Paducah Tilghman has played three ranked teams this season.

In Week 1, it beat McCracken County – which entered the rankings two weeks ago – 47-43

Then, in Week 3, it lost to then-No. 1 Mayfield for the 14th year in a row, 38-20.

Last week, Tilghman knocked Trigg County out of the Associated Press Top 10 with a 63-21 shellacking in Cadiz.

This week, Class 3A’s No. 6-ranked Blue Tornado (5-1) will look to continue a three-game winning streak when it plays DeSales – ranked No. 5 in Class 3A.

“DeSales is a very good ball club, and they have a great coaching staff,” Tilghman coach Jonathan Smith said. “ They are as big and physical up front on both sides as anyone we have faced, or will (face this season).”

The Colts (3-2) are a similar team to Tilghman in the run game.

There are four running backs with meaningful playing time this season and multiple touchdowns.

James Johnson is the rushing leader in yardage, with 43 attempts for 332 yards and four touchdowns.

But, quarterback DeMarcus Avery has proven to be a dual-threat back, with 52 carries for 299 yards and five touchdowns to go with 22-of-44 passing for 451 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Antoine Johnson (231 yards, three touchdowns) and Darren Hollenkamp (154 yards, two touchdowns) have also found the end zone this year.

“Offensively, they are similar to us in that they like to establish the run, and they use multiple formations and motion to outflank their opponents,” Smith said.

Defensively, DeSales has found its way into the backfield.

Demetri Scott has 13 sacks in five games for the Colts this season, while DeJuan Watkins (6), Mekhi Lewis (4.5), Ebenezer Griffith (3), Alexander Gates and Trevon Williams (2 apiece) have gotten to opposing quarterbacks several times.

In the secondary, Lance Weiter has three interceptions – including a pick-six – for DeSales, while Anthony Usher also has a pick-six.

“Defensively, the like to load the box, and have the speed and talent to match up well in man coverage on the back end,” Smith said. “I expect a fight to the end by both teams, and we look forward to the challenge of finding out where we stand against a tough opponent in a playoff type of game.”

This week’s top games

Game of the Week: Paducah Tilghman vs. DeSales

When: 7, Friday

Where: McRight Field, Paducah

Notable: The Blue Tornado (5-1) have won three in a row. Damien Ford (805 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Jayden Freeman (723 yards, 12 touchdowns) have continued to propel the Tilghman ground game.

Prediction: DeSales by 17

McCracken County vs. Daviess County

When: 7, Friday

Where: Marquette Stadium, Paducah

Notable: McCracken running back Hunter Bradley nearly doubled his production in a 81-51 win over Apollo last week, running 19 times for 403 yards and seven touchdowns for the Mustangs (4-2), who have won four in a row. For the Panthers (2-4), Joe Humphreys was 23-of-31 for 214 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-6 win over Marshall County last week.

Prediction: McCracken by 35

Caldwell County vs. Mayfield

When: 7, Friday

Where: Tiger Stadium, Princeton

Notable: The Cardinals (5-1) rolled over Fort Campbell last week, 42-0. Jayden Stinson was nearly perfect, completing 9-of-10 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Russ Beshear was 8-of-11 for 115 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for the Tigers (5-1) in a 57-16 win over Ballard Memorial.

Quotable: “This game will be a great test for us. We'll need to play mistake, turnover free football to be competitive.” – Caldwell County interim coach Waynee McGowan

Prediction: Mayfield by 35

Marshall County vs. Henderson County

When: 7, Friday

Where: Carroll Traylor Stadium, Draffenville

Notable: The Marshals (2-4) have struggled getting the offense rolling consistently. Luke Wyatt has run for 301 of Marshall’s 745 yards, with three of its eight rushing touchdowns. First-year quarterback Quinn Smith is 21-of-58 for 391 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. The Colonels (4-1) are coming off a bye week.

Quotable: “Henderson County is a physical football team that plays good defense. Creating scoring drives will be a key for us this week as well as protecting the football. Defensively we’ve got to play as a unit, tackle well and force turnovers. If we can execute in those areas, we can have success against them.” – Marshall County coach Evan Merrick

Prediction: Henderson by 30

Other games to watch this week

Murray vs. Fort Campbell

When: 7, Friday

Where: Ty Holland Field, Murray

Prediction: Murray by 35

Fulton County at Russellville

When: 7, Friday

Where: Russellville High School, Russellville

Prediction: Fulton County by 10

Crittenden County vs. Trigg County

When: 7, Friday

Where: Rocket Field, Marion

Prediction: Trigg by 24

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