Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 17, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Proud to be Marine, & Lion

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — The interest surrounding this past Saturday’s Gridiron Alumni game between Ashland and Boyd County has been out of this world.

Or, at least, out of this country.

When Jake Hughes initially contacted fellow 2004 Boyd County graduate Andre Hill, Hill wasn’t sure he could accept the invitation to play because of his schedule as a Marine in Afghanistan.

However, the prospect of playing again ate at him so much that he changed his deployment date for the opportunity to relive his high school football days.

“I just arranged my leave dates around the time of the game,” Hill wrote in a Facebook message.

Hill and the Lions dominated the game, winning 32-0 over the Tomcats.

“The game was beyond great,” he wrote. “My hands are still shaking and heart is still pumping from the adrenaline!”

Hill isn’t the only one still buzzing about the game. Plenty of players on both sides have voiced their desire for a rematch.

With an astounding turnout of 1,300, Gridiron Alumni may just make a repeat trip to the area.

Hopefully, circumstances work out for one of the schools to host the contest. Kentucky Christian University turned out to be a good starter, but if it turns into a series of some sort, it’d be nice to see a rotation between Boyd County and Ashland if at all possible.

Visit www.dailyindependent.com/localsports for a slideshow (by photographer Kevin Goldy) from Saturday’s event.

Hall Of Famers

Larry Conley, a superstar for the last Ashland basketball team to win a state championship in 1961 and one of “Rupp’s Runts” at Kentucky, will enter another elite club this weekend.

Conley is included in the 2013 Centennial Class of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame. He will be inducted during a ceremony at the State Theatre in Elizabethtown on Saturday.

Conley and the Tomcats took the Kentucky title in 1961 and were runners-up in ’62. He was All-State both years.

He played a key role on the NCAA national runner-up Wildcats in 1966.

Joining the Ashland native is J.R. VanHoose, a former Paintsville and Marshall University standout.

VanHoose played for Marshall from 1998 to 2002. He’s also in the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Inductees into the second class were: Johnny Cox, Howie Crittenden, Billy Ray Lickert, Butch Beard, Mike Casey, Larry Conley, Allan Houston, J.R. VanHoose, Joe Fulks, Sharon Garland, Donna Murphy, Jamie Walz, Linville Puckett, Letcher Norton (coach), Bobby Watson (coach), William Kean (coach) and Howard Beth (coach).

Greenup Advances

Greenup County rolled to five consecutive victories to emerge from the loser’s bracket in the Eastern Kentucky Summer Baseball League Tournament as champions.

The Musketeers, made up of high school players who will return next season, beat Johnson Central, which was previously unbeaten in tournament play, on Sunday to force a final game on Monday.

Under the direction of substitute coach Joe Colidron, Greenup County defeated the Golden Eagles 7-4.

Head coach Greg Logan’s Musketeers are heading to Mercer County on Saturday for a state tournament. There are four teams in the competition.

Jennings Update

Chris Jennings has been playing in a familiar spot, north of the border.

The former Fairview and Arizona running back landed in Montreal last fall.

He also spent time with the Canadian Football League squad in 2008 and 2009 before signing with the Cleveland Browns.

Before the 2011 season, Jennings was cut by the New York Jets after spending a preseason with them.

As an Alouette, Jennings gained 334 yards on 59 carries in 2012.

Five games into this season, the 27-year-old Jennings has rushed eight times for 29 yards and a touchdown. He’s also caught one pass.

Said Montreal general manager Jim Popp to the Canadian Press this past fall: “Going back to the time we let him go to the NFL, we always had a gentleman’s agreement that he would come back here.”

Fraley Reps Russell

Russell seventh-grader Makayla Fraley is the catcher for the 11-U Kentucky Crush softball team, which has advanced to the USSSA World Series in Orlando.

Fraley has thrown out 77 percent of runners trying to steal. She’s also batting better than .400 for the season.

The Crush begin play on Sunday at ESPN Complex.

Among other schools represented on the team are Ironton, Symmes Valley and Oak Hill.

Post 76 correction

In Sunday’s edition, there was an error in the article headlined “Junior Sixers punch ticket to title game.” 

It stated that the winning pitcher against Tri-County was Kyle Morris when, in fact, it was Tyler Morris.

AARON SNYDER can be

reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.