After a three week hiatus, the Somerset Briar Jumpers will face off with their 4th District rivals, the Danville Admirals, in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs.
The Jumpers come into the game with a 5-2 regular season record with wins over Whitley County (40-8), Williamsburg (48-13), Russellville (41-9), Hazard (42-13), and Danville (42-3), and losses to Lexington Christian (28-21), and Corbin (48-21).
The Admirals closed their regular season at 4-2 with wins over Hazard (27-15), Wayne County (28-24), Mason County (41-7), and Raceland (28-25), and with losses to Somerset and Lexington Christian (34-30).
Somerset has the clear advantage as they dominated Danville during the regular season, the game will be played at William Clark Field, and the banged up Jumper squad that played the Corbin Redhounds will likely be healthier with near three weeks of recovery time.
Although Somerset has several factors that make them the favorite, you can never count out a team in a rivalry game, especially when advancing in the playoffs is on the line.
Heading into this matchup, Somerset has the 4th ranked scoring offense, 19th team rushing, 2nd team passing, 10th team defense, 4th rushing defense, and 24th passing defense, compared to all 2A teams.
Danville sits at 19th team scoring, do not appear on the team rushing leaderboard (outside of top 25), 8th in team passing, 19th in team defense, 8th in rushing defense, and are outside the top 25 in passing defense, compared with all 2A teams.
The Jumpers have the matchup advantage as well, as the Admirals have struggled in passing defense and Somerset has one of the most lethal passing attacks in 2A with Kentucky commit quarterback Kaiya Sheron, who is 2nd on the 2A passing leaderboard, and receivers Kade Grundy, who is 3rd on the 2A receiving leaderboard, and Gavin Stevens, who is 22nd on the 2A receiving leaderboard.
Danville does not have a quarterback or receiver on the 2A passing and receiving leaderboard, but they do have one of the most efficient backs in 2A Caleb Burns who is ranked 4th on the 2A rushing leaderboard and has racked up 736 yards and 8 touchdowns in just six games.
Although Burns has been a dangerous runner, the Briar Jumpers have a scary run defense with senior linebacker Mikey Garland leading the charge. Garland is an impact in run defense and pass defense, as he 21st on the 2A tackle leaderboard with 62 total tackes, and 5th on the 2A sack leaderboard with 5.5 sacks.
Danville's Bryce Johnson is their feature defender being ranked 14th on the 2A interception leaderboard with three interceptions in six games.
Both teams have a lot of talent, but Somerset does have some major advantages and looks to progress in the playoffs in hopes to defend their Class 2A State Championship from last season, while the Admirals look to avenge their regular season losses to Somerset and LCA in the first two rounds.
No matter who leaves William Clark Field victorious, it should be a very fun rivalry playoff game.