Here’s what to watch during the 2022 high school football season in Kentucky’s Class 3A:
(Ranked by the state’s coaches)
1. Paducah Tilghman (8-7 record in 2021)
Sophomore QB Jack James returns to lead last year’s runner-up
2. Belfry (9-6)
Defending state champs must replace Mr. Football Isaac Dixon
3. Christian Academy (11-2)
Centurions looking for first state championship since 2018
4. Bardstown (12-1)
T.J. Greenwell, Tyleeq Williams return to lead rushing attack
5. Taylor County (9-3)
Running back Peyton Smith posted big numbers as freshman
6. Bell County (10-3)
Senior running back Dawson Woolum leads Bobcats’ attack
7. Glasgow (12-2)
Scotties must overcome some big-time graduation losses
8. Ashland Blazer (7-5)
Tomcats breaking in new head coach, Chad Tackett
9. Elizabethtown (5-6)
Panthers look to improve on disappointing first-round playoff exit
10. Union County (10-2)
With nine starters back on offense, Braves should be solid
Others to watch (in order of votes received): East Carter, Lawrence County, Fleming County, Mercer County, Mason County, Rockcastle County, Russell, DeSales, Hart County, Adair County, LaRue County, Nelson County.
Top players to watch
Cole Hodge, Christian Academy quarterback – The junior passed for 2,101 yards and 28 touchdowns last season while completing 64% of his passes. He has offers from Eastern Kentucky and Central Michigan.
Kristopher Hughes, Union County wide receiver/defensive back – This senior was a force on both sides of the ball last season. He was the Braves’ top receiver with 49 catches for 910 yards and 12 touchdowns and also intercepted nine passes on defense.
Jack James, Paducah Tilghman quarterback – James led the Blue Tornado to the state final as a freshman, throwing for 2,849 yards and 35 touchdowns while completing 53.3% of his passes. He has an offer from Troy.
Peyton Smith, Taylor County running back – As a freshman last season, Smith rushed for 1,841 yards (9.3 yards per carry) and scored 27 touchdowns (23 rushing, three receiving, one kickoff return). He has a good foundation for entering the record books by his senior year.
Dre Young, Belfry running back – With the graduation of Mr. Football Isaac Dixon, look for this junior to take over as the Pirates’ top rusher. Last season he rushed for 655 yards and seven touchdowns.
Top games to see
Sept. 9, Central at Belfry – These two had a lot of history meeting in Class 3A finals before Central moved up to Class 4A.
Sept. 9 – Elizabethtown at Bardstown – Tigers whipped their district rival 42-14 in 2021.
Oct. 7, Christian Academy at DeSales – Throw out the records when these two meet. They really don’t like each other.
More Class 3A football: What to know about Christian Academy and DeSales in 2022
Oct. 14, Paducah Tilghman at Union County – These rivals played two classics last season — games decided by a total of five points — and should be equally competitive once again in 2022.
Oct. 14, Glasgow at Taylor County – Cardinals will look to flip the script after a pair of losses to the Scotties last year.
Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; email@example.com; Twitter: @kyhighs.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: KHSAA football: Team rankings, top players, games to watch in Class 3A