Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 10, 2012

Bir leads attack for Cov. Catholic

PAINTSVILLE — Sometimes one team makes plays while the other one doesn’t.

Covington Catholic got big plays from the arm, and legs, of quarterback Blake Bir to sail past Johnson Central 45-15 in a Class 4A second round playoff game on Friday.

Johnson Central coach Jim Matney said when it comes down to it, his team was just outplayed by Covington Catholic.

“We just didn’t play very well,” Matney said. “And they played well and they made big play after big play after big play.”

After Johnson Central’s opening drive stalled, Covington Catholic took over, and penalties forced them into a first-and-25 situation.

Bir responded to the penalty by running for 33 yards on the next play, scoring the game’s opening touchdown.

After a Johnson Central three-and-out, Bir delivered again for the Colonels with a 10-yard touchdown run.

After a long bus ride, Covington Catholic was pretty happy that a quarterback, known more for his arm, was able to use his legs so effectively.  

“For a high school football quarterback coming off a four-hour bus ride, against a good team, in a hostile environment, that’s a pretty good performance,” said Covington Catholic coach David Wirth.

Bir finished the game 17-of-25 passing for 287 yards with two touchdown passes and had five carries for 76 yards with two rushing touchdowns.

After Bir’s second TD run, Johnson Central running back Daymion Belcher fumbled on the first play of the following drive.

Defensive lineman Spencer Hemmer took the ball 28 yards and gave Covington Catholic a 21-0 first quarter lead.

“That’s a big play,” Wirth said. “That fumble return for a touchdown broke the game wide open. It was like a cleat in the middle of the back and it was hard for them to recover from.”

But Johnson Central (9-3) scored on the very next drive, when Belcher took the ball 23 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

Belcher was a bright spot for the Golden Eagles — the sophomore finished with 126 rushing yards on 18 carries to go with one touchdown.

“He ran hard and played well for a sophomore,” Matney said about Belcher.

But when the Golden Eagles needed a stop, the Colonels found a way to keep drives going.

After the Johnson Central scoring drive, Covington Catholic answered with a four-minute drive that ended with backup quarterback Sam Dressman barreling into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown.

All Matney could do was watch, as after a tough season his team seemed beaten up. It struggled to keep pace with Covington Catholic’s high-speed pace.

“We went as far as our bodies could take us,” Matney said. “I think our schedule towards the end of the season hurt us a bit because we were awfully banged up.

“Anytime you play Ironton, Ashland and Belfry in a row, I think it’s hard to recuperate from that.”

Wirth said his team’s spread out, fast-paced offense worked well against Johnson Central’s defense that featured players that play both ways.

“I think our offense’s ability to vary the pace and go really fast and wear them out is big,”  Wirth said. “And then at the end being able to slow it down and frustrate them was just as important.”

In the second half up 28-7, Covington Catholic opened up the second half scoring with a 53-yard screen pass to Ethan Egbers.

Johnson Central got a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan Young, but Covington Catholic’s following drive ended with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Bir to Matt Summe. The play came after Johnson Central backed Covington Catholic up to a third-and-12 position.

Covington Catholic’s ability to make big plays on third down, and its 451 total yards compared to Johnson Central’s 184, were the keys to the game, Matney said.

“We just didn’t make the big plays and they did,” Matney said. “It’s as simple as that. Normally we’re able to finish those drives up and we weren’t able to tonight.”

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014

  • 0716fbpractice0105.jpg Four-down territory: Making summer football practice pit stops

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
    The popular Monday night catchphrase filled my room on Tuesday morning as my new alarm sounded off at 7 a.m.

    July 16, 2014 5 Photos