STEARNS – The McCreary Central football team is picked to finish fifth in The Cats’ Pause 2018 Kentucky Football Yearbook Class 3A, District 8 rankings.
The Raiders are listed behind Corbin (1), Casey County (2), Bell County (3) and Jackson County (4) in Class 3A, District 8.
In 2017, McCreary Central finished 0-4 in Class 3A, District 8 and 2-7 overall.
Corbin is the reigning Class 3A, District 8 champion. The Redhounds ended the 2017 season 13-2 overall, finishing runner-up behind Boyle County in Class 3A. During the 2017 regular-season, Corbin compiled a perfect record against district opponents.
McCreary Central faces the tough task of replacing leading rusher Brandon Troxell. In only eight games in 2017, Troxell rushed 184 times for 1,248 yards and 18 touchdowns to lead the Raiders on the ground.
The talented Troxell averaged 156 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game and also contributed 20 tackles on the defensive side.
Two other seniors – Hunter Jones and Ryan Jones – helped to pace the Raiders offensively in 2017.
Hunter Jones, was the most productive player in McCreary Central’s aerial attack. Jones completed 72-of-150 passes for 957 yards and four touchdowns for the Raiders.
Ryan Jones also contributed through the air for the Raiders, completing 24-of-54 passes for 431 yards and six touchdowns.
Caleb Cox and Nathan Goins hauled in a team-high 18 receptions apiece for the Raiders. Cox boasted a team-best 273 receiving yards. Cox is back for his senior season while Goins graduated. Goins finished with 197 receiving yards among 10 McCreary Central players who hauled in at least one pass.
Hunter Jones helped to lead a balanced group of McCreary Central receivers, hauling in 10 receptions for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
John Cash ranked second in receiving for McCreary Central, reeling in 14 receptions for 218 yards and three touchdowns for the Raiders. Cash also moved on via graduation.
Then there was Ryan Jones, who grabbed 17 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Cash helped to pace McCreary Central with a team-high three interceptions. Both Cox and Goins recorded two interceptions for the Raiders.
Dakeaton Jones led the McCreary Central defensive unit with 65 tackles. Nathan Prosser ranked as McCreary Central’s second-leading tackler, posting 60 tackles for the Raiders. Both Dakeaton Jones and Prosser graduated, too.
The Raiders were back on the field earlier in the week. Following the weekend, McCreary Central resumed practice.