Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

October 22, 2012

MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: Central, Ashland put on a show

ASHLAND — Football fans, would you rather see your team get blown out or lose in mind-blowingly crushing fashion, such as Ashland did on Friday night in a 22-21 loss at Johnson Central?

Players, the QB will ask you the same thing.

Coaches?

I call Friday night’s game the “Thrilla in Paintsvilla” because, as Johnson Central coach Jim Matney inferred, the rivalry matchup was akin to a heavyweight boxing match.

“It seemed like every time we punched, Ashland would counter-punch,” he said.

Several players got in a jab.

Malik Massey, bouncing around like Frogger from the classic arcade game, sprung free for a few runs that made it look like he’d been the feature running back all season long for the Tomcats. But the senior was just in his second game, filling in for the injured Quinton Baker. He’s typically a wideout.

Aaron Elam, Ashland’s quarterback, broke away for a thunderous 50-yard run.

There was Zach Gound-to-Dalton Adkins Part I, which capped off an epic 15-play, eight-minute drive for Johnson Central — but the sequel was even better.

Josh Dillon’s TD sprint tied it all up in the fourth quarter.

Ashland’s Luke Johnson and company forced (and recovered) a Johnson Central fumble with four minutes left.

So many players formed to make a collage of images that remain vivid.

However, most of the many images will eventually become distorted and fade away.

Those that will last: 

‰Fourth-and-19 showing on the scoreboard before Gound-to-Adkins Part II — an overtime touchdown that put Johnson Central within two points of an improbable win, considering the situation.

‰The blur, which was pretty accurately what I saw from the press box when Jordan Young took a handoff and found the goal line to give the Golden Eagles a victory.

‰Both crowds’ visibly contrasting reactions to the final two plays of the game, one deflation, the other jubilation.

‰Ashland coach Leon Hart sitting on the Tomcats’ bench, dumbstricken and heartbroken.

‰The spherical wave of gold and black converged in a celebratory cluster at midfield.

As for the question posed earlier, I think the answer depends on when the question is asked.

Over time, it might become tougher and tougher to swallow, especially for the losing coaches and players. Time could also have the opposite effect.

For fans, though, all of those images, all of those players and all of those moments, they just collided to produce one of the best games you will have ever laid eyes on.

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