Mayfield Seeks 10th Straight Win Against Graves
By Eric Chumbler
WESTERN KENTUCKY - The annual “Battle of the Birds” between (4-0) Mayfield and (1-3) Graves County is Friday night, and this year’s battle features two teams that seem to be heading in opposite directions.

The Mayfield Cardinals are flying high, ranked #1 in Class 2-A and knocking off two of their rivals, Paducah Tilghman and McCracken County, the last two weeks by a combined score of 102-48.

What’s going right for the Cardinals? Almost everything. Especially on offense. The Cardinals have outscored opponents 180-82 in only four games; averaging 45 points per game. And junior quarterback Jaden Stinson is coming off his best game at the position against McCracken County. Stinson passed for 336 passing yards and six touchdown completions against the Mustangs last Friday night. In four games this season, Stinson has passed for 1,012 yards with 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

While the Cardinals have made a living through the air, their also very dangerous on the ground. Senior running back Kent Trey Matthews has 677 rushing yards this season, averaging 169 rushing yards a game. Not only that, the senior leader also has 8 rushing touchdowns for the Cardinals this season. Mayfield has also utilized senior Connor Guthrie in the ground game a bit, rushing for 137 rushing yards this season and fullback Mareacio Jackson has chipped in with 75 rushing yards this season.

If you’re just trying to be picky, the one spot Mayfield could look to improve is with their rushing defense. Over the last two weeks, the Cardinals have given up 345 rushing yards, including 216 rushing yards given up against Paducah Tilghman two weeks ago. But even with that, the Cardinals have not really been phased so far this season.

Conversely, the Graves County Eagles are in desperate need of a win. The Eagles season got off to a bright start in their opening matchup with Murray, knocking off the Tigers 41-21. Since then, the Eagles have lost three straight to Caldwell County, McCracken County, and Paducah Tilghman.

Three weeks ago, the Eagles had a 15-8 lead on Caldwell County, but the Tigers would outscore Graves 20-2 the rest of the game and win 28-17. Two weeks ago, the Eagles had a 27-24 4th quarter lead on McCracken County, but the Mustangs would score the final two touchdowns of the game to drop the Eagles 38-27. Then last week, the Eagles would take a 7-0 lead into the 2nd quarter, but
Paducah Tilghman scored 41 unanswered points to rout Graves County, 41-7.

To top it off for the Eagles, injuries have started to pile up this week. It was announced this week that three key pieces to the Graves County offense would miss this week. Leading wide receiver, senior Drew Cooper, is out Friday night for the Eagles. Cooper leads the team with 234 receiving yards and 3 touchdown receptions. Senior wide receiver Jacob Savage will have to miss the remainder of the season with a tear to his MCL and meniscus. Savage has 102 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles this season. And top running back Tavis Brown is out Friday night as well. Brown has 245 rushing yards and three touchdowns for Graves this season.

The “Battle of the Birds” kicks off Friday night at 7pm at Eagles Stadium in Mayfield. The Cardinals have won nine straight against the Eagles.

(2-0) George Washington Carver (Birmingham, Alabama) vs (1-3) McCracken County – Another team that could use a win this week is McCracken County. The Mustangs welcome the Rams of George Washington Carver High School to McCracken County Friday night.

The Mustangs struggled against Mayfield last week, but there were some positives that head coach Marc Clark saw in his team’s performance. “We went from the amount of turnovers we had last week (7 turnovers against Graves) to zero turnovers against Mayfield, it was great to see our team clean that up,” Clark said on his weekly coaches show on 99.5FM The Fan. “We have some other things to clean up this week and I feel like we’ll be able to do that Friday night.”

The Mustangs have found a bit of an offensive groove of late. In the first two weeks of the season, the Mustangs scored just 16 points altogether against Paducah Tilghman and Clarksville Northeast. In the last two weeks, the Mustangs put up 38 points on Graves County and 21 points on top-ranked Mayfield.

Part of the surge in offense can be attributed to sophomore running back Hunter Bradley. In three games, Bradley has rushed for 331 rushing yards and two touchdowns; averaging just over 110 yards a game for the Mustangs. Junior quarterback Elijah Wheat has also played a contributor role in the surge of offense. Over the last two weeks, Wheat has passed for 338 passing yards and four touchdowns.

The Rams and the Mustangs square off Friday at 7pm at McCracken County’s Marquette Stadium.

 (1-3) Hopkinsville vs (3-1) Paducah Tilghman – One of the top football stories in the region this year has been the emergence of Paducah Tilghman.

Despite a 51-27 loss to Mayfield two weeks ago, the Blue Tornado have had little troubles as we near the halfway point of the regular season. Throwing out the Mayfield game, Paducah Tilghman has routed their three opponents by a combined score of 111-13. Paducah Tilghman gave up 6 points to McCracken County in the opening week and 7 points to Graves County last week.

Makel Askew scored three times last Friday night as Paducah Tilghman throttled Graves County 41-7 Friday night. Askew led the Blue Tornado with 154 yards on 23 carries. After giving up an opening touchdown to Graves County, Tilghman scored 41 unanswered points in the win, including senior Colbe Crim chipped in with a 50 yard touchdown to give Tilghman a 21-7 lead.

Hopkinsville’s results so far this season has been a bit of a mixed bag. The first two weeks of the season for the Tigers were treacherous, losing by a combined score of 86-24 to South Warren and Mayfield. The Tigers got a big road win two weeks ago with a 35-20 win at Caldwell County. Then last week, Hopkinsville’s offense never found it’s rhythm in a 16-7 loss to archrival Christian County.

The Tigers have been led this season with a dual rushing attack. Jordan Hopson and JaTorion Dillard have 85% of the Tigers rushing yards this season. Hopson has rushed for 295 yards this season with a touchdown and Dillard has rushed for 238 yards this season and two touchdowns.

The Tigers and Blue Tornado square off Friday at 7pm at Paducah Tilghman’s McRight Field.

Friday Night's Games
Henderson County at Caldwell County
Webster County at Crittenden County
Todd County Central at Fulton City
South Fulton at Fulton County
Mayfield at Graves County
Calloway County at Hancock County
Madisonville at Hopkins County Central
Murray at Marshall County
Carver, AL at McCracken County
Hopkinsville at Paducah Tilghman
Trigg County at Russellville
Ballard Memorial at Union County
Murphysboro at Massac County

Published 08:07 PM, Thursday Sep. 13, 2018
Updated 11:31 PM, Friday Sep. 14, 2018

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