SHEPHERDSVILLE - In the final week of the regular season, most high school football teams across the state of Kentucky are thinking ahead to the play-offs that start next Friday.
Not in Bullitt County.
For Bullitt East and Bullitt Central, the final week of the regular season will have a lot of meaning as both teams, along with Shelby County, have yet to decide the second, third and fourth place teams in Class 5-A, District 4. Kentucky has 48 different districts in its six football classes. This season, only three districts have ties that won’t be broken until the final night of the regular season on Friday.
The only play-off game set in Class 5-A, Region 2 is Grayson County traveling to North Bullitt next Friday. The Eagles won District 4 with a 3-0 record.
In the case of the two local teams involved in this tie, the Friday night outlook could not be more different. Bullitt Central pretty much has its destiny in its own hands while there is nothing Bullitt East can do but ‘scoreboard watch.’
After Shelby County beat Bullitt East last week, the District 4 standings have Bullitt Central, Bullitt East and Shelby County all at 1-2. The tie-breaking procedure is not well known outside of the coaching circles. In fact, the tie-breaking rules are hard to find in the KHSAA, although, the group does list a page with the present tie-breaking points.
Generally speaking, the first tie-breaker involves the three teams involved in the tie adding up the number of victories of up to four opponents that they have beaten, not involved in the tie. None of the area teams has beaten more than three teams, so the four-team limit will not be involved.
As of the first part of this week, both Bullitt Central and Bullitt East have seven ‘points’ while Shelby County has only two points.
The combinations and permutations possible at this point from action on Friday involve more fingers and toes that exist on any coaching staff in the county. At this point, just about anything is still possible.
The one aspect that is for sure is that Bullitt Central is the one team controlling its own destiny. No matter what else happens anywhere, the Cougars will win the tie-breaker if they beat Warren East on Friday in Bowling Green. The Raiders are 6-3 and gaining those six points and having 13 points in the tie-breaker would be greater than anything Bullitt East or Shelby County could muster.
For Bullitt East, because they are playing winless Nelson County on Friday, the outcome of that game has no bearing on the tie-breaker.
On the other hand, if Shelby County loses to South Oldham at home on Friday, the Rockets can do no better than three points and would be relegated to the number four seed in the district standings and would have to travel to John Hardin for the first round of the play-offs. While there is a scenario where Shelby County could get to eight points (by getting five points for beating South Oldham and one more point if Henry County wins), that possibility would seem unlikely.
At this point, it is still mathematically possible for any of the three teams to finish first, second or third in this tie-breaking system. However, more than likely, Shelby County is going to end up third and be the number four seed.
There are a lot more possibilities for Bullitt Central and Bullitt East to swing a point one way or the other if the Cougars fail to win at Warren East. The game both will be watching with great interest on Friday (after the Bullitt Central outcome is known), will be the one in western Jefferson County where Waggener will be facing Valley. Bullitt East gets a point if Waggener wins. Bullitt Central gets a point if Valley wins.
For the record, Doss plays at Fern Creek on Friday, Southern takes on DeSales and Spencer County plays host to Henry County. Of course, Bullitt East or Shelby County will earn a point based on the outcome of the Spencer County-Henry County game.
Winning this tie-breaker is important to some degree even though all three teams are going to make the play-offs.
The biggest aspect of this whole scenario is that the winner of the tie-breaker will grab the number two spot in the district and will play host to North Hardin in the first round of the play-offs. The second team in the tie-breaker will have to go on the road to Jeffersontown while the fourth-seeded team has to go to undefeated John Hardin.
While the first-round of the play-offs will happen after Halloween, there are a few spooky oddities that could be unfolding amongst area teams.
**If Bullitt East manages to win the tie-breaker and get the number two seed, the Chargers will play host to North Hardin on Nov. 4.
That might lead to some uncomfortable days in Mount Washington as former Bullitt East head coach Doug Preston is now the offensive coordinator at North Hardin. The 5-4 Trojans are running the wishbone just like Preston did at Bullitt East for two-and-a-half of the three seasons that he was the head coach. Adding to the situation is the fact that Preston is still teaching at Bullitt East.
**Unless they pull upsets this week, six teams in Kentucky this season will reach the play-offs without winning a game. Half of those six teams are in Class 6-A. One of those teams is Nelson County as they are 0-9 heading into this week’s game at Bullitt East.
That is not exactly a scenario that the Kentucky High School Athletic Association envisioned when it realigned the state starting with this season
Worse, because of a bizarre experiment, Nelson County could be a winless team and still get a number three seed ahead of Simon Kenton, a team that they did not play this season.
To cut down on far-reaching districts in Class 6-A, the KHSAA put Meade County, Central Hardin and Nelson County in a three-team district. Despite there being an exact 32 teams in 6-A, the state then created a five-team district in northern Kentucky. Even before the season began, it was known that the number five team in District Six would fill in as the number four team in District Two.
That means that Nelson County, while winless, will be the number three team and will have to travel to St. Xavier for the first-round of the play-offs. Simon Kenton, with two wins, will travel to Trinity.
I guess it really doesn’t matter as both Nelson County and Simon Kenton will be blown out by their Louisville foes.
**While six winless teams could make the play-offs this season, Woodford County will be sitting at home with at least five victories.