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.