Class 4A Blog: Whitewater to honor alum Dugger, McDonough set to host Pace

Whitewater High School was amongst the newcomers to Class 4A this season and the Fayette County powerhouse is set to honor one of its most accomplished alum and athletes in Kyle Dugger at home against North Clayton. Dugger competed as a basketball player and football player for the Wildcats and a four-inch growth sport before his senior season and a successful year on the gridirion earned him a scholarship to play at Lenoir Rhyne—a Division II school in North Carolina. Dugger’s development continued at the collegiate level as he honed in his safety skills and he was ultimately drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

As a tribute to Dugger’s No. 3, the school is selling tickets to the North Clayton game on Feb. 1 for just $3. Those discounted tickets will be available on Jan. 30-31 and Dugger’s jersey will be retired at halftime. Dugger is now an established defensive back for the Patriots that finished the season with three interceptions and tallied 78 total tackles. His three defensive touchdowns this season were the first time a Patriot achieved that mark since the 1970 season. In high school, however, Dugger was a well-known point guard and basketball player that did not earn a starting job on the gridiron until his final varsity season.

“He’s come back and talked to our kids before and he’s told them that you don’t have to go to a big school to get to the NFL,” said Whitewater girls basketball coach and football assistant coach Rashad Muhyee. “It’s all about how hard you’re willing to work.”

Before Dugger’s halftime ceremony later this month, all eyes will be on the top rated matchup between McDonough and visiting Pace Academy this Friday. The No. 1 ranked McDonough boys picked up their latest resume-building victory on Monday at the Dream Challenge at Campbell High School. The Warhawks’ MLK Day victory came in a 68-61 triumph over Class 3A No. 1 ranked Sandy Creek. Toppling a top-ranked team to tipoff the week has broadened the spotlight ahead of their anticipated Region 5 showdown with Pace Academy this Friday.

Similar to McDonough, Pace Academy is undefeated within the classification this season and is battle-tested heading into the first of two regular season showdowns with No. 1 McDonough. Both teams are off to 6-0 starts in region play and the Knights have picked up four-straight wins to improve to 12-4 overall.

Pace Academy is new to Class 4A this season and has a championship pedigree that will offer a measuring stick to McDonough as the program looks to win its first-ever state crown this season. Pace Academy junior Kyle Greene (25) and Eric Chatfield (16) led the Knights with 41 of their 62 points in the latest win over Chaminade-Julienne and also combined for 10 of the team’s 12 assists.

McDonough’s win over Sandy Creek on Monday showed just how balanced the offensive duties have been distributed this season with Amon McDowell (18), Da’Avion Thomas (16), Kennan Gray (15) and Avante Nichols (13) all scoring in double-figures. McDonough held off Sandy Creek—despite shooting just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.

The aggressive playmaking from Thomas and McDowell helped offset the lack of success from three-point range as the two seniors took a combined 21 trips to the foul line in part of McDonough’s 22-of-29 effort (76 percent).