Somerset hosts undefeated Bobcats in Semi

Class 2A State Football Semifinal Preview

After a dramatic heart-stopping 28-26 win at Lexington Christian in the second round of the Class 2A Playoffs, the Somerset High School football team got a little breather in round-three with their easy lopsided 41-6 win over McLean County.

But for the Briar Jumpers' semi-state opponent this Friday, every game - all season long - has been an easy lopsided game.

The Breathitt County Bobcats make the trip to Somerset with a perfect 13-0 record, but even more impressive is their margin of wins. On the season, Breathitt County is averaging nearly 51 points per game while their opponents are average just under 11 points per game - making the Bobcats' average winning margin nearly 40 points per game.

Last week's 57-28 (29-point win margin) win over Walton Verona, in the regional finals, was one of the closest games that Breathitt County has had all season. Midway in the season, Breathitt County downed Morgan County 35-6 for their other 29-point, nail-bitter win.

But as impressive as the Bobcat's season-long numbers might look, the RPI ratings of their 13 defeated opponents tell a much different story. The Bobcats have played only four opponents with RPI ratings over .500, with the rest of their opponents' RPI ratings have been well under .400.

Regardless of the Bobcats' strength of schedule, or lack of, Somerset High School football coach Robbie Lucas is concerned about Breathitt County's ability to put points on the board.

"It doesn't matter what their record is and it doesn't matter who they have played - (Breathitt County) is here for a reason," Lucas stated. "It is imperative that we realize how good this (Breathitt County) team really is. They have beat what was in front of them, they do have quite a bit of talent and they can score - without a doubt."

The Bobcats are a run-heavy team with an average of 223 rushing yards per game and 108 passing yards per game. Charles Collins is the Bobcats main rushing threat with an average of 130 yards per game. The Bobcats other rusher, Braxton O'Hara, is a dual threat with 417 rushing yards and 571 passing yards. O'Hara and Jaylon Turner split time behind center, and both players have been credited with receptions from one another.

"They do some halfback passes, where he is such a good runner people will stack the box against him," Lucas stated. "He is very quick and gets to the edge a lot of times and draw that secondary in."

"They are big and physical up front and have had some success against some Northern Kentucky teams," Lucas warned. "A lot of people forget they have won three state titles in their history. They have a Hall of Fame coach, who is still around the program helping out. Their current coach Kyle Moore played for that Hall of Fame coach. Breathitt County is a threat and they didn't get here by accident."

The Briar Jumpers will be, by far, the Bobcats' toughest opponent to date with a .753 RPI rating. And while the Briar Jumpers have had their share of blowout wins, they have also had several close games.The two games with Lexington Christian, which they split, were decided by one point and two points. Somerset beat Corbin by a point, and defeated Hazard on the the road by 12 points.

"Breathitt County's one drawback might be that they have not been in any fourth-quarter games this season or any tight games all year, where we have been in several tight games this year," Lucas commented.

The Bobcats also have had a solid secondary with a season total of 26 interceptions. The Bobcats had four players with four or more interceptions.

"They have a solid secondary and they our obviously ball hawks," Lucas stated. "Brandyn Slaughter has 8 interceptions on the year, and you may really see a good match-up with Slaughter covering Kade Grundy."

Somerset's offense has opened up with a plethora of of talented players that Jumper quarterback Kaiya Sheron can go to by pass or run. Not to mention that Sheron as separated himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the state, which has resulted in several D-1 college offers.

Last week the Jumpers offense only had to rely on two players - Kade Grundy and Cam Austin - to put the game away in only two quarters. Grundy had three receiving TDs, while Austin had three rushing scores.

But the most impressive part of the Briar Jumpers' game last week was their defense - that held 400-yard per game rushing team to only 93 yards. Jacob Grabeel and Jerrod Smith led the Jumpers with 7 tackles each last week, while Mikey Garland had 6 tackles and UK bound Jase Bruner had 5 takedowns. Also, Cale Todd had 5 tackles for Somerset.

Somerset and Breathitt County will kick off at William Clark Field on Friday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m.

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at sports@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

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