Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 2, 2013


Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — Who wants one when you can have two?

Things naturally go better in pairs.

Shoes, socks and shorts. Dice, dumbbells and doves. Aces, allies and animals on the ark.

Even the single partridge chose to sit in a pair tree! My bad, wrong pair …

It's easy to get stuck on the number "2," and I'm not just referring to your golf ball buried deep in the sand on just the second hole of the day.

Ashland coach Tony Love said the Tomcats knew they were going for two all along when the overtime period against visiting Raceland began.

"Before overtime even started, I told the guys we were going for two," Love said.

One key factor in that decision was a depth advantage.

"Watching (Raceland) in the huddles, they looked extremely tired," Love said. "They had at least seven guys going both ways. Once the second half started unfolding, we got a lot of confidence in what we were able to do offensively."

Trailing 34-33 after a touchdown by junior quarterback Hunter Prince, Prince connected with tight end Jordan Kennedy on a perfectly executed two-point conversion, giving Love his first career win in dramatic style.

"One play away from being a goat," Love quipped. "Everybody was saying, 'Coach, great call!' Had we dropped the pass, it would've been a terrible call. Every coach knows that."

As he did Friday, Love credited assistants Steve Dowdy and Chad Tackett with the play call.

Right now, "2" is the Tomcats' favorite number.

I tried to count down from "4" to "1" in a little numbers game I chose to play this week. And, I just kept hanging up on No. 2, too.

So, in a segment influenced by Sports Illustrated, the following is a by-the-numbers look at what to take away from this weekend:

4. With a handful of duplicate jersey numbers, it just so happens that No. 4 shined twice as bright for Russell on Friday. Senior Patrick Soucy banged in two field goals while freshman Nick Conley, also sporting No. 4, supplied the go-ahead touchdown in a 14-8 Red Devils win. Pavin Downs, who wears "44," recovered a fumble lost by a teammate in the air before he lunged into the end zone for a two-point conversion.

3. How many games it will take West Carter to surpass its 10-game point total from last season if it keeps up pace from its season opener. West Carter is already more than 1/3 of the way to its point total from last fall (124). The Comets had never in their history scored 45 points and lost until Friday's 53-45 loss to Bath County.

2.. The amount of carries it took for Boyd County freshman Christian Braly to own two career touchdowns. The freshman rushed one time for a 54-yard touchdown against Lawrence County in Week 1 and followed that up with one lone rush for a 65-yard score against Mason County in mop-up time.

2. See, stuck at 2 … Obviously, that's how many points Ashland went for to win the game. It's also how many games it took for Love to get his first win. Talented sophomore Drew O'Bryan, wearing No. 2, exited the game with an apparent knee injury in the second quarter. The extent of that injury was not revealed as of Sunday.

Got any since?

‰Ashland hadn't won a one-point game since … 2000. Ashland outdueled Greenup County, 43-42, to end that regular season. Spanning from that point until Friday night, the Tomcats dropped five one-point decisions.

‰Russell hasn't lost to Greenup County at home since … ever. The Musketeers were excruciatingly close to killing two lengthy streaks — the drought at Henry R. Evans Stadium and a 23-game (now 24-game) losing string.

An interesting Backyard Brawl tidbit: Greenup County won the 4A state title in 1977, Russell beat the Musketeers that season. When Russell won the 3A state championship in 1978, Greenup County defeated the Red Devils that year.

‰West Carter hadn't lost 14 consecutive games since … 1988-89, when it went 16 games without a victory. I guess a halftime power outage at Bath County proved ominous enough for the Comets, who saw a 20-point lead quickly morph into a tie game — it was 45-45 by the end of regulation — and eventually an eight-point deficit, by game's end. The Comets had never lost a game in which they put up that many points.

‰Paintsville hadn't started a season at 2-0 since … 2007. The Tigers shot out to a 4-0 start that season before finishing with a 6-6 record.

Helmet Stickers

‰Four stickers: Hunter Prince (Ashland), Daylin Beach (Raceland), Braden Brown (West Carter).

Prince tossed for 64 yards, marched for 141 yards and crossed the goal line, either via air or ground, five times — the last being on the game-winning two-point pass.

Beach galloped for 180 yards on 21 attempts, caught two passes for 42 yards and found pay dirt twice.

Brown set a school record for rushing yards (319) and scored five TDs in a classic "West"-ern shootout that rivaled any old Eastwood movie.

‰Three: Derek Ferguson (Lawrence County), A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County), Ryan Byrd (Greenup County), Kane Snyder (Raceland).

‰Two: Josh Vaughn (Ashland), Tanner Dolen (Fairview), Nick Conley (Russell), Devin Helvey (Rowan County), Cameron Little (Lawrence County).

‰One: Caleb McKnight (Fairview), Jordan Ratcliff (East Carter), Jason Smith (Boyd County), Skyler Williams (Greenup County), Jake Long (Ironton), Zack Taylor (Rowan County).

NOTE: The QB did not have statistics from the Paintsville-Morgan County or Johnson Central-Holy Trinity (Ontario) games.

Snyder's Super


1. Johnson Central (1-0)

2. Fairview (1-0)

3. Ashland (1-1)

4. Lawrence County (2-0)

5. Raceland (1-1)

6. Russell (1-0)

7. Lewis County (1-0)

Wide right

Did you miss it? Here are local scores from the weekend: Ashland 35, Raceland 34 (OT), Russell 14, Greenup County 8; Fairview 27, East Carter 6; Mason County 34, Boyd County 16; Wheelersburg 49, Ironton 12; Lawrence County 50, Rowan County 27; Paintsville 21, Morgan County 14; Bath County 53, West Carter 45; Johnson Central 67, Holy Trinity (Ontario) 7.

Bruner Correction

The story headlined "Boyd hangs tough at Mason" in Saturday's edition incorrectly stated that Boyd County's kicker is Chris Bruner. The Lions' kicker is Zac Bruner.

Bruner, undoubtedly one of the better kickers in the area, nailed an impressive 44-yard field goal that easily cleared the crossbar in the Lions' 34-16 loss to Mason County.

Tweet the QB

Follow the Monday Morning Quarterback on Twitter (@DindependentQB) for scores and other local sports news.

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