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SBLive Kentucky Top 25 football rankings: St. X still team to beat after win over Trinity

The Tigers improved to 4-1 Friday with their second consecutive win over Trinity.

The 2022 rendition of the St. Xavier-Trinity rivalry won’t be remembered as the most aesthetically pleasing in the game’s storied history. But the 13-8 win for St. X erased any doubt that the defending state champions are still the team to beat in Class 6A.

St. X lost to Elder of Cincinnati in Week 5, its first defeat in more than a calendar year. But the Tigers improved to 4-1 Friday with their second consecutive win over Trinity. They open our power rankings in the top spot, followed by another two schools that made impressive statements with their defenses in Week 6. 

Here’s a look at the top 25 teams in the Commonwealth, regardless of classification, and the next test for each. 

1. St. Xavier (4-1) 

The Tigers still need to figure out the quarterback position. Starter Trevor Havill completed just four of 13 passes against Trinity and 56 of the team’s 112 passing yards came on one play. But a dominant defense has held Kentucky opponents to just 10 points per game and will give St. X a legitimate shot to repeat as state champion. The Tigers can’t afford to spend too much time celebrating the rivalry win as they face a pair of ranked opponents the next two weeks in No. 17 Ryle and No. 3 Manual.

2. Frederick Douglass (6-0)

The Broncos continued their dominant season with a 41-0 demolition of Scott County on Friday. In five non-forfeit victories, Frederick Douglass has outscored its opponents 258-29. That includes four wins over Class 6A opponents. Led by Auburn commit Jamarrion Harkless and Kentucky pledge Ty Bryant, the Broncos have Division I prospects all over the field, but particularly on the defense. They will play three District foes in their next three games before a can’t-miss showdown against Boyle County to conclude the regular season.

3. DuPont Manual (6-0)

The Crimsons shut out Ballard 21-0 in a battle of Class 6A unbeatens last week. As good as the defenses are for St. X and Frederick Douglass, Manual might have a claim as the best in the state. The unit has allowed just seven points per contest so far this season. Manual has a bye week to prepare for its marquee showdown against St. X.

4. Boyle County (6-0)

The Rebels extended their winning streak to 19 games with a 65-14 victory over North Hardin. They once again look like the class of Class 4A, having won their six games this season by an average of more than 30 points per game, with three of those wins coming over Class 6A opponents. Following a bye, a matchup against Lexington Catholic, which might be the only 4A team capable of beating Boyle County this season, looms on Oct. 7.

5. Ballard (5-1)

Prior to Friday’s loss to Manual, the Bruins had been rolling, winning three straight contests by at least 33 points. They have an idle week this week and will look to use it to get their run-heavy offense back on track before a date with Trinity.

6. Male (3-2)

The Bulldogs lost a ton from the 2021 team that advanced to the state title game for the fourth season in a row, and it showed early in the season, when Male started 1-2. But a two-point win over Trinity and a 36-0 rout of Butler have Male pointed back in the right direction. Lucas Cobler has brought some stability to the quarterback position after struggling out of the gate this year. He threw two touchdowns last week. Male will travel out of state to face Roncalli (Ind.) this Friday.

7. Trinity (3-3)

The loss to St. X dropped Trinity to .500 on the season, but it’s tough to put the Shamrocks too low in these rankings because of their brutal schedule. Trinity’s losses this season have come to Archbishop Moeller (Ohio), the No. 23 team in the SB Live/Sports Illustrated national Top 25, as well as to Male and St. X by a combined total of seven points. Trinity will face another tough out-of-state test this week in St. Xavier (Ohio).

8. Madison Central (5-0)

The Indians were fortunate to start the season 3-0, winning their first three contests by a combined total of eight points. Since then, they’ve found a new gear, beating South Laurel 56-6 two weeks ago and topping Lafayette 46-0 on Friday. Madison Central will play a rare Class 6A vs. A matchup this week when they travel to Pikeville.

9. Covington Catholic (5-1)

The Colonels remained undefeated in the state of Kentucky with a 14-7 win over Cooper in their district-opener. Tailback Owen Leen carried the offense with 182 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. The Colonels’ lone loss came at the hands of Cincinnati Elder. They will travel to Boone County this Friday.

10. Lexington Catholic (5-1)

The Knights’ sole defeat of the season came at the hands of Covington Catholic in Week Three, 7-6. They’ve responded by outscoring three straight opponents by a combined total of 125-25. Most recently, they dispatched Class 6A foe Tates Creek 41-0 on Friday. Lexington Catholic will also get a bye to prepare for the Oct. 7 showdown with Boyle County.

11. Woodford County (5-0)

The Yellow Jackets were idle this week after a dominant five-game stretch to start the season. Led by dual-threat quarterback Andrew Nason, they’re averaging 43.8 points per game, the most in Class 5A, and have won every game except one by 29 or more points. This week, Woodford County will face another prolific quarterback in Jason Jones and West Jessamine.

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12. Bowling Green (5-1)

The Purples pulled off a thrilling victory over Father Ryan (Tenn.) last week, scoring a touchdown to pull within one point with 12 seconds remaining, then taking a 45-46 lead on a reverse-pass two-point conversion. That improved Bowling Green to 5-1, with the lone loss coming to Boyle County. Three of the Purples’ wins have come over Class 6A competition, two by at least 27 points.

13. Henderson County (4-1)

Another team that has only lost to Boyle County this season, the Colonels improved to 4-1 with a 30-13 win over Paducah Tilghman. They’ll open district play against Marshall County on Friday.

14. Christian Academy-Louisville (5-0)

The Centurions continued their demolition of opponents with a 51-7 win at Mercer County on Friday. They have now outscored opponents 287-36 on the year. No contest has been decided by less than 35 points. Quarterback Cole Hodge has thrown for 1,277 yards and 20 touchdowns, the most in the state. CAL is one of six remaining unbeaten teams in Class 3A but looks like the school to beat this year.

15. Southwestern (5-0)

The Warriors may not have played the most daunting schedule to this point, but they’ve looked good in their opportunities. They have won all five games by multiple scores and averaged more than 40 points per contest in the process. Tanner Wright has led a strong rushing attack with 614 yards and 11 touchdowns. Southwestern will open district play this week on the road at North Laurel.

16. Bullitt East (4-1)

The Chargers stumbled in their season-opener against Spencer County but have righted the ship in impressive fashion, winning four straight contests by an average of more than 33 points per game. Quarterback Travis Egan and his 13 total touchdowns leads a potent offense. Bullitt East should be a heavy favorite against Danville this week before kicking off district play.

17. George Rogers Clark (4-1)

The Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season Friday, a 21-20 overtime defeat at the hands of Campbell County. Prior to that, George Rogers Clark had won its first four games of the season, all by at least 28 points. It should have a decent chance to get back on track Friday against a winless Lafayette team.

18. Ryle (3-2)

The Raiders were idle last week, which was likely welcome after a 57-46 loss to Highlands in Week Five. Ryle quarterback Logan Verax has put up impressive numbers so far this season, throwing for 1,090 yards and scoring 13 total touchdowns, but turnovers have been an issue. The Raiders will need to get that figured out before traveling to Louisville to face St. X and its daunting defense this week.

19. Corbin (5-0)

On the strength of an impressive offense that’s averaging 35 points per game, Corbin is off to a 5-0 start for the second year in a row. Quarterback Kade Elam has led the way with 14 total touchdowns. The Redhounds will return to the field after an idle week last week for what could be a revealing test at Class 6A Simon Kenton.

20. South Warren (3-2)

The Spartans continued their domination of in-state opponents this week, beating Central 24-0. South Warren is 3-0 against teams from Kentucky with all three wins coming by at least 24 points, but the team lost a pair of close, out-of-state matchups to Hendersonville (Tenn.) and Gibson Southern (Ind.) early in the season. This week’s matchup against district rival Bowling Green should provide a good measuring stick for how good the Spartans really are.

21. Daviess County (3-2)

The Panthers put together their most complete performance of the season last week in a 57-0 win over Marshall County. The second straight victory should help the team after it lost two games in a row to Owensboro and Ryle. Daviess County hosts McCracken County on Friday.

22. Central Hardin (5-1)

The Bruins got back to their dominant defensive ways this week with a 39-2 win over Fern Creek. Central Hardin has now held four of six opponents this season to seven points or fewer. The victory was a good way to bounce back from the team’s first loss of the season, which came at the hands of Henderson County. The Bruins host Barren County this week.

23. Pulaski County (5-1)

Aside from a three-point defeat at the hands of Corbin, the Maroons have cruised through the first 60 percent of the schedule, winning all five other games by double digits. Led by quarterback Brysen Dugger, who has thrown for 1,386 yards and 15 touchdowns, Pulaski County is averaging nearly 40 points per game. They should be able to keep it up against a winless South Laurel squad this Friday.

24. Scott County (4-1)

The buzzsaw that is Frederick Douglass represented a reality check for Scott County, as the Cardinals fell 41-0 to the Broncos last week. Still, it’s been a solid start to the season, with wins over three Class 6A teams in Lafayette, Bryan Station and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Scott County will look to get back in the win column when Great Crossing visits this week.

25. Bryan Station (2-3)

The Defenders beat Lafayette 50-6 last week to continue their bounceback from a rough start to the season. After getting blown out by Frederick Douglass in the opener, Bryan Station lost to Boyle County by 14 and Scott County by one. However, they’ve since defeated Tates Creek and Lafayette by a combined score of 90-25. The team’s next two matchups, at Henry Clay and then at George Rogers Clark, will provide an opportunity to prove how much it has improved.