Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 1, 2012

Ashland's BarriCade

Defensive stopper O’Bryan plays like the little guy

ASHLAND — Cade O’Bryan knew he couldn’t keep up the scorching pace.

If he had, he’d be sitting on 80

defensive touchdowns right now.

Heck, the first one nearly blew his mind — it was a first-quarter 34-yard scoop-and-score off a fumble recovery during a Week 1 defeat of Lawrence County.

“After the first one I was thinking, well, this is never going to happen again,” said O’Bryan on Tuesday.

It did. A minute and 14 seconds later, in fact. This one was twice the distance, though, at 69 yards.

“I was running, and in the back of my mind I was thinking, somebody’s got to be close to me,” O’Bryan said with a smile. “I see what the running backs go through, because I was tired after that one.”

The spurt

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound O’Bryan used to be a running back and linebacker. That’s when he didn’t like football all that much, in Junior Football League and middle school days.

Baseball had a firm grip on his heart all the way through childhood.

But, upon entering high school, O’Bryan hit an astonishing seven-inch growth spurt. He was bigger, faster, and he could hit much harder. Football became his favorite.

As for his heart, it always seemed big for his body. So, in a sense, he was just growing into it.

Good friend and senior teammate Cody Watts said it was impossible to take notice of O’Bryan’s passion from the first day he stepped onto the same playing field as O’Bryan, back in second grade.

“He’s always had a big heart, and he’s got a nonstop motor,” Watts said. “He plays almost like somebody undersized while he’s actually bigger than guys he plays.

“He’s the heart of our defense,” added Watts.

According to Watts (5-8, 180), he and O’Bryan were about the same size until sophomore year.

“When we came back to school after sophomore summer, I was like ‘What have they been feeding you?’” Watts recalled.

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

    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