By Chad Baker
On Wednesday, the KHSAA approved the latest round of football district realignment. The new alignment was originally planned to last through the 2026 season, but the KHSAA decided it would last for the next two seasons and would be revisited after the 2024 season.
With the realignment of the new district, Pendleton County will remain in Class 3A but will move from District 6 to District 5 along with three brand new teams to 3A. Joining the Wildcats is Lloyd Memorial, a Class 2A semifinalist a year ago. Also included in the district are Bourbon County and Lexington Catholic, both of which are moving down from Class 4A, District 5.
Pendleton County sophomore head football coach Kyle Pettit shared his thoughts on the realignment and the upcoming Wildcats.
“I was surprised to find that given our numbers we were still in 3A. We’ve gone down in enrollment over the past few years, but it seems everyone else has done as well. So the small schools got smaller, but the big schools must have gotten bigger. Considering we’ve been the geographic breakaway team in 3A for the past eight years; We are excited to have Lloyd join our district. Now it seems that instead of being the outlier, we are now an anchor for our district travels,” Pettit said.
The Wildcats have some history with Bourbon County, as they were both paired in Class 4A, District 5 from 2007-2010. The Wildcats and Colonels split their four matchups during their brief tenure in the same county.
Pendleton County faced Lloyd Memorial twice in its 20-year history, losing matchups with the Juggernauts in 2013 and 2014. The Wildcats also faced Lexington Catholic once, back in 2009 when the Knights won 62-0 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“Given that we’ve been in five-team and six-team districts for the last two hostings, I consider this a gift from KHSAA. With only three mandatory district games, it’s very open for me to schedule competitive games as our kids grow in size and experience. We will have seven games where I can choose our opponent. Our level of competition has certainly increased in this new direction. Lexington Catholic is a government powerhouse that falls into our class. Lloyd Memorial has had a great winning streak and a great season, and Bourbon County is an old county rival renewed for this alignment.
“I’m glad the state decided that this alignment will only last for two seasons. Using Covid-19 annual data makes voting difficult for schools and I’m glad they recognize the strange times we’re going through in the post-Covid football world.” Coach Pettit added.
During this two-year realignment agreement, the new Pendleton County district will consist of just four teams, guaranteeing a playoff spot. The sister district, 3A District 6, will consist of Bath County, East Carter, Fleming County, Lewis County, Russell and West Carter.