With week nine of the football season comes another city-county matchup, as Owensboro hosts Apollo for a rivalry game. The Red Devils and Eagles, both in District 1 of Class 5A, will also be fighting for playoff positioning.
Owensboro Catholic and Daviess County are also in the middle of district play this week. The Aces host Todd County Central before heading into a bye, while the Panthers are on the road at Henderson County.
Apollo (4-3, 0-2 District 1 Class 5A)
@ Owensboro (5-2, 2-0 District 1 Class 5A)
The Red Devils look to remain undefeated in district play, while Apollo is hunting for their first district win. Owensboro is coming off a third consecutive blowout with a 50-7 win over Marshall County. Apollo has dropped three straight contests that were close all the way, most recently an 18-14 loss at home to Christian County.
The Red Devils beat Christian County the previous week 42-20. The only other mutual opponent this season was Owensboro Catholic — OHS lost 45-32 and AHS lost 33-30.
Eagles’ head coach Phil Hawkins said last week’s loss was especially tough because the team really beat themselves. A botched snap in the endzone combined with a heavy dose of penalties doomed Apollo.
“We have a good football team,” he said. “Last week was inexcusable. We’re not circling the wagons. It’s business as usual.”
They’ll go up against a Red Devils’ offense that has put up at least 42 points while allowing 20 or less each of the last three weeks. Despite going 8-for-11 passing, quarterback Will Warren ended the night with 207 yards and four touchdowns. He’s now got nearly 1,800 passing yards and has 20 touchdowns this season.
Apollo will have to try to stop a dual threat of Monte Owsley and Tre Green out of the backfield. Owsley has more than 1,000 all-purpose yards to go along with 13 touchdowns, and he’s nearly split his yardage and scoring evenly between rushing and receiving. Green is primarily a ground threat, with 448 yards and six touchdowns.
Hawkins said if Apollo can put up a good fight, they’ll come out on a positive note for the final two weeks.
“I think there’s a lot of good football left in our kids,” he said. “Owensboro is going to do what they do. They’re going to try to throw the ball around, and we’re going to try to keep them. They’re a good team. I think we can regain some confidence if we can go in there and play well.”
The biggest threat Apollo has to offer is Mariano McKenzie, who’s dangerous any time he gets a carry. He’s got 1,104 yards and 14 touchdowns on 141 rushes, and has the ability to score any time he can get into the secondary.
Quarterback Colby Clark has come along in recent weeks, and he’s up to more than 1,300 yards on the season. While the offense hasn’t struggled much putting up points, the defense had a few tough outings before making a change.
The Eagles defense has been able to apply pressure and get opportune turnovers, though. Logan Weedman has recorded 13 of the team’s 25 sacks, while Gage Hayden has four of their nine interceptions. The Owensboro defense has also been solid as of late, and is led by Austin Gough (83 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception).
Hawkins said with two teams that are fairly evenly matched across the board, the results could go either way, especially with cross-town rivals.
“We know it’s one of these rivalry games,” he said. “When you throw a bunch of emotion into it, anything can happen. You just never know. Our intention is to go in there and win, and we’re going to stick to what we do.”
Todd County Central (4-3, 1-1 District 2 Class 2A)
@ Owensboro Catholic (6-2, 3-0 District 2 Class 2A)
The Aces continued a dominant stretch with a 35-8 win over Hancock County a week ago, and they have yet to give up more than one touchdown to a district opponent. They’ll wrap up district play at home this week against Todd County Central.
The Rebels are coming off a 41-7 loss to McLean County, who Owensboro Catholic beat 49-6 two weeks ago. Todd County has only allowed more than 20 points once this season, but they’ve yet to face an offense as versatile and powerful as that of the Aces.
OCHS quarterback Drew Hartz only needs 179 passing yards to break the 2,000-yard mark on the season, and he’s averaging more than 200 per game. In the backfield, Von Williams — averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game — is 41 yards shy of having a 1,000 yard season.
The Aces have proven hard to stop all year thanks to a plethora of options. Harold Hogg (421 yards, four touchdowns) is also dangerous in the ground game, while Nick Mills (620 yards, 10 touchdowns) leads a group of five receivers with over 100 yards.
An improved defense has also been instrumental in the success for Catholic. The front line has been tough to break through for opposing running backs, and the defense has recorded 18 sacks this year. Noah Todd has 9 of those sacks to go along with 60 tackles, and Chris Boarman has added 77 tackles.
The Aces are facing an opponent that only has 424 passing yards and four receiving touchdowns, though they do have four players with at least 200 yards on the ground. The entire Rebels offense, though, has only scored 126 points compared to 327 for Catholic.
Going against a Rebels team that has a limited passing game could set up for another dominant victory for the Aces.
Daviess County (4-3, 1-1 District 1 Class 6A)
@ Henderson County (5-3, 2-1 District 1 Class 6A)
The Panthers picked up a much-needed district win a week ago with a 49-18 drubbing of Muhlenberg County. It was the third time DCHS has put up at least 40 points this year, but they’ll face a much stiffer defense this week at Henderson County.
The Colonels have only giving up 131 points this season — including five games of 7 points or less — and are coming off a 36-24 loss to McCracken County. The Panthers lost 55-43 to McCracken County a few weeks ago in a game that got away from them late.
Last week was another solid outing for DCHS wide receiver Marquel Tinsley, who caught 9 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns while also getting an interception on defense. Quarterback Joey Cambron finished the game with five touchdowns through the air and one on the ground to go along with 309 passing yards. Tinsley needs 97 yards to get to 1,000, while Cambron needs 84 to get to 2,000.
The defense will need to find a way to stay strong again against a rush-heavy Colonels attack. Henderson County’s top four rushers have 686, 576, 302 and 120 yards. Their quarterback is the second-leading rusher and leads the team with nine rushing touchdowns, and he has also thrown for 1,158 yards and 15 scores.
The Panthers will rely on Cameron Duvall (76 tackles) and Will Skeens (62 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries) to try to stop the balanced Colonels attack. DCHS has struggled to get stops at times this year, and has given up 202 points with three games of more than 40 points allowed.
If they can find consistency on both sides of the ball, Daviess County has the talent to pick up an important win before heading into the last week of district play.