PRESTONSBURG - Reigning champion Prestonsburg is once again favored to win the Class 2A, District 8 title.
The preview article that appears in The Cats’ Pause 2014 Kentucky Football, available now throughout the state, follows.
CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 8 - PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Prestonsburg (7-6): Fresh off an impressive postseason run, Prestonsburg returns nearly all of its starters and is poised to contend for a state title.
2. Betsy Layne (9-2): After losing its veteran quarterback and top rusher to graduation, Betsy Layne will look to reload.
3. Shelby Valley (5-6 ): The Wildcats’ 2013 season included a district victory over former champion Leslie County.
4. Leslie County (3-8): More experienced, Leslie County will look to show improvement early in the upcoming campaign after exiting the 2013 season on a six-game losing skid.
PRESEASON FAVORITE - PRESTONSBURG
After turning around its season and finishing runner-up in Class 2A, Region 4, Prestonsburg regained the label of one of the state’s top Class 2A teams. The Blackcats will enter the 2014 season as one of the top contenders for the Class 2A state championship.
A host of key offensive players, including running back Dalton Frasure (1,240 rushing yards, 537 receiving yards), quarterback Jarredd Jarrell (2,102 passing yards; 879 rushing yards) and receivers Chatlin Jarrell (648 receiving yards), Jackson Reed and Evan Jarrell are back for the 2014 campaign.
An experienced offensive line features junior Jordan Ray and senior Miles Goodman, among others.
On the defensive side, the squad’s top three tacklers - Sean White, Chase Ousley and Brennan Goble - all return. White, Ousley and Goble each had 100-plus tackles apiece for the Blackcats in 2013.
After missing the regular-season portion of his sophomore campaign, Seth Marcum came on strong and helped lift Prestonsburg throughout the 2013 postseason. Marcum will also be back for the Blackcats.
RELOADING - BETSY LAYNE
Betsy Layne lost quarterback Dylan Hamilton (2,852 yards, 34 touchdowns), top rusher Houston Hall (622 yards, nine touchdowns) and linebacker Blake Spencer as 10 seniors moved on via graduation.
After leading Betsy Layne in receiving, senior Peyton Case (1,012 yards, 13 touchdowns receiving) is expected to make the move to quarterback.
In addition to Case, Dustin Rogers (WR/DB, Sr.), Lako Daniels (HB/LB/DE, Sr.), Blake Rose (OL/DL, Sr.), Jonathan Brock (HB/LB/DE, Sr.) and Nathan Collum (RB/DB, So.) return for the Bobcats.
Betsy Layne compiled a 9-1 regular-season record in 2013, falling to eventual region champion Somerset in the opening round of the Class 2A State Playoffs.
2013 PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Dalton Frasure, Prestonsburg, Jr., RB/TE, 6-3, 230
Prestonsburg junior running back/tight end Dalton Frasure has emerged has one of the state’s top high school football players. As a sophomore, Frasure scored 26 touchdowns for the Blackcats.
Frasure rushed 209 times for a team-high 1,240 yards and 22 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign. The versatile Frasure also hauled in 48 receptions for 537 yards and four touchdowns.
Frasure led Prestonsburg in rushing for a second straight year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Blake Asher, Leslie County, Jr., TE/DL, 6-3, 285; Peyton Case, Betsy Layne, Sr., QB/LB, 6-3, 180; Owen Caudill, Shelby Valley, Sr., RB/LB, 6-0, 200; Chatlin Jarrell, Prestonsburg, Jr., WR/DB, 5-8, 150; Jarredd Jarrell, Prestonsburg, Sr., QB/DB, 6-0, 180; Donovan Layne, Shelby Valley, Jr., QB/DB, 6-2, 190; Seth Marcum, Prestonsburg, Jr., RB/DB, 5-9, 200; Chase Ousley, Prestonsburg, Sr., RB/LB, 5-11, 210; Jordan Ray, Prestonsburg, Jr., OL/LB, 6-0, 250; Dustin Rogers, Betsy Layne, Sr., WR/DB, 6-2, 175; Kevin Whitaker, Leslie County, Jr., QB/DB, 6-1, 190; Sean White, Prestonsburg, Sr., OL/LB, 6-0, 230.