Ever play the game "Scattergories?"
The rules are simple. You roll the dice, it lands on a letter and you have a card containing a dozen descriptions. You must come up with qualifying subjects to match each explanation using that letter as the first of each word.
OK, so let's say your letter is "T." Here's your category:
‰Male first names.
After Friday night, three automatically pop into my head: Tyler, Tanner and Timmy.
Tyler Rose has steadily become a leader of the Ashland Tomcats. Rose has solidified his role as a dependable defensive end, but he showed he has an abundance of skills in his back pocket on Friday in Morehead. The backup QB was thrust into a starting role when No. 1 signal-caller Hunter Prince exited with an injury.
Rose aptly filled in, delivering a touchdown pass to Quinton Baker as one of his two completions in the second half.
Tanner Young is one of the few returning Fairview Eagles who didn't get the opportunity to play in last year's state championship game. He was sidelined with a broken ankle.
Young enjoyed a night to remember on Friday. Not only did he and the offensive line dominate East Ridge en route to 452 total offensive yards and a 55-7 victory, but the senior was crowned Homecoming King at halftime.
Timmy Dalton splashed onto the local sports scene with his basketball ability last winter as he helped lead Lawrence County back to both recognition and 15th Region contention.
Now on the football field, Dalton adds a little extra spice to his expansive mix of skills each week. The freshman has recently taken on a more enhanced defensive role. It's paid off for the Dawgs, as Dalton found himself in the middle of several tackles and even scooped up a fumble and scampered 89 yards for a momentum-changing score against Raceland on Friday.
Said Lawrence County coach Joe Cecil: "He's just a freshman, so I don't want to throw too much on him. But, we've got to play our best kids, and he's played a lot more defense the last couple weeks. Needless to say, he makes us a little bit better."
Got any "since?"
‰Lewis County hadn't started a season at 4-1 since ... 1985. The Lions won five of their first six games that season before finishing at 9-3.
‰Rowan County hadn't competed that closely with Ashland since ... 1998. The Vikings have never beaten the Tomcats, and they've lost by 10 or fewer points just three times (2013, 1998, 1995).
‰Fairview hadn't produced a 100-yard passer since ... Oct. 19, 2012. Alex Roy threw for 123 yards on 5-of-7 passing on Friday night against East Ridge. The sophomore tossed for 135 yards as a freshman against Nicholas County last fall.
Four stickers: Ricky Goble (Lawrence County).
After battling through two ankle sprains — one of the preseason variety, the other suffered in Week 1 — the Bulldogs' senior fullback has looked better and better each week.
Deceptively fast and perceptively strong, Goble wills his way to tough yards carry after carry.
He deflected all the credit following his 23-attempt, 162-yard, four-TD rushing effort against Raceland, directing all the praise toward the Dawgs' offensive line.
Kudos to Goble for the humility, but as a witness, I must say that he could lay claim to sole ownership of a good deal of those yards.
Goble said he "ran a lot of hills" this past offseason, which explains why the 5-foot-7, 195-pounder looked like he has some speedier wheels this season.
Three: Connor Messer (Raceland), Fred Hightower (Fairview), Miles McGranahan (Ashland), Jordan Young (Johnson Central).
Two: Dalton Stamm (Lewis County), Nick Conley (Russell), Mason Thurman (Lewis County), Armonde Yetts (Fairview), Quinton Baker (Ashland), Daymion Belcher (Johnson Central), Zach Gound (Johnson Central), Isaac Lee (Rowan County), Mark Fannin (Paintsville).
One: Ethan Thompson (Russell), Josh Vaughn (Ashland), Fairview offensive line, Kurtlen Brown (Fairview), Joe Jenkins (Russell), A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County), Timmy Dalton (Lawrence County), Devin Helvey (Rowan County), Charlie Bradshaw (Lawrence County), Hunter Prince (Ashland), Tyler Rose (Ashland).
1. Johnson Central (5-0)
2. Fairview (5-0)
3. Lawrence County (5-1)
4. Ashland (4-2)
5. Raceland (4-2)
6. Paintsville (5-1)
7. Russell (3-2)
Did you miss it? Here are area scores from this past weekend: Ashland 34, Rowan County 24; Johnson Central 69, Boyd County 14; Russell 33, West Carter 6; Fairview 55, East Ridge 7; Lawrence County 38, Raceland 35; Portsmouth 33, Ironton 20; Mason County 50, East Carter 7; Lewis County 34, Fleming County 7; Paintsville 56, Phelps 6.
The Fairview at Pike County Central game has been moved from Friday to Thursday.
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
Ever play the game "Scattergories?"
- Local Sports
Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)
The Fleming County Panthers waited nearly an hour to ascend the ladders set up under the goals at Ellis T. Johnson Arena on Tuesday night.
To the victor belongs the spoils, which traditionally includes the nets after winning a tournament title. But Fleming County milled around on Morehead State’s floor taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere after handling Ashland 82-59 in the 16th Region Tournament final.
Snipping the twine was almost an afterthought. In fact, except for a minute or so of celebration with their student section immediately following the final buzzer, the Panthers didn’t really even seem all that excited.
They expected to be here, and they were all business after earning back-to-back region titles and trips to Rupp Arena.
AARON SNYDER: Truth or Dare unkind to ’Cats
Ashland was left feeling like the shy kid after an intense game of Truth or Dare.
Truth: Fleming County outrebounded Ashland, 39-24, after Ashland outdueled Greenup County by 10 the night before.
'Relaxed' Steward earns MVP award
Both Fleming County coach Mark Starns and stellar senior Troy Steward attributed his significant strides this season to aggressiveness.
Playing a part, too, in Steward earning the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player award was the lack of nerves, which were nearly overwhelming at times a year ago.
Central's 15th Region reign continues
Once was good.
Twice was nice.
Three was sweet for the Johnson Central Eagles.
Senior Slade McPeek scored 22 points and earned most valuable player honors Tuesday night as Johnson Central rolled past Shelby Valley, 81-56, for its third straight 15th Region championship at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
- Fleming goes for two: Panthers beat Ashland for 16th Region repeat Fleming County pulled away early and never looked back as the Panthers pounced on Ashland, winning 82-59 in the 16th Region championship game on Tuesday in Morehead. Fleming County will face Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen next Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)