Here’s what to watch during the 2022 high school football season in Kentucky’s Class 4A:
(Ranked by the state’s coaches)
1. Boyle County (14-1 record in 2021)
Two-time defending champs are loaded once again
2. Johnson Central (12-3)
Last year’s runner-up must replace several starters on both sides
3. Franklin County (10-4)
Flyers have an electric star in Kentucky commit Kaden Moorman
4. Central (7-5)
Sophomore running back Cortez Stone will be fun to watch
5. Corbin (12-1)
Redhounds will build around veteran roster featuring 16 seniors
6. Lexington Catholic (9-3)
Knights have a new head coach in Bert Bathiany
7. Logan County (10-5)
QB Davin Yates back for team that reached state semifinals
8. Bourbon County (5-6)
With 21 starters back, Colonels should be much improved
9. Hopkinsville (7-5)
Last hurrah for school that will merge with Christian County
10. Spencer County (9-4)
Bears return several weapons on offense that averaged 34.4 ppg
Others to watch (in order of votes received): Scott, Letcher County Central, Rowan County, John Hardin, Allen County-Scottsville, Boyd County, Holmes, Warren East, Franklin-Simpson, Harrison County.
Top players to watch
Daisjaun Mercer, Hopkinsville wide receiver/defensive back – Miami (Ohio) commit led the Tigers last year with 44 receptions for 1,127 yards and scored 17 touchdowns (13 receiving, two interception returns, one rushing, one punt return). Defensively, he posted 51 tackles (40 solo) and six interceptions.
Kaden Moorman, Franklin County running back – The University of Kentucky commit rushed for 1,447 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. He also caught 18 passes for 211 yards and returned two kickoffs for scores. He was a second-team All-State pick last year and could emerge as the Mr. Football front-runner with another big season in 2022.
High school football: Top 12 contenders for Kentucky's Mr. Football award in 2022
Dakota Patterson, Boyle County wide receiver/defensive back – Patterson played at Corbin last season before transferring to Boyle County. He had a team-high 32 receptions for 508 yards and three touchdowns. He has offers from Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Memphis, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Cortez Stone, Central running back – Speedster had a monster freshman season, rushing for 1,377 yards and 21 touchdowns and averaging 9.8 yards per carry. Already holds offers from Eastern Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue and Western Kentucky.
Tommy Ziesmer, Boyle County tight end/defensive end – The UK commit posted 61 tackles (27 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery last year. He also caught two passes for 39 yards and scored three touchdowns (one receiving, one fumble return, one blocked punt return) and was a first-team All-State pick.
More Class 4A football: What to know about Moore, Spencer County and Valley in 2022
Top games to see
Sept. 2 – Corbin at Franklin County – These teams could meet again deep in the Class 4A playoffs.
Sept. 23 – Hopkinsville at Logan County – Cougars beat Tigers twice last season by a combined three points.
Oct. 7, Boyle County at Lexington Catholic – One of the state’s most heated football rivalries.
Oct. 21, Central at Franklin County – Cortez Stone vs. Kaden Moorman will be worth the price of admission.
Oct. 28, Belfry at Johnson Central – Mountain powers get a solid tune-up in the final week of the regular season.
More Class 4A football: What to know about Central, North Oldham, Shelby County, Waggener
Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; email@example.com; Twitter: @kyhighs.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: KHSAA football: Team rankings, top players, games to watch in Class 4A