Kroger's KSR Game of the Week is headed to the BBQ Capital of the World for Friday night's game between cross-town rivals Owensboro and Owensboro Catholic. Both teams are undefeated through four weeks, but one side will take an L tomorrow night in Kentucky Wesleyan's Steele Stadium, home to both the NCAA Division II Panthers football program and Owensboro Catholic's high school football team.
As always, 20 things to know before we go...
1. Moonlite is better than Old Hickory.
It's the sides for me.
2. Owensboro is Kentucky's fourth largest city by population.
The 60,131 people in Owensboro (July 2019) rank fourth in the state in population by city, behind only Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green.
Half of them are mad after reading what I just said about Old Hickory, the other half respect a good buffet.
3. It is home to the world's largest sassafras tree, probably.
Located on Frederica Street, the main strip through Owensboro, the tree measures over 100 feet tall, more than double the average height of all other sassafras trees. It's believed to be close to 300 years old and the marker celebrating its achievement notes it is probably
the tallest in the world. Who are we to argue otherwise?
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] KentuckyTourism.com
4. Red Man chewing tobacco is produced in Owensboro.
For over a hundred years the Pinkerton Tobacco company has produced Red Man chewing tobacco, and since 1973, it has been produced in Owensboro. Pinkerton moved its operation from Ohio to Owensboro in the early 1970s and Red Man has come out of Daviess County ever since.
5. Johnny Depp was born in Owensboro.
This Depp/Owensboro fan page
dug up the newspaper clipping announcing his June 9, 1963 birth to the community:
It's at the bottom, along with his childhood address: 518 Stockton Drive.
6. The late Florence Henderson graduated from Owensboro Catholic.
Carol Brady joins Captain Jack Sparrow on the list of famous people who once called Owensboro home. Actress Florence Henderson is a high school graduate of St. Francis Academy in Owensboro, now known as Owensboro Catholic, host of this week's Game of the Week.
Though born across the Ohio River in Indiana, Henderson's Catholicism took her to Owensboro for school before moving off to New York to pursue her acting dreams.
Henderson was the grand marshal for the annual Owensboro Christmas Parade in 2015, less than one year before her passing.
7. Owensboro High School's notable alums include a couple of UK legends.
Cliff Hagan was walking the halls of Owensboro High only days before he debuted for Adolph Rupp's Kentucky Wildcats. Hagan was a rare early enrollee, playing his last high school game on January 21, 1950, a victory in the state championship, before his first game at UK on January 25, 1950, a freshman game against Xavier in Cincinnati. He scored nine of UK's 59 points in his debut game having only been on the team and out of high school for a matter of days.
Hagan went on to win an NCAA championship, earn two-consensus First Team All-American selections, then an NBA championship, five All-Star appearances and a spot in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Years later, Owensboro High running back Mark Higgs followed Hagan's path to Kentucky to play football. Higgs rushed for just shy of 3,000 yards from 1984-87 and earned Second Team All-SEC honors his senior season. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and played eight seasons in the league. He currently ranks fifth in career rushing yards and fourth in career rushing touchdowns in Lexington.
8. Owensboro Catholic goes by the Aces; Owensboro, the Red Devils.
Your mascot update.
9. Owensboro Catholic's fight song is set to the melody of "On, Wisconsin!" and this is unforgivable in my opinion.
"Aces Spirit," the fight song for Owensboro Catholic's athletic teams, is set to the melody of the University of Wisconsin Badgers' fight song, "On, Wisconsin!"
Wikipedia is the only source on this, but until a school spokesperson says otherwise, it will be taken seriously given the severity of the allegation.
10. Owensboro won last year's meeting, 36-7.
Owensboro won the city rivalry last year, 36-7. Before that, Owensboro Catholic won in 2018, 45-32. Matter of fact, the home team has won every year since 2014, which is pretty impressive for Catholic since it's a 2A school going up against a 5A.
11. Owensboro reached the state semifinals last year.
Last season Owensboro lost its second game and never lost again until the state semifinal game. The Red Devils lost in Week 2 of the regular season, 10-8, at home against Evansville Central, then ran through everyone else rather convincingly before meeting Frederick Douglass in Kroger Field for a spot in the state title game. Douglass won that one, 28-17, to end Owensboro's season and streak of 11 wins.
12. Owensboro Catholic got knocked out by McLean County in the district final.
The Aces lost two regular season games, both to city schools in Owensboro High and Apollo, before dropping a third game to neighboring McLean County in the postseason. McLean County beat Catholic, 37-36, to mark the end of the road for the Aces.
13. Owensboro Catholic lost most of its offense from 2019.
There are new faces guiding the Aces' offense in 2020 after losing quarterback Drew Hartz and wide receiver Hagan Edge to graduation. Last season Hartz threw for over 4,000 yards for 57 touchdowns and only five interceptions (!!!!), while Edge caught 83 passes for 1,571 yards and 25 touchdowns (!!!!). Hartz had a game with nine TDs, a new state record. Both guys are now at Georgetown College.
14. 1000-yard receiver Braden Mundy is back to help Owensboro Catholic.
There's a new QB, junior Lincoln Clancy, but wide out Braden Mundy is back from last year's high-powered offense. Mundy caught 1,080 and seven touchdowns as a sophomore and already has 11 total touchdowns in four games in 2020.
15. The game features a star linebacker on each side.
For Catholic there is Chris Boarman, a three-year starter who as a junior tallied 174 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, all team-highs in 2019. So far this year Boarman has 45 tackles in four games, in addition to his four touchdowns on 13 carries on the offensive side of the ball.
(Read more in this story on the Boarman legacy at Owensboro Catholic right here
On the other side, Owensboro's defense is powered by Austin Gough, a senior returning from injury in 2019 to lead an inexperienced defense. Like Boarman, Gough also carries the ball for the offense with three TDs on the year, but it's his tackling that really helps the Red Devils. Gough averages 11 of those per game in 2020, and in his last full season, he totaled 122 tackles as a sophomore in 2018.
16. Owensboro quarterback Gavin Wimsatt is a star in the making.
If you don't already know it by now, get familiar with the name Gavin Wimsatt. Wimsatt is a dual-threat QB in the 2022 class, rated as a four-star prospect and ranked as one of the top 100 players in the entire country, regardless of position.
As a sophomore he threw for 31 touchdowns and rushed for another 12, and had Owensboro close to winning the state title. He still has this year and next to finish the job, then, hopefully, he's off to the University of Kentucky.
For more on this elite prospect from the Bluegrass, read Adam Luckett's recruiting profile on Wimsatt
from over the summer.
17. Red Devils running back Ethan Avery and wide receiver Treyvon Tinsley help fuel Wimsatt's offense.
Wimsatt is helped out by Ethan Avery, who has rushed for over 100 yards a game through four games this season, and wide receiver Treyvon Tinsley, Wimsatt's top receiver from a year ago.
Owensboro averages 49 points per game so far this season, while taking it pretty easy in the second half in three of those games.
18. Owensboro is 4-0.
The Red Devils won the opener on the road at Apollo, 50-13, then took back-to-back home games against Daviess County and Ohio County by the scores of 42-34 and 50-7, respectively. Last week Owensboro traveled to Muhlenberg County for a 55-0 win. It was 48-0 at halftime.
19. Owensboro Catholic is also 4-0.
The Aces won home games over Mt. Vernon (Ind.), 21-13; Hopkins County Central, 56-6; Todd County Central, 43-16; and McLean County, 37-0.
20. KSR's Freddie Maggard and Nick Roush will be at the 2630 Frederica Street Kroger in Owensboro before the game.
Go see Freddie and Nick at 5 p.m. (central) at the Kroger location at 2630 Frederica St. in Owensboro. Say the magic phrase, “Kroger Presents the KSR Game of the Week between Owensboro and Owensboro Catholic," and they'll hook you up with a Kroger gift card while supplies last.
Good luck to both teams and let's get that fight song figured out.