Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

October 18, 2013

KYLE HOBSTETTER: Byrd's super season comes to early end

ASHLAND — Tonight’s game between Ashland and Greenup County was supposed to be a battle of two of the top young running backs in the area.

Instead it is now a showcase for the unbelievable bad luck for the Musketeers.

According to Greenup County coach Chris Mullins, sophomore running back Ryan Byrd will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

The injury happened last week on the first play of the game against Johnson Central.

Byrd was having a fantastic season, having rushed for more than 1,000 yards already.

“It’s very disappointing and I just hate it for him,” Mullins said. “He depended a lot on his run because he has incredible vision and is great at breaking tackles. We’re going to have to find someone to make those big plays. Ryan had taken the bull by the horns and had been doing it all year.”

With Byrd out, only half of the marquee sophomore running back matchup will be on display with Ashland’s Quinton Baker.

Along with Byrd, Baker is the only other player in the area who has rushed for 1,000 yards this season.

The key to stopping Baker, according to Mullins, is ... well he’s still working out a game plan for that.

“He’s going to be a big part of the game plan,” Mullins said. “It’s one of those things, though, where when he’s part of a game plan, he’s still performing and still putting numbers up. If he gets any space at all, you will get embarrassed.”

With Byrd out, Greenup County will try to match Baker with running backs Matt Lawson and Jeffery Williams, who is returning from injury. 

Picking up a win at Putnam Stadium would be huge for the Musketeers. If they pull off the upset tonight and defeat Boyd County next week, they could finish tied for second in the district.

“We’ve really preached this all week,” Mullins said. “We may have home playoff game. As far as seeding goes, there could be a two- or three-way tie. It’s a big selling point to go down there and win this game and end up getting a chance at a home playoff.

“A win could be huge for our program.”

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