Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 6, 2013

KYLE HOBSTETTER: Athletic quarterbacks ignite area

Kyle Hobstetter
The Independent

ASHLAND — The game of football has changed over the years. In years past, the best athlete is usually in the backfield getting a handoff. Now it seems like the best athlete on the field is the guy taking the snaps.

As the game continues to get faster, and offenses become more spread out, teams are looking to find more athleticism at the quarterback position.

From the RG3s in the NFL to the Johnny Manziels in college football, quarterbacks are being depended upon more and more to make things happen with their feet.

It’s even becoming commonplace in high school football in our area.

West Carter quarterback Braden Brown set a school record last week, rushing for 323 yards for the Comets.

Lawrence County is led by quarterback A.J. Cyrus, who has helped the Bulldogs gain more than 1,000 yards of total offense in just two games.

Ashland’s Hunter Prince had three rushing touchdowns, including the pivotal one in overtime to set up the winning two-point conversion. Prince also had two passing touchdowns, accounting for all five Tomcat TDs in the overtime win over Raceland.

Coaches are also becoming more willing to position a non-quarterback behind center for a particular play.

The perfect example of this was when Fairview had running back Tanner Dolen take a direct snap against East Carter last week. The play resulted in a 35-yard touchdown for the sophomore.

Yes, running backs will always have their place on the football field, but seeing athletic quarterbacks get a chance to shine in an area historically dominated by running backs is refreshing.

Game of the Week

‰Fairview at Lawrence County. Lawrence County will get its first test of the season when the Eagles come to town tonight.

Fairview has a lot of weapons, including stud running backs Dolen and Isaiah King.

But this is also the first tough test for a young Fairview team that lost a core group of seniors who led the Eagles offense to breaking the state’s single-season rushing record a year ago.

The Bulldogs have 1,000-plus yards rushing in the first two games, and quarterback Cyrus or fullback Ricky Goble can break a big play at any moment.

Look for this game to come down to whose defense can come up with some key stops.

Audibles

‰George Washington at Ashland is a pretty darn good game too. After last week’s overtime win against Raceland, Ashland will be riding a lot of emotion heading into tonight’s game at Putnam Stadium.

Ashland will see a lot of different looks — the Patriots had three 100-yard rushers in their season-opening 34-27 win over South Charleston last week.

In the first two meetings of the series, the visiting team has come out the victor. Another interesting fact is that each game was decided by a TD or less.

‰Ryan Byrd could lead Greenup County to the playoffs. While the Musketeers haven’t won a game yet, they have looked better than they have in three years.

Leading the way is Byrd, a sophomore halfback who has had two 100-yard rushing performances already this season.

Greenup County will get in the win column this season, and don’t be surprised if Byrd is the reason this team is playing in the postseason come November.

‰Russell can leave Ironton with a win ... finally. Ironton is down this year if you couldn’t tell by the shellacking it took against Wheelersburg last week.

And while Russell is also young this season, it seems the Red Devils have found the playmakers to carry them.

If Nick Conley and Bronson Korzep find their footing tonight, Russell could do something it hasn’t done in 36 years: Beat Ironton.

Into the airwaves

Tonight’s radio coverage:


George Washington at Ashland (WBVB 97.1-FM); Russell at Ironton (WLGC 105.7 FM, WIRO 1230 AM); Greenup County at Fleming County (wlgcradio.com); Fairview at Lawrence County (wlgcradio.com, WZAQ 92.3-FM); Rowan County at Mason County (WMOR 106.1-FM); Nicholas County at West Carter (WUGO 99.7-FM); Bath County at Lewis County (WKKS 104.9-FM).

Saturday night:

Raceland at Boyd County (WLGC 105.7-FM).

Shameless Plug

Stay up to date on all area sports news and my awesome cooking skills — I set my kitchen on fire this week (don’t ask) — by following me on Twitter (@KHobstetter). Also follow @DIndependentQB for more area news along with his views on the new Dancing with the Stars cast.