It’s time to say Hail to the Helmet Sticker King.
No, not Hail to the Chief. This isn’t a four-year term, by any means.
It entails just one year, I’m afraid, so that means Sam Hunter must go find that crown up in the attic, dust it off, polish it up real well so that the QB can see his reflection in it when he inspects it, and hand it over (If only I had a real crown).
But will the envied jewel stay in the family?
So far, in three seasons, the title of Helmet Sticker King has been exchanged from Shane Pack (Lawrence County) to Corey Lyle (Greenup County), and then from Lyle to Hunter (Ashland).
Now, even though I don’t tally up the stickers until the final week of the regular season, I usually have an idea of who it might be by now.
This year, I honestly had no clue. There were several deserving players, but only one racked up enough to etch his name into Monday Morning Quarterback column history.
I’ll give you a hint: Maybe we should call him the Helmet Sticker Prince.
A freshman, Ashland’s Quinton Baker, gathered a total of 22 stickers this season. Although he sat out the final three weeks because of a foot injury, his individual performances were enough to hold off the competition.
The QB handed stickers to a whopping 84 total players/units. By units, I mean an offensive line or a team defense.
The following are the top dozen sticker earners of the season:
1. Quinton Baker (Ashland) 22; t2. Adam Elkins (Raceland) 18; t2. Devon Turner (Fairview) 18; 4. Cade O’Bryan (Ashland) 17; t5. Chris Brewer (Fairview) 16; t5. Daylin Beach (Raceland) 16; 7. Troy Huffine (Russell) 14; 8. Malik Massey (Ashland) 13; t9. Connor Messer (Raceland) 12; t9. Dylan Harris (Boyd County) 12; t9. Aaron Elam (Ashland); t9. A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County) 12.
Got Any Since?
‰East Carter hadn’t scored more than 40 points in a game since ... 2008. It was the last time the Raiders beat Morgan County, actually. The Cougars fell victim to East Carter, 41-18, on Friday after having won three straight over the Raiders. East Carter poured 58 points on Morgan County four years ago.
‰Johnson Central has not lost to both Belfry and Ashland in the same season since ... 1998. That streak continues, but barely. The Golden Eagles needed overtime to survive the Tomcats a week ago before falling to the Pirates on Friday.
‰Russell has made the playoffs every season since ... 1997. Despite some real hardships this season, the Red Devils can take advantage of the beauty of the big picture. Nothing up to this point matters in the least right now. The Devils open the playoffs at home against Garrard County, and it wouldn’t be wrong to expect a close finish. Russell’s last two postseasons have been full of drama.
Four stickers: Cade Stidham (East Carter), Joel Wardle (Fairview).
Stidham rose up to the occasion on Senior Night, rolling up 204 yards on 29 carries and three TDs in leading the Raiders to an impressive defeat of Morgan County.
Wardle’s statistics won’t blow you away, but the senior’s first career TD run served a great moment on Friday night. At 4-foot-5, Wardle — also a baseball player — conquered the challenge of getting into the end zone to help Fairview to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.
Three: John Valencourt (Raceland), Devon Turner (Fairview), Mason Rutherford (Fairview), Jason Smith (Boyd County).
Two: Devin Thomas (Raceland), Bronson Korzep (Russell), Connor Messer (Raceland), Josh Dillon (Johnson Central), Daymion Belcher (Johnson Central), A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County).
One: Gaje Ayres (Boyd County), Troy Huffine (Russell), Adam Elkins (Raceland), Tanner Dolen (Fairview), Chris Brewer (Fairview), Donovan Roe (East Carter).
NOTE: Boyd County’s Jason Smith, Lawrence County’s A.J. Cyrus and Raceland’s Connor Messer earn belated helmet stickers for last week’s efforts.
1. Johnson Central (8-2)
2. Ashland (8-2)
3. Fairview (10-0)
4. Raceland (8-2)
‰There was just too much of a dropoff from Nos. 4 to 5 to include more than a quartet here.
QB Quiz ends
Well Lucky Fans, I guess it’s goodbye.
It’s been a real pleasure predicting high school football games alongside you this season. Thanks for participating.
Since it was such a success, we will probably renew the Quiz next season.
Let’s hear it for these Lucky Fans: Chris Wampler, Hobie Rogers, Rodney Johnstone, Steve Reliford, Brandon Caniff, David Cordial, Matt Robinson, Zak Musick, Bryan Prince.
It’s time for the QB to get serious and make up some ground in the staff picks during the postseason.
Tweet the QB
Follow the Quarterback on Twitter, @DindependentQB, for playoff scores and news throughout the week.
Did you miss it? Here are area scores of interest from this past weekend: Boyd County 14, West Carter 7; East Carter 41, Morgan County 18; George Rogers Clark 44, Rowan County 26; Letcher County Central 42, Greenup County 7; Lewis County 52, Magoffin County 8; Raceland 25, Russell 14; Belfry 17, Johnson Central 12; Paintsville 20, Berea 14.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.
It’s time to say Hail to the Helmet Sticker King.
- Local Sports
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.”
- Fleming hangs tough to beat Lewis Fleming County locked into another fight against Lewis County, which beat the Panthers earlier this season, before winning 66-58 on Monday in Morehead. Wilder Williams posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who face Ashland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
- GALLERY: Ashland gets by Greenup County, will meet Fleming in region final Ashland's Steven Friley scored 21 points Monday to lead the Tomcats to an 81-61 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region semifinal in Morehead.
Kittens clamoring for more at state
Ashland girls basketball coaches went the extra mile, and a whole bunch more, to get a first-hand scouting report on the Kittens’ opponent for the State Tournament.
Head coach Bill Bradley and assistant Phil Wittich drove all the way to Henderson — 5 hours, 20 minutes one way Bradley said on the way home — to take in Sunday’s Second Region championship game.
Henderson County, playing on its home floor, defeated University Heights 67-54. The Lady Colonels went unbeaten in their region this season and are 24-5 overall.
EKC hands out hardware
The Eastern Kentucky Conference handed out its 2014 awards on Monday afternoon at a luncheon at Carter Caves.
Barracudas earn kudos from coach
Ashland Area YMCA swimmers impressed coach Ryan Ferguson from start to finish in the three-day Kentucky Y Competitive Swim League State Meet.
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- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights