Here’s a look at the top five Louisville-area games to see in the first round of the high school football playoffs.
All games are scheduled for Friday and all times are Eastern.
Pleasure Ridge Park (5-5) at Ballard (7-3), 7 p.m
This Class 6A game is a rematch of the regular season Ballard won 49-22 on Sept. 1.
PRP is coming off a 49-14 win over Hopkinsville on Friday. Senior Dontre Richardson had a 14-yard touchdown run and also caught a 16-yard pass from Deron Jones. The Panthers have lost in the first round of the playoffs for five straight years. Their last playoff win came in 2017, defeating Cooper 37-12 in the first round.
Ballard enters on a three-game winning streak after beating Woodford County 50-21 on Friday as senior Jurney Wyche rushed for 202 yards and four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving). Wyche rushed for 936 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. In the regular season matchup against PRP, sophomore quarterback Larry Irvin passed for 120 yards and three touchdowns.
The winner will play the winner of the East Manual in the second round.
North Oldham (6-4) at Jeffersontown (9-1), 7 p.m
North Oldham secured its first winning season since 2014 with a 29-7 win at Oldham County on Friday. The Mustangs have a strong passing game, led by senior quarterback Jace Bullock, who has passed for 2,238 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. His top targets are junior Gray Schmittel (75 catches, 799 yards, nine TDs) and senior Mac Pyle (45 catches, 516 yards, four TDs).
J’town is enjoying a bounce-back season after going a combined 1-20 in 2021 and 2022. The Chargers haven’t won a playoff game since reaching the third round of the Class 5A playoffs in 2012. J’town has dynamic duo in junior quarterback Raymond Cornish (1,594 passing yards, 21 touchdowns) and senior running back Kaden Ruff (1,117 yards, 14 TDs). Senior tight end/defensive end Lucus McDaniels, a Southern Illinois commit, is a force on both sides of the ball.
The winner will play the Doss-Franklin County winner in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Henry County (7-3) at DeSales (8-2), 7:30 p.m
Henry County picked up a big road win at Class A power Kentucky Country Day, 34-24, on Friday. The Wildcats rallied from an early 17-7 deficit. Junior running back Ray Matthews is the anchor of Henry County’s rushing attack and entered the KCD game with 1,205 yards and 15 touchdowns. Henry County has not won a postseason game since reaching the third round of the Class 3A playoffs in 2009.
DeSales turned the program around after going a combined 2-19 over the previous two seasons. The Colts are on a seven-game winning streak after beating John Hardin 29-14 on Friday. Senior Peyton Molter entered this game having passed for 1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. Junior wide receivers DaVaughn Martin and Brandon Williams are the top playmakers. DeSales is looking for its first playoff win since the 2019 team reached the Class 3A semifinals.
The winner will play the Western Spencer County winner in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Seneca (4-5) at Atherton (9-1), 7 p.m
Seneca will look to bounce back from a 31-22 loss at Elizabethtown on Friday. Junior quarterback Jeremiah Towns has passed for 10 touchdowns this season and is also the team’s leading rusher. Senior Terrance Wilson is the top running back and also leads the defense with 11 tackles for loss. The Redhawks are 0-4 against Atherton over the past four seasons, including a 58-27 loss last year.
Atherton tied its school record for wins in a single season, matching the 1959 team that went 9-2 and the 1973 team that went 9-1. The Ravens won their first regular-season district title earlier this season and are now looking to win a first-round playoff game for the third straight year. Atherton uses a two-quarterback system with juniors QuaShawn Thompson and Dean Hynniman. Senior Andre Steele anchors the rushing attack.
The winner will play the Butler-Moore winner in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
South Oldham (6-4) at Highlands (9-1), 7:30 p.m
South Oldham gets a tough start in the playoffs against a Highlands team ranked No. 2 in Class 5A in last week’s Kentucky High School Football Media Poll. The Dragons were eliminated last week after closing out their regular season with a 21-20 loss to Collins on Oct. 20. Senior quarterback Nick Hamilton leads the team in rushing (906 yards) and has accounted for 26 touchdowns (15 rushing, 11 passing). Sophomore Juelz Davila has a team-high four interceptions – returning two for touchdowns – and ranks second on the team with 86 tackles (38 solo).
Highlands was also off last week after closing out its regular season Oct. 19 with a 57-6 win against Scott. Senior quarterback Brody Behnke is a Mr. Football contender who has passed for 1,442 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 869 yards and 17 scores. Senior running back Cameron Geisler rushed for 876 yards and seven touchdowns.
The winner will play the Dixie Heights-Woodford County winner in the second round.
Here’s the rest of Friday’s schedule for the Louisville teams:
Eastern (4-6) at Guide (8-2), 7:30 p.m
Meade County (5-5) at Trinity (7-3), 7 p.m
Oldham County (3-7) at St. Xavier (7-3), 7 p.m
Great Crossing (2-8) at Male (9-1), 7 p.m
Fern Creek (6-4) at Simon Kenton (5-4), 7 p.m
Southern (4-6) at Ryle (6-4), 7 p.m
Campbell County (3-7) at Bullitt East (8-2), 7:30 p.m
Butler (3-7) at Moore (6-4), 7 p.m
Iroquois (0-10) at Grayson County (9-1), 7:30 p.m
North Bullitt (5-5) at Fairdale (5-5), 7:30 p.m
Collins (6-4) at Cooper (8-2), 7:30 p.m
Western (3-6) at Spencer County (5-5), 7:30 p.m
Doss (2-7) at Franklin County (10-0), 7:30 p.m
Marion County (5-5) at Christian Academy (9-1), 7:30 p.m
Casey County (5-5) at Central (5-5), 7 p.m
Shawnee (3-7) at Monroe County (5-5), 8 p.m
Fulton County (1-9) at Kentucky Country Day (8-2), 7 p.m.
Holy Cross (5-5) at Russellville (2-8), 8 p.m
More High School Football: Jason Frakes ranks the top 10 teams in Kentucky as the playoffs approach
Contact Jason Frakes at [email protected] and follow him at X @kyhighs.