Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 12, 2014

East-West All-Star football hits Morehead on Friday

MOREHEAD — Zack Moore is thoroughly enjoying the refreshing take on coaching that goes along with guiding a group of All-Star football players.

East Carter’s coach since 2011, Moore will roam the sidelines on Friday night as the East team’s head coach in the ninth annual Northeastern Kentucky East-West Senior Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Morehead State’s Jayne Stadium.

“It’s been a good experience because it’s been fun,” Moore said. “Obviously we want to win, but there’s no pressure. It’s not like it’s a district seeding game or something. You can definitely relax a little more.

“If we all coached like that all the time, we’d probably be more effective,” he added.

Bourbon County third-year coach John Hodge is in charge of the West squad. He is 26-2 in his two seasons with the Colonels.

Both teams began practice at the beginning of the week.

West includes players from Mason County, Powell County, Bourbon County, Bath County, Fleming County, Rowan County, Montgomery County, Bracken County, George Rogers Clark, Nicholas County and Paris.

East consists of players from Ashland, Boyd County, East Carter, Raceland, Lawrence County, Fairview, West Carter, Russell, Greenup County, Lewis County and Johnson Central.

“The first day they all look at each other like, what’s this guy like? They’re seeing who’s from where, and asking others, do you know this guy? Do you know that guy? Then, by the second day, there are connections made,” Hodge said. “I hope that shows up on Friday night.”

The quarterback matchup will be Lawrence County’s A.J. Cyrus vs. the tandem of Powell County’s Matt Brooks and Bourbon County’s Houston Cox.

Cyrus, a student of the belly option offense, will run the majority of East’s plays out of the shotgun formation. Moore said most of the playbook will involve four wideouts.

“He’s picking up on a new system — he’s never been in a shotgun,” Moore said. “He’s talented and bright. He makes some good decisions.”

Cyrus is a Mount St. Joseph signee. He’ll throw passes to a bevy of receivers. Among them are Qua Davis (East Carter), Lane Daniels (Paintsville), Cody Tackett (Boyd County) and R.J. Washington (Ashland). Johnson Central product Zach Gound, who played quarterback for the Golden Eagles, will play some running back and slot receiver, according to Moore.

“I’m convinced that (Gound) could probably play anywhere on the field,” Moore said.

Another Johnson Central standout impressing Moore is Josh Dillon. East will utilize the 6-foot, 180-pound linebacker as a defensive end.

Moore envisions Paintsville’s Prater Helton and West Carter’s Tyler McGlone having success stopping West.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if (McGlone) came out with eight to 10 tackles,” Moore said. “I’d never seen (Helton) up until this point. He’s a good gap-plugger, and really quick.”

Fairview’s Anthony Roark and a trio of Raceland Rams — Austin Manis, Nevan Johnson and Mac Boggs — highlight a solid offensive line.

Russell’s Pavin Downs will serve as the team’s long-snapper and play in the secondary. Fellow Red Devil Patrick Soucy will handle placekicking duties. Fairview’s Zac Christensen will punt.

Assisting Moore on the coaching staff are Daniel Barker (East Carter), Aaron Baldwin (Bath County), Scott Grizzle (Raceland), Mike Francis (Raceland), Cory Jones (Fairview), Tim Champlin (Fairview) and Caleb Cox (Kentucky Christian University).

“I’m hoping the players have had as much fun as the coaches,” Moore said. “I’ve got seven quality assistants.”

Hodge said he “jumped on the opportunity” when Tom Posey, the game’s director, approached him about coaching. He was West’s defensive coordinator last summer.

“Any time you get to hear pads popping this time of year, it gets me fired up,” he said.

West won the game last season.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

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