Woodford County (3-1) and South Oldham (5-1) have played three times since 2009. All three of these matchups have been memorable. In 2009, Woodford County won in relatively easy fashion 27-12; a year later in 2010, South Oldham won in overtime 27-24. Then, most notably, the two squads met in the 2016 KHSAA Gridiron Bowl, where South Oldham channeled their inner Miami Dolphins and won 61-33 over the Yellow Jackets.
Both teams are outside of KSR’s top 25 this season and, therefore, have much to prove. Woodford County will host South Oldham at the historic Community Stadium in the heart of Versailles on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. EST. The venue is known as one of the most rowdy stadiums in all of Kentucky, and Woodford County will look to hold onto their undefeated home record.
Even though Woodford County dropped last season’s Class 5A championship game to Frederick Douglass, they were seen as a powerhouse. Junior cornerback Makhi Smith and current West Virginia Mountaineer Aden Tagaloa-Nelson locked up all of 5A as five-sta basketball recruit Jasper Johnson caught passes for the Yellow Jackets. However, this season, the Yellow Jackets look a lot different.
Makhi Smith still patrols the defense with his electrifying athleticism and best-in-state speed. The 6-foot-2 corner was hurt in Woodford County’s lone loss this season to last year’s 6A champion Bullitt East, but recovered to play the last three games for Woodford. He’s caught four balls on offense for 147 yards and one touchdown to go along with seven total tackles on defense. Smith holds offers from the likes of Kentucky and Louisville.
Most assume that Woodford County is still considered the favorite in the class. However, with Johnson and Tagaloa-Nelson being gone and junior quarterback Andrew Nason battling injury, the Yellow Jackets are currently on the outside looking in. Highlands, Scott County, and Bowling Green are considered the three favorites in 5A this season, with Woodford’s loss to Bullitt East not helping their case.
With a fully healthy roster, Woodford County is easily one of the most talented squads in 5A. A healthy Andrew Nason at quarterback unlocks a ton for this offense. KSR saw it in person during the Week 1 showdown with Bullitt East. In the matchup, Woodford County employed the triple option. Junior WR Leland Taylor, junior WR Justus Wertzler, and Nason are a dynamic trio behind center, spreading out any defense.
Woodford’s Achilles heel thus far is the defense. They gave up 41 in the loss to Bullitt East and 39 in the win over Downey (CA) Warren. They can win with offense, but with the squads they will be facing, they will need a great defense every week. They have the talent; it is up to head coach Dennis Johnson to harmonize the group.
The South Oldham Dragons have gone undefeated in the state of Kentucky, boasting wins over Nelson County, Spencer County, North Oldham, Oldham County, and Anderson County. Their only loss this season came from Anderson High School in Cincinnati, OH. Anderson is a great program, showing a lot that South Oldham competed.
However, Woodford proves South Oldham with their first real test. Senior quarterback Nick Hamilton has thrown for 433 yards this season on 55 attempts. Hamilton’s real power comes from his legs. He has run for 553 yards on the ground with 13 rushing touchdowns. Sophomore Cole Greenwell has also run for 472 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Andrew Farr is South Oldham’s top target through the air, having recorded 12 catches for 180 yards and four touchdowns through six games.
South Oldham is mainly carried by their rushing attack, so it will be on Woodford’s defense to make them throw.
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