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First-round playoff games can be difficult when a team is supposed to win. If a team is the higher seed, it’s natural to relax or not have the razor-sharp focus it needs. That wasn’t the case for Central Hardin, John Hardin and Meade County. That’s a credit to the coaching staffs of each team. The staffs had their teams prepared. Each team came out and took care of business like a higher seed should do. That’s why the coaches for the Bruins, Bulldogs and Green Wave get a game ball this week.
Central Hardin, John Hardin and Meade County continued to play well, which should come as no surprise. The trio has shown each and every week they are the top teams in the area. The playoffs were no different. All three had a running clock, which starts when a team leads by 36 or more points, in the first half. That’s dominance and that’s why each is preparing to play another week.
The first weekend proved one thing: The current KHSAA playoff system is not a good one. Too many teams get into the playoffs and that makes for a lousy first week. In the 47 games involving a one seed versus a four, there were two upsets, although I’m not sure Louisville DuPont Manual thumping Louisville Ballard should qualify. Of the other 45 matchups, the average margin of victory was 37.9 points per game. Only one was decided by single digits. Twenty-five wins were by 40 or more points, including six by 50 or more. That’s ridiculous. The playoffs are supposed to be a reward, not a rite. Hopefully this will be addressed in the next alignment, but I highly doubt it.
SUPER 7 RANKINGS
1. John Hardin (9-2). The Bulldogs dominated Bullitt Central and move on to face Shelby County.
2. Meade County (9-2). The Green Wave won easily to host Henderson County this week.
3. Central Hardin (10-1). The Bruins made it look easy, advancing to meet top-seeded McCracken County.
4. Elizabethtown (6-5). The Panthers ended the season on a three-game losing streak.
5. Fort Knox (2-8). The Eagles look ahead to next season after missing the playoffs.
6. North Hardin (1-10). The Trojans’ disappointing season ended with a first-round loss to Bullitt East.
7. LaRue County (0-11). The Hawks finished off a rough season with a first-round loss to Wayne County.
THEY SAID IT
“We definitely came out and knew what we had to do to win. We don’t see them as the fourth seed or anything like that. We see them as another stepping stone in trying to get to where we want to go. We wanted to come out and get better. This was the first step and we accomplished our goal.” — John Hardin senior defensive tackle Matt Elam said after the Bulldogs won their ninth consecutive first-round playoff game.
Chuck Jones is the sports editor for The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at 270-505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.