Lincoln County will open on Aug. 28, the official opening week of the football season. The KHSAA allows teams 10 weeks to get in 10 games, unless they lose a scrimmage to get an open week and start Aug. 21.
Playing his hand
Danville coach Sam Harp doesn't like the change.
"Truthfully, I don't like giving up a scrimmage," the veteran coach said. "But sometimes you've got to play the cards you're dealt. We have a very difficult time putting together a schedule, getting people to play us unless we want to take on Trinity and St. X and people like that all the time.
"Our schedule is tough enough as it is. To complete the schedule we just opted to go to one scrimmage and play Week Zero."
Danville plays in three straight bowl games to open the season. The Admirals play at Mason County in the Meadowview Regional Kickoff Classic on Aug., 21, then host Franklin County in the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic and play at Corbin the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Bowl. The Ads host Boyle County on Sept. 25.
"If you look at the schedule, we've got a good AAAA team the first week and a good AAAA team the second week, and Corbin is supposed to challenge for the (Class AA) title," Harp said. "Somerset is a longtime rival, and we've got Southwestern and Boyle. We could conceivably come out of the blocks 0-6."
The Golden Lions open with Anderson County on Aug. 21 and coach Mark Scenters said that was best for his team.
"When we set up the schedule, I talked to coach (Sam) Harp, coach (Kenny) Turner (at Madison Central) and a few coaches to see what they were going to do. It was mixed at what they were thinking. I don't think anyone wanted to lose a scrimmage," Scenters said. "But for our purposes, it worked out that way. We wanted an early-season bowl game, but we couldn't afford to lose a home game, too."
"It was really funny how it all came together. It's going to be different. There's no Pendleton Countys and Bethlehems on the schedule."
Garrard, 4-6 a year ago, hosts Anderson County Aug. 21, plays Rowan County in the Death Valley Bowl at Lincoln County, hosts West Jessamine and plays at Estill County to start the season.
"Anderson has a potential Mr. Football candidate (in senior quarterback Jacob Russell)," said Scenters. "Every coach wants to schedule games they can win. Anybody that says no is flat lying.
"But I think what we wanted to do was prepare ourselves for the district and the playoffs. I feel our district is getting better all the time, and we have to have kids ready for that effort every game. I'm hoping by playing consistently good teams each week it will get them used to giving a high level of effort every single week."
Casey County has no open week until the final week of the season. The Rebels host Caverna in the Casey Bank Rebel Bash Aug. 21 before playing at Perry County Central in the Teco Coal Commodore Bowl.
Lincoln opens the season against East Jessamine in the PBK Bank Death Valley Bowl Aug. 28, then hosts Madison Southern. The Patriots travel to Rockcastle County on Sept. 11, and host Washington County before hosting Southwestern in their district opener on Sept. 25.
Mercer's non-district slate includes its opener against Breathitt County at Campbellsville, then a game at Tates Creek Aug. 28. The Titans have home games in September with Boyle and Lafayette, with a road game at Anderson County in between.
While French isn't worried about losing a scrimmage, it wasn't really the way he had it planned. But just finding a game necessitated the early contest with Johnson Central.
"We have an open week, but the problem for us is we had such a difficult time scheduling. This was the only time we could get a game, so we didn't really have a choice except to open up Week Zero," he said.
"That's been a problem here in the past, trying to get people to schedule us, and we've run into that difficulty again this year. You've got get yourself ready for district games and you've got to get yourself ready for playoffs. Johnson Central is a Wishbone team and they play power football. That will be an experience we need to have."