Unlike most district football titles, marked by a celebration on the field after the clinching victory, the Harlan Green Dragons will probably have to await confirmation from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association to know for certain they are champions in Class A, District 7.
The KHSAA will go through the tie-breaking procedures for three-way ties, like the one in District 7 that has Harlan, Williamsburg and Pineville all with 2-1 district marks. The teams involved in the tie get a point for each win by a defeated opponent (up to four opponents), except those involved in the tie.
If my math is correct, and my high school Algebra II teacher, Johnny Ashurst, could tell you it’s usually not, the Dragons have locked up the title even before the final regular season games kick off on Friday.
Harlan has 12 points in the tie-breaker system with wins over Lynn Camp (4), Bracken County (3), South Floyd (3) and Thomas Walker, Va. (2). The Dragons also have a win over Jackson County (1) they could use if there is still a tie after four teams’ records are counted and a fifth team is added. Harlan will get no points for its victory over winless Rye Cove, Va.
Williamsburg has only two wins it can use in the tie-breaker, Ludlow (6) and Lynn Camp (4), which are good for 10 points. Both of those teams are open this week, which means they can give Williamsburg no more points. Williamsburg can pick up one more point with a win over Middlesboro (1) this week, but that’s the best Jackets can do and that’s only 11 points, one below Harlan, which will pick up two more points by beating McCreary Central on Friday and could get even more points if any of the teams they beat earlier in the year win on Friday.
Pineville will finish third with eight points coming from wins over Lynn Camp (4), McCreary Central (2), Middlesboro (1) and Jackson County (1). The Lions can pick up one more point with a win Friday over Jenkins (1).
Winning the district will mean a favorable first-round playoff matchup for the Dragons, who will play host to Jenkins on Nov. 6. The Dragons will likely play host to Hazard in the second round of the playoffs. Williamsburg will play host to South Floyd in the first round, and Pineville will travel to Hazard. Pikeville is at home against Lynn Camp in the other first-round game in Region 4.
Harlan County finished second in District 8 of 5A and will be at home against Lincoln County in the first round. The Black Bears, winners of three straight, would likely have to travel to defending state champ Pulaski County in the second round. Other first-round games in Region 4 include District 8 champ North Laurel at home against South Laurel and District 7 runner-up Southwestern at home against Whitley County. Letcher Central, last year’s District 7 champ, finished fourth this year and will travel to Pulaski County in the first round.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134