Nicholas County isn’t a new kid on the Class AA playoff ratings block.
The Class AA No. 3 Grizzlies have been perennial playoff participants the last four seasons and they have had successful campaigns.
Two years ago they accomplished a first by knocking off then No. 1 James Monroe, the school’s first win over a top-ranked team.
The only thing left is to find postseason success.
The Grizzlies have shown flashes so far of sustaining their success, starting the season at 5-0 with quality wins over North Marion (32-12), Shady Spring (26-24) and Oak Hill (47-26). Shady Spring and Oak Hill are both in the top 16 in Class AA.
“We’re off to a good start and we’re where we had hoped to be,” coach Gene Morris said. “We need to improve weekly in order to be successful.”
So far the Grizzlies have been good on defense, and when they bent, against Shady Spring and Oak Hill, the offense had enough to seal those wins.
It’s hard to find fault with the offense when a team is averaging 37.6 points per game.
But the running game started slow, without a 100-yard through the first three contests.
But in the last two games the running game looks to have found its footing. Jacob O’Dell, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, has topped 100 yards in the last two games (122 vs. Lincoln and 160 vs. Oak Hill) and five touchdowns.
Quarterback Jared Sagraves, who threw for 1,000 yards a year ago, is still finding success through the air, with an area-best 724 yards passing and nine touchdowns.
Nick Kiser has been outstanding at receiver with 21 receptions for 365 yards and five touchdown receptions (three against Oak Hill) and newcomer Luke LeRose, a basketball all-stater who has scored 1,000 points in two seasons, has 11 receptions for 178 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense is led by Devin McKown (8.4 tackles), Colton Groves (6.0), Timmy Baker (5.4) and Zach O’Dell (5.0).
“We’re only halfway through, it’s no time to lose focus,” Morris said. “The second half of the season is where the health of the team is paramount. We can’t rest on early success. There’s a lot of areas we can improve in.”
Nicholas County has a rare statistic: It has three safeties in five games.