Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Rockets prepare for move to challenging 2A

Rocket football coach Gaige Courtney has released the team’s 2023 schedule which includes some challenging opponents as Crittenden County makes the move up to Class 2A.

A traditional 1A team, the Rockets were bumped up a level when the KHSAA reclassified and shuffled district lineups across the state. There are six classifications in Kentucky from 1A to 6A.

Crittenden County spent four seasons in Class 2A from 2011 through 2014. The Rockets also spent a time in Class 3A more than 40 years ago. Otherwise, they’ve been a 1A team. 

Classification is based on enrollment of boys in each school. The KHSAA typically reclassifies every four years, but the current framework will be for only two years because pandemic era enrollments have skewed figures used to set the lineup. So, there is a good chance CCHS will only play in 2A for two seasons.

“Like everyone else, I was disappointed at first,” said Courtney, who pointed to longtime rivalries with Russellville and Fulton County in the Class A First District and playoffs foes like Bethlehem, Louisville Holy Cross and Kentucky Country Day in recent years.

“The more I looked at it, I think it’s exciting and a great opportunity,” the coach said. “We’ve added some non-district games that will help us get better to be able to compete at the level of Mayfield and some of the others in 2A.”

Crittenden’s district games will consist of matchups with Mayfield, Murray and Caldwell County. Only Mayfield will be on the road.

“For the first time since before the pandemic began we will have five home games,” Courtney said.

Non-district home games will include contests against 6A McCracken County and 3A Hopkins Central and Class 2A Second District power Owensboro Catholic.

There is a good chance CCHS could see O’Cath a second time in the playoffs.

Non-district road games will be at 3A Webster County and Union County and 5A Ohio County against a team CCHS hasn’t played since the 1969 and 1970 seasons.

Courtney had conversations with other teams in western Kentucky such as Tilghman, Owensboro Apollo and Henderson County, but settled on a 10-game slate that didn’t include those. He said six-team districts for other more traditional opponents like Trigg, McLean, Hancock and Marshall counties made scheduling those teams virtually impossible. However, the Rockets will see the Marshals in preseason.

The Rockets will return at least a dozen seniors this fall, including a strong core group of skilled offensive players – including returning Class A District 1 Player of the Year Micah Newcom – and on the offensive line.

Players have already begun off-season weight training and Courtney says the program is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Rockets headed to Class 2A for at least 2 years

 The KHSAA Board of Control  this week approved the next two seasons of football districts in Kentucky. Typically classification is a four-year plan, but this one will be abbreviated to only half the number of years.
New KHSAA districts, classes
Class 1A
1- Ballard Memorial, Caverna, Fulton County, Russellville
2- Bethlehem, Campbellsville, Holy Cross (Louisville), Kentucky Country Day
3- Bellevue, Dayton, Newport, Newport Central Catholic
4- Bishop Brossart, Holy Cross (Covington), Ludlow, Trimble County
5- Berea, Eminence, Frankfort, Sayre
6- Fairview, Nicholas County, Paris, Raceland
* 7- Harlan, Lynn Camp, Middlesboro, Pineville, Williamsburg
* 8- Hazard, Paintsville, Pikeville
*The fifth place team in District 7 will become the fourth place team

Class 2A
1- Caldwell County, Crittenden County, Mayfield, Murray
2- Edmonson County, Fort Campbell, Owensboro Catholic, Todd County Central
3- Clinton County, Green County, Metcalfe County, Monroe County
4- Fort Knox, Lexington Christian, Shawnee, Washington County, WEB DuBois**
5- Beechwood, Bracken County, Carroll County, Gallatin County, Owen County, Walton-Verona
6- Breathitt County, Danville, Leslie County, Somerset
7- Floyd Central, Knott County Central, Martin County, Prestonsburg
8- Betsy Layne, East Ridge, Pike County Central, Shelby Valley
**Not eligible for district postseason competition until at least 2024

Class 3A
1- Hancock County, Hopkins County Central, McLean County, Trigg County, Union County, Webster County
2- Adair County, Butler County, Franklin-Simpson, Glasgow, Hart County
3- Central, Christian Academy-Louisville, Elizabethtown, LaRue County

4- Casey County, Garrard County, Marion County, Mercer County
5- Bourbon County, Lexington Catholic, Lloyd Memorial, Pendleton County
6- Bath County, East Carter, Fleming County, Lewis County, Russell, West Carter
7- Bell County, Clay County, Knox Central, McCreary Central, Rockcastle County
8- Belfry, Estill County, Lawrence County, Magoffin County, Morgan County, Powell County

Class 4A
1- Allen County-Scottsville, Calloway County, Hopkinsville, Logan County, Paducah Tilghman, Warren East
2- Bardstown, Breckinridge County, John Hardin, Nelson County, Thomas Nelson
3- DeSales, Doss, Jeffersontown, Valley, Waggener, Western
4- Franklin County, Henry County, North Oldham, Shelby County, Spencer County, Western Hills
5- Covington Catholic, Grant County, Harrison County, Holmes, Mason County
6- Ashland Blazer, Boyd County, Greenup County, Johnson Central, Rowan County
7- Boyle County, Lincoln County, Russell County, Taylor County, Wayne County
8- Corbin, Letcher County Central, Perry County Central, Whitley County

Class 5A
1- Apollo, Graves County, Madisonville-North Hopkins, Marshall County, Muhlenberg County, Owensboro
2- Bowling Green, Greenwood, Ohio County, South Warren
3- Atherton, Butler, Fairdale, Iroquois
4- Bullitt Central, Grayson County, Moore, North Bullitt, Seneca
5- Anderson County, Collins, Scott County, South Oldham, Woodford County
6- Boone County, Conner, Cooper, Dixie Heights, Highlands, Scott
7- East Jessamine, Madison Southern, Montgomery County, West Jessamine
8- Harlan County, North Laurel, Pulaski County, South Laurel, Southwestern

Class 6A
1- Christian County, Daviess County, Henderson County, McCracken County
2- Barren County, Central Hardin, North Hardin, Warren Central
3- DuPont Manual, Meade County, Pleasure Ridge Park, St. Xavier
4- Bullitt East, Fern Creek, Male, Southern
5- Ballard, Eastern, Oldham County, Trinity (Louisville)
6- Campbell County, Great Crossing, Ryle, Simon Kenton
7- Henry Clay, Lafayette, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Tates Creek
8- Bryan Station, Frederick Douglass, George Rogers Clark, Madison Central

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Rockets likely headed back to Class 2A in 23

Although it will not be official until January, it looks like Crittenden County football is heading back to Class 2A, a place of great displeasure the last time the Rockets were classified in that division during the 2011 through 2014 seasons.


The Kentucky High School Athletic Association is realigning football, something it does every four years, in theory to provide equity in the competitive balance. 

Crittenden County’s school enrollment figures show an seven-student increase, which will vault the Rockets from Class A to 2A for the next four years starting in the fall of 2023, if approved at the KHSAA Board of Control meeting on Jan. 18. Enrollment figures used to divide the teams into classes are the average number of boys enrolled as reported on the Kentucky Department of Education second-month report for the 2019-2020 and 2022-2023 school years.

The last time CCHS was in 2A, it suffered some of the worst season records in the past three decades resulting in a cumulative 13-30 mark and four straight first-round exits from the playoffs, including three blowout losses at Owensboro Catholic. 

Crittenden has won the Class A First District champion five out of the last six seasons. In 2A, CCHS would be pitted against other First Region teams such as Mayfield, Murray, Fort Campbell, Caldwell County, McLean County, Owensboro Catholic, Hancock County and Metcalfe County. It’s unclear at this time how the districts would be broken down, but Crittenden would most likely join the other far western Kentucky teams.

CCHS had the largest enrollment in Class A over the past four years, but moving to 2A would put it among the bottom five schools based on enrollment figures. 

   READ KHSAA's Reclassification Guidelines 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

AT A GLANCE: 2022 End of Season Review


Look at this week's post for a deep dive into the 2022 season!


Season Review

  • The offense ran 46.1 plays per game this season which is the fewest a Rocket offense has averaged since 2010 (42.2).
  • CC averaged 188.2 passing yards per game which is the second highest average for season in school history (2017, 212.9).
  • Opponents this season averaged 11.8 pass attempts per game which were the fewest against the Rockets since 2003 (11.4).
  • The offenses of opponents' this season averaged

Friday, November 18, 2022

Rockets fall to Holy Cross in state quarterfinal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the state quarterfinals where many Rocket football teams had gone to die over the decades, Crittenden County found late life against Holy Cross. Yet it was far too little, too late as echoes of the past came calling.

Caden Howard scored a touchdown late.
The Class A regional championship was largely decided in the second period when two big plays and too much of Cougar Jayse Hardesty left Crittenden trailing 17-0. It would have taken the largest comeback in history – literally – for the Rockets to find victory in the Final 8 this time. It simply wasn’t to be as Holy Cross wrapped up a comfortable early lead with a 24-12 victory.

Two long plays, both involving Hardesty, put Crittenden in near insurmountable position in the first half. History tells us that it was more than the Rockets could overcome. Only once ever – earlier this year in fact at Liberty Creek – had CCHS overcome a two-possession deficit, much less 17 points.

Hardesty caught a 65-yard scoring strike, ran for a 74-yard touchdown and kicked a 38-yard field goal to put his Cougars ahead 17-zip at the break. He finished with 105 yards receiving and was a big part of Holy Cross’s ability to move the chains consistently for the first three quarters while it built a 24-0 advantage. Senior Cougar quarterback Chris Perry and senior running back Tyler Ballard did the rest of the damage.

Senior Case Gobin consoled after the loss.
Meanwhile, the Rockets struggled up front to slow the unrelenting pressure from the Holy Cross defense. CCHS junior quarterback Micah Newcom had scarcely little time to get into a passing rhythm, but still managed to complete 15-of-25 for 203 yards, mostly on quick, short gainers. He was sacked six times and intercepted twice. A fumble in the third quarter hung a third turnover around the Rockets’ neck. The troubles were just too great.

Although there was clearly too little time for a comeback, Crittenden never threw in the towel late in the second half and scored the game’s final two touchdowns. Newcom ran for one and senior Case Gobin connected on a double-pass play with freshman Caden Howard for 62 yards to cap the contest.

Ten times the Rockets have been to the Class A state quarterfinals, only three times have they broken the tape – in 1963 over Murray when the playoff system was different, 1985 during a state championship run and in 2008 when CCHS head coach Gaige Courtney was a senior linebacker. That team beat Mayfield to hoist the regional hardware, but lost in the semifinals to Beechwood.

“I am just proud of the guys like I always say,” Courtney said after the game. “They’ve been a joy to coach. They did a lot of things, went a lot farther than anyone thought they would.”

The Rockets were unranked all season.

Courtney said Holy Cross was a physical football team and its hardiness wore on his squad, particularly in the second half. But the Rockets still managed to put a finish on it.

“We’ve been down in games, but they never let it stop them. We were down tonight, but kept fighting back,” he said. “I am sad for them right now, but myself I’m proud of them. I’m as proud as I could be to be their coach.”

Holy Cross, ranked No. 9 in Class A, will play next week in the state semifinal round at No. 2 Raceland. See Class A Playoff Bracket. No. 1 Pikeville will host No. 3 Newport Central Catholic.

Crittenden 0 0 0 12
Holy Cross 0 17 7 0

HC-Jayse Hardesty 65 pass from Chris Perry (Hardesty Kick) 11:05, 2nd
HC-Hardesty 74 run (Hardesty kick) 7:36, 2nd
HC-Hardesty 38 field goal, 0:00, 2nd
HC-Perry 1 run (Hardesty kick) 6:11, 3rd
CC-Newcom 4 run (pass failed) 4:29, 4th
CC-Caden Howard 62 pass from Case Gobin (pass failed) 1:05, 4th

First Downs: CCHS 11, HCHS 14
Penalties: CCHS 3-15, HCHS 11-94
Rushing: CCHS 20-30, HCHS 32-224
Passing: CCHS 16-26-2, 203; HCHS 8-14-1, 169
Total Yards: 233, HCHS 393
Fumbles/Lost: CCHS 2-1, HCHS 1-0

CCHS: Newcom 14-2, Tyler Belt 2-14, Gattin Travis 3-7, Kaleb Nesbitt 1-7. HCHS: Perry 17-76, Tyler Ballard 13-61, Jamari Pennebaker 4-14, Hardesty 1-74.
CCHS: Newcom 15-25-2, 141, Gobin 1-1-0, 62. HCHS: Perry 8-14-1, 169.
CCHS: Preston Morgeson 4-40, Howard 5-85, Rowen Perkins 3-35, T.Belt 1-5, Kaleb Nesbitt 3-38. HCHS: Hardesty 4-105, Joey Foushee 3-55, Rolen Royse 1-9.
Sam Impastato solo; Case Gobin 5 solos, 6 assists; Kaleb Nesbitt 8 solos, 3 assists, TFL; Rowen Perkins 2 solos; Briley Berry 9 solos, 6 assists; Preston Morgeson solo; Seth Guess 3 solos, 3 assists; Gabe Keller assist, interception; Gattin Travis 2 solos, assist; Bennett McDaniel 2 solos, TFL; Tyler Belt 4 solos, assist; Grayson James solo, assist.
Players of the Game: Offense Micah Newcom, Defense Briley Berry, Lineman Zach Counts, Special Teams Rowen Perkins.  
Records: Crittenden 8-5, Holy Cross 10-3