Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

October 1, 2012

Johnson Central aims to be heard

ASHLAND — There once was a boy who always sat in the classroom’s back row.

He quietly and diligently racked up good grades, one after another, year after year.

He aced the toughest of tests, turned in even the most tedious of assignments and was never late.

He challenged himself with the tallest tasks, and the most time-consuming projects.

When the teacher asked a question, he hardly ever raised his hand, never answering until called upon. He didn’t crave extra attention.

The majority of the time, his steady yet silent success went unnoticed.

One day, though, the boy snapped. He broke out of his shell like a butterfly crushing through a chrysalis.

His voice had to be heard. His personality, it had to shine.

He couldn’t sit back any longer and let life pass him by.

Johnson Central, you have our full attention.

The Golden Eagles felt like they delivered a message on Friday night. Their coach had something to get off his chest after his team gave Ironton its first loss of the season in Paintsville.

“We wanted to make a statement that we play on a big level,” said Johnson Central ninth-year coach Jim Matney.

“We keep having big wins and big wins everywhere but it’s kind of like, oh, it’s that school in the mountains,” he added. “It doesn’t seem like we ever get any respect. It’s an absolute continuing battle over the nine years I’ve been here to win respect.”

Johnson Central is 81-24 overall under Matney, and the Golden Eagles have been superb at home in his years.

It’s a beautiful stadium, by the way, for those who haven’t seen it.

Last season, J.J. Jude set the state career rushing record. Matney deemed the overall perception unaffected.

“We had the state’s all-time leading rusher, and they are still doubters,” he said. “People are like, well he’s OK, but he’s not that good because he plays at Johnson Central.

“We’re very motivated by the fact that we’re stereotyped. We’re very motivated by the fact that no matter how well we do, our kids never seem to get any credit.”

Matney jumped off his soapbox, but not before revisiting a past instance that summed up his point.

“One year (2007) we had Louisville Central 42-0 at the half, and the next year the University of Kentucky signs three of their players,” Matney said. “None of our kids were ever offered.”

Johnson Central, we see that hand raised.

Got any since?

‰Ashland hasn’t had this dominant a five-year stretch against Boyd County since ... ever. The Tomcats hold an average winning margin of 37.2 points in the last five in the series.

‰Russell’s defense has given up fewer than 10 points in three straight games. The Red Devils haven’t strung four such efforts in a row since ... 2004. Mason County is next up to try to crack into double digits on the Devils.

‰Lawrence County had not won two games by fewer than six points in the same season since ... 1991. Under Billy Goldsmith, the Bulldogs beat Russell 18-15 and Mason County 20-14 in the playoffs. This season, the Down-to-the-Wire Dawgs have emerged on the smiling side of the scoreboard twice in the final seconds of action — they edged Prestonsburg, 42-41, in Week 3 and Sheldon Clark, 39-33, on Friday.

Helmet Stickers

Four stickers: Cade O’Bryan (Ashland), Jordan Young (Johnson Central), Elijah King (Fairview), Quinton Baker (Ashland), A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County).

Every week, O’Bryan just makes plays. He gets some extra ink when scoops and scores, but he’s been steady all season long. The senior defensive end is a dynamic dimension to an already good front group without him. In other words, he makes them great.

Young didn’t have an especially stellar start on Friday, but his tough running paid off as it paved the way to a 176-yard, two-TD performance against Ironton.

King is making up for lost time. In just three games, the explosive Eagle has assembled a season’s worth of statistics. On Friday against Grove City Christian, the senior dashed for 225 yards and two TDs to go along with a 56-yard interception return for a score.

Baker is keeping the pedal to the metal. He eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the second time in his young career and found paydirt thrice.

As for Cyrus, he led the Bulldogs back to defeat Sheldon Clark with four rushing touchdowns. He tallied 175 yards on the ground.

Three: Bryant Cathey (Russell), Chris Brewer (Fairview), Aaron Stephens (Ironton), Ricky Goble (Lawrence County).

Two: Tanner Dutey (Ironton), Zach Gound (Johnson Central), Gage Stevens (Russell), Matt Hall (Johnson Central), Blake Prince (Lawrence County).

One: Josh Gound (Johnson Central), Jason Smith (Boyd County), Aaron Elam (Ashland), Mason Rutherford (Fairview), Jimmy Preston (Johnson Central), Lance Evans (Russell).

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 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

  • 0716softball.jpg KHSAA pushes presence of masks

    Fairview’s Sydney Ekers and Lewis County’s Kelsey Rizzo didn’t wear masks to play softball until after they were struck in the face by line drives.
    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has made a recommendation that it hopes will reduce such instances.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo