What makes the NFL so stinkin’ popular?
The fact that nobody stinks! (Except for the Jaguars).
Sure, the razzle-dazzle playmaking, the mind-numbing hitting and fantasy-point tracking make for spellbinding Sunday afternoons, but the NFL wouldn't be near as enticing if every game was 40-20.
Margins are inching closer and closer every game, it seems.
Of the nine 1 p.m. kickoffs on Sunday, eight of them resulted in a one-possession outcome. That's what keeps you watching.
On Friday night, local teams served up quite a display of gutwrenchers.
Five area games were decided by six points or fewer, with the closest being a one-point nailbiter at Russell’s Henry R. Evans Stadium. Meanwhile, another took so many quick twists and turns that even the fans in the seats sensed motion sickness. Fairview-Bellevue had a chance to go either way until the Eagles created some late separation for a 12-point win.
Who knows? This coming Friday may hold even more close-game excitement. I know the Monday Morning Quarterback hopes so.
A different sort of excitement struck Grayson, when an electrical fire in the concession stand caused a power outage. No one was injured, thank goodness, and the game was moved to Sunday, when East Carter won 38-21.
Got any since?
‰Friday night marked the lowest-scoring Ashland-Russell game since … 1987. The Tomcats were 7-3 winners 26 years ago.
‰Fairview hasn't been involved in such a high-scoring contest since … ever. Second place in that department is last year’s 69-29 meeting with Casey County. On Friday, Fairview and Bellevue combined for 972 total yards of offense on 130 plays. There were 43 total first downs and 16 touchdowns.
‰West Carter hadn’t won back-to-back games since ... 2010. The Comets finished that regular season with defeats of Lewis County and Powell County. On a related note, Lewis County is 3-0 for the first time since 2005.
Four stickers: Tyler Pack (Johnson Central), Tanner Dolen (Fairview), Raceland O-line, Fairview O-line, Isaac Lee (Rowan County), Lane Daniels (Paintsville).
Johnson Central sophomore Tyler Pack tied a state record with a stunning 58-yard field goal during Friday’s Golden Eagles win over Perry County Central.
The smallest schools have two of the most physical offensive fronts in the area. Raceland’s front five (Alec Risner, Mac Boggs, Austin Manis, Nevan Johnson and Lucas Bradley) boosted the Rams to 479 yards of offense, while Fairview’s group (Cody McPeek, Anthony Roark, Clay Goble, Dan Metzler and Tanner Young) opened seams for a 510-yard rushing night.
Dolen’s career-high 200 rushing yards were huge, but the timing of his two touchdowns were even bigger on Friday night. He helped the Eagles punch right back during a third-quarter scoring frenzy. Bellevue cut Fairview’s lead to 43-42 with 3:32 left in the third, but Dolen found the end zone just 19 seconds later for his second score.
Rowan County’s Isaac Lee sped for 240 yards on 15 carries. He added a TD in the Vikings’ victory over Fleming County.
Daniels recorded 79 yards on six receptions, 45 yards on six carries, two rushing touchdowns, a pair of two-point conversions and 15 tackles. One of those two TDs was a game winner as the Tigers beat Shelby Valley, 44-38, in overtime.
Three: A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County), Isaiah King (Fairview), Daylin Beach (Raceland), Drew O'Bryan (Ashland), Braden Brown (West Carter), Kent Phelps (Paintsville).
Two: Billy McCoy (Boyd County), Nick Conley (Russell), Adam Elkins (Raceland), Connor Messer (Raceland), Rusty Wells (Greenup County), Derek Ferguson (Lawrence County), Cole McClain (East Carter).
One: Hunter Prince (Ashland), Jason Smith (Boyd County), Noah Lambert (Rowan County), Jordan McCann (Lewis County), Cody Tackett (Boyd County), Armonde Yetts (Fairview), Logan Thovson (Fairview), Kane Snyder (Raceland), Patrick Soucy (Russell), Tyler Mustard (Lewis County), Jordan Ratcliff (East Carter).
1. Johnson Central (3-0)
2. Fairview (3-0)
3. Ashland (2-2)
4. Raceland (3-1)
5. Lawrence County (3-1)
6. Paintsville (3-1)
7. Lewis County (3-0)
Did you miss it? The following are local scores from the*xz weekend: Ashland 7, Russell 6; Raceland 55, Greenup County 18; Fairview 62, Bellevue 50; South Point 23, Boyd County 19; Johnson Central 53, Perry County Central 7; Lawrence County 48, Breathitt County 26; Rowan County 44, Fleming County 29; West Carter 30, Morgan County 25; Lewis County 36, Nicholas County 0; Paintsville 44, Shelby Valley 38; Ironton 14, Amanda-Clearcreek 7, East Carter 38, Bath County 21.
Tweet the QB
Follow the Quarterback on Twitter (@DindependentQB) for local scores and sports news.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
What makes the NFL so stinkin’ popular?
- Local Sports
Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)
The Fleming County Panthers waited nearly an hour to ascend the ladders set up under the goals at Ellis T. Johnson Arena on Tuesday night.
To the victor belongs the spoils, which traditionally includes the nets after winning a tournament title. But Fleming County milled around on Morehead State’s floor taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere after handling Ashland 82-59 in the 16th Region Tournament final.
Snipping the twine was almost an afterthought. In fact, except for a minute or so of celebration with their student section immediately following the final buzzer, the Panthers didn’t really even seem all that excited.
They expected to be here, and they were all business after earning back-to-back region titles and trips to Rupp Arena.
AARON SNYDER: Truth or Dare unkind to ’Cats
Ashland was left feeling like the shy kid after an intense game of Truth or Dare.
Truth: Fleming County outrebounded Ashland, 39-24, after Ashland outdueled Greenup County by 10 the night before.
'Relaxed' Steward earns MVP award
Both Fleming County coach Mark Starns and stellar senior Troy Steward attributed his significant strides this season to aggressiveness.
Playing a part, too, in Steward earning the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player award was the lack of nerves, which were nearly overwhelming at times a year ago.
Central's 15th Region reign continues
Once was good.
Twice was nice.
Three was sweet for the Johnson Central Eagles.
Senior Slade McPeek scored 22 points and earned most valuable player honors Tuesday night as Johnson Central rolled past Shelby Valley, 81-56, for its third straight 15th Region championship at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
- Fleming goes for two: Panthers beat Ashland for 16th Region repeat Fleming County pulled away early and never looked back as the Panthers pounced on Ashland, winning 82-59 in the 16th Region championship game on Tuesday in Morehead. Fleming County will face Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen next Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
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.”
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)