Middlesboro, Prestonsburg meet in first round

Published 11:58 am Thursday, November 2, 2017

For the third year in a row, Middlesboro finished the regular season with the fourth seed in the district. The Yellow Jackets finished 0-3 in a district that boast three top 10 teams with Danville arguably being the best 2A team in the state. Middlesboro will travel to Prestonsburg on Friday for the first round of playoffs.

The game will mark the fifth time in 10 seasons that the Jacket and the Blackcats have met in the postseason. During that stretch, Prestonsburg is 5-0 against Middlesboro winning by an average of 22.6 points. Their last meeting was in 2014 when the Blackcats defeated the Jackets 29-7 in the first round.

Prestonsburg finds themselves with the No. 1 seed in District 8 after going undefeated in district play by scoring an average of 43 points per game during that stint.

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Know the Blackcats

Prestonsburg’s regular season went how it should on paper. The Blackcats had little surprises defeating the teams there were expected to. They opened the year 2-3 losing to North Laurel, Lawrence County and Hazard before going undefeated in district play. They ended the season with a 28-18 loss to Perry County Central.

Taking a glimpse at the stat sheets, Ethan Varney and Ryne Slone are the two most effective weapons on offense. The backfield duo combined for 1,903 yards and 22 touchdowns through eight games.

Varney led the way with a team-high 1,189 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 149 yards per game. Slone ran for 714 yards and eight touchdowns during that stint while averaging 7.6 yards a carry.

The passing game has been almost non-existent for Prestonsburg with the team attempting only 35 passing through eight games. Drake Nunnery has completed 50 percent of his passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns.

Only three receivers have caught passes this year with Cody Raines‘ 12 catches for 217 yards leading the way. Blake Slone has grabbed five receptions for 47 yards. Both receivers have a caught two touchdown passes.

Defensively, Jason Ratliff and Blake Slone pace the team in tackles. Ratliff has tallied a team-high 50 tackles with Slone racking up 45.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN