Coach: Roy Lucas Jr. (6-15, including 1-0 this year)
Aug. 20 Simon Kenton 38, Woodford Co. 11
Aug. 27 at Holmes
Sept. 3 at Dixie Heights
Sept. 10 SCOTT
Sept. 17 at Scott County
Sept. 24 LEXINGTON HENRY CLAY
Oct. 1 at Ryle
Oct. 8 at Lexington Bryan Station
Oct. 22 CAMPBELL COUNTY
Oct. 29 BOONE COUNTY
(All games at 7:30 unless noted)
Outlook: Last year was a mile-high climb for the Pioneers, who began the season in the throes of a 23-game losing streak but ended it 5-5. They beat Covington Catholic. They gave Highlands its toughest game. They finished a whisker shy of the Class AAA playoffs.
''It was a big step toward turning things around for our program,'' Lucas said.
Though Simon Kenton (1-0) had to jump to AAAA this fall, a playoff berth looks quite attainable. Ten of its 11 defensive starters are either seniors or returning starters, and its skill-position players on offense are strong. Team speed has improved.
Senior QB Mike Ballinger is back after passing for 1,041 yards last year, as is senior RB Daniel Morrison after a 1,001-yard campaign. Morrison rushed for 100 yards and three TDs on just six carries in the season-opening 38-11 beating of Woodford County last Friday.
''Mike is much improved and has become a tremendous leader,'' Lucas said. ''Morrison is our best all-around athlete, and he is bigger, stronger and faster than last year.''
The concern is the offensive line, with five new starters who are all underclassmen.