Boyle County’s Dawson, Haddix among players and coaches of the year

Boyle County’s Sage Dawson runs the ball against Covington Catholic during the Class 4A state finals.

The Kentucky Football Coaches Association has announced its 2023 players and coaches of the year for each of high school football’s six classes.

Boyle County’s Sage Dawson and coach Justin Haddix were named Class 4A player and coach of the year, respectively, ahead of their 41-0 championship game win over Covington Catholic on Friday.

The announcements came before each class’s respective state championship game at Kroger Field this weekend. They followed the naming of the KFCA’s district players and coaches of the year last month.

In perhaps a surprise to some, the KFCA selected Christian Academy-Louisville quarterback Cole Hodge over Bell County running back Daniel Thomas as Class 2A player of the year.

Hodge, a senior East Carolina commit, led his team to the Class 2A state championship Saturday over Thomas’ Bell County team.

Thomas has set the state’s single season rushing, points and rushing touchdown records and is the leading rusher in the nation, according to statistics compiled by MaxPreps.

Thomas remains eligible for the KFCA’s Mr. Football award given annually to the state’s top senior. The class player of the year awards are not necessarily indicators of the top award because the KFCA has picked a Mr. Football outside the class player list before as they did when they selected Beechwood’s Cameron Hergott as Mr. Football over 2A player of the year Kaiya Sheron of Somerset in 2020.

Unlike past years, there probably will be no Mr. Football selected by members of the Associated Press after the AP let the award lapse last season.


The Louisville Quarterback Club has bestowed its annual Paul Hornung Award to Lexington Christian quarterback Cutter Boley, a senior committed to the University of Kentucky.

Boley helped lead the Eagles to an 11-2 record and a region finals appearance where they lost to eventual Class 2A champion Mayfield.

Boley threw for 2,187 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 115 yards and five scores in an offense that benefited from a powerful run game that featured fellow senior Brady Hensley, an Eastern Kentucky commit who rushed for 2,408 yards and 43 TDs.

Boley follows a succession of Hornung Award winners who have also been Kentucky signees, like Beau Allen, Jager Burton, Dane Key and Ty Bryant.

“Me seeing those names of past winners it is a blessing to have my name in in the same group,” Boley, told’s Larry Vaught. “To be named after a guy with such a great football reputation is definitely remarkable and a big honor. You don’t play to win awards but it is quite an honor to have my name in the same category as him and others.”

The Hornung Award, named for Louisville native and Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung, goes to “the state’s top player based on productivity, recruiting ranking, college potential and character,” as quoted from the Vaught story on the honor.


Class A: Noah Wallace, Raceland

Class 2A: Brady Atwell, Owensboro Catholic

Class 3A: Cole Hodge, Christian Academy-Louisville

Class 4A: Sage Dawson, Boyle County

Class 5A: Deuce Bailey, Bowling Green

Class 6A: Max Gainey, Male


Class A: Dale Estes, Campbellsville

Class 2A: Jason Morris, Owensboro Catholic

Class 3A: Chad Griffin, Hart County

Class 4A: Justin Haddix, Boyle County

Class 5A: Mark Spader, Bowling Green

Class 6A: Josh Gillispie, Manual

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‘Tears of joy this time.’ Mayfield soars in record-setting Class 2A football championship.

They had the football for 12 minutes. Here’s how they won a state championship anyway.

Four-peat: Boyle County blanks Covington Catholic in dominating state finals performance

A defense left for dead puts Bowling Green football back atop Class 5A

Bryan Station starts well, but falls short to mighty Trinity in Class 6A finals