High school football is back: Crutchfield, Pats kick off 2018 football season Friday

Published 1:13 pm Thursday, August 16, 2018

It’s finally game week!

After weeks and months of waiting, the opening of the 2018 high school football season is finally here.

Friday night will be filled with numerous contests and bowl games across the commonwealth, as the boys of fall hit the gridiron.

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One of Kentucky’s long-running bowls takes place right here in Stanford, with the 21st Annual Death Valley Bowl (DVB) set for Friday night. The DVB is sponsored by PBK Bank and WPBK-FM Radio.

The Lincoln County High School Patriots kick off their season in the first game of tomorrow night’s doubleheader at 6 p.m. on Bill Ed Leedy Field at Death Valley Stadium, taking on Somerset.

The Death Valley Bowl will also feature Bourbon County and Clay County in head-to-head competition in the second game of the evening, with the kickoff for the nightcap set for around 8:30 p.m.

The homestanding Patriots are being led by first-year coach Spencer Crutchfield. Lincoln finished 3-8 last season, closing out the year in a 43-6 loss to North Laurel in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. The Patriots came away with a victory in last year’s DVB, rolling Clay County 42-6.

The Somerset Briar Jumpers, led by 10th-year coach Robbie Lucas, made it to the second round of playoffs last season. Lucas, a former head coach at Lincoln, and his Briar Jumpers went 7-5 on the season in 2017. Somerset romped 42-0 over Shelby Valley in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs only to fall 19-0 to eventual state champ Danville in the second round.

Bourbon County and Clay County, the final two teams in the Bowl lineup, both made it to the Class 4A playoffs last year.

Bourbon finished 7-5 last year. The Colonels, led by seventh-year coach John M. Hodge, beat out Greenup County 34-30 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs last season but were ousted 40-8 by Ashland Paul Blazer in round two. Bourbon got the “W” in their DVB game last year, defeating Somerset 36-29.

Clay County closed out 2017 at 2-9, with the final game a 43-0 loss to Western in the Class 4A playoffs. The Tigers are led by second-year coach Michael P. Sizemore.

At the end of each bowl game, a Death Valley Bowl Most Valuable Player will be selected from each team and presented with a trophy. A Death Valley Bowl queen will be crowned between the two games.

The cost of admission to the Death Valley Bowl is $10. No passes will be accepted.