixon, a candidate for Mr. Football honors. Dixon has 1,057 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns on 70 carries to go along with a team-best 114 yards receiving on just three catches with two going for scores.

If both Dixon and Anderson put up those same kind of numbers, the scoreboard lights at CAM Stadium will need to be replaced after the game.

Spartans look to remain perfect

Sayre’s football team is the feel-good story of what has been a tumultuous season in high school athletics in the state.

The Spartans are off to a 6-0 record in their first full season of varsity football after being revived by head coach Chad Pennington. Sayre defeated Phelps 53-24 last week in a neutral-site game played at Kentucky Christian University’s Knights Stadium.

Pennington, who was a standout quarterback at Marshall University and later in the NFL, has passed on the quarterback genes to his son Cole.

Cole Pennington is the starting quarterback and leads all of Class 1A with 21 passing touchdowns in addition to 1,417 yards.

The Bishop Brossart Mustangs will travel down I-75 to the Sayre Athletic Complex for a non-district clash with the Spartans. Brossart (4-2) has won its last four contests and will call upon Trevor Schadler to add on to his team-leading 657 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Mustangs have already wrapped up the Class 1A District 5 regular-season crown and homefield advantage within their district in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Sayre was initially ineligible for postseason play due to not being placed in a district, but the Spartans were given the opportunity to take the four-seed in Class 1A District 7 and will face defending state champion Pikeville in the opening round.

Brossart won the meeting between the two schools in 2019 by a final of 21-3.

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