PREVIEW: South Warren vs. Hopkinsville

Teams find answers/playmakers for epic season-opening playoff rematch

South Warren has become a household name in regards to high school football in the Bowling Green area, and last season was no different. The Spartans roared to a 9-3 record before falling to Franklin-Simpson in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs---marking the fifth consecutive season with a winning record for Coach Brandon Smith and company.

But one of the teams the Spartans knocked off last season will be chomping at the bit for revenge: the Hopkinsville Tigers.

[caption id="attachment_11195" align="alignleft" width="231"]A94R2456 South Warren head coach Brandon Smith speaks at the 2017 STBN Football Media Day./Photo by Paul Gray.[/caption]

The Spartans edged the Tigers, 28-24, in a back-and-forth affair at Stadium of Champions in the second round of the playoffs last November, and the two teams will square off in an epic rematch Friday night at South Warren High School.

Defeating the Tigers once again will certainly be no easy task, as Hoptown returns several returning starters from last season. However, it will be looking to replace quarterback Jalen Johnson (2,117 passing yards, 29 touchdowns in 2016) after announcing his intent to transfer to Aspire Academy in Louisville this year.

Also leaving shoes to fill on the Tiger offense will be leading receiver Stephen “Shorty” Cager (915 receiving yards, 16 receiving touchdowns in 2016) after he decided to forego his senior season of football to focus on basketball.

Meanwhile, South Warren will have to try out its new crop of players after losing playmakers like quarterback Ryder Litten (1,489 passing yards, 15 touchdowns; 967 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns) and Kayron Namvong (1,039 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns) to graduation this past spring.

Newcomer Gavin Spurrier will nab the start at quarterback for the Spartans on Friday evening. Other offensive impact players to watch for are junior running back Cameron Harrison (217 yards, one touchdown last year) and junior wide receiver Caleb Lloyd (254 yards, three touchdowns).