Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 5, 2012

MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: Making best out of it in playoffs

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — It’s playoff time. One slip, and you’re out. Gone into the empty months that lie ahead.

 So, what does a team that suffered three year-ending injuries to three running backs this season do?

Surprisingly enough, it runs.

What does a senior defensive captain who’s frustratingly been part of a defense allowing 36 points a game do?

He takes it upon himself to not let it happen again.

What do heavy favorites facing helpless opponents do?

They score and scoot, meaning, they let their starters do quick damage and rush them to the sidelines to avoid unnecessary risks to injury.

Those are three questions the QB saw answered thoroughly this past weekend.

Ashland, which lost tailbacks Cody Watts, Jeremy Jackson and Quinton Baker throughout the course of the season, piled up a staggering 50 carries for 341 yards, the Tomcats’ third-highest output of the season. Malik Massey (155) and Aaron Elam (145) led the way.

Can someone please check Jordan Wellman’s birth certificate?! (Google “James Nash, Mt. Pleasant High School”).

I’m just joking, but Wellman looked like a man among boys during his Lawrence County Bulldogs’ 22-14 win over Morgan County on Friday.

The senior linebacker with curly red locks tallied 35 tackles (14 solo), likely a school record, and a forced fumble.

Wellman had 80 tackles in eight games during the regular season. He was All-State Honorable Mention as a junior in 2011.

Fairview, Johnson Central and Raceland each made those watching feel sorry for its opposition. The Eagles, Golden Eagles and Rams scored 69, 68 and 60 points despite limited action by regular players.

Also, there was the case of Fleming County and Bath County, when a coach was forced to live with a decision which would follow him, for better or worse, all offseason. Read further for details about a chaotic finish.



Looking Ahead

While some are anxiously anticipating the season premiere of the Monday Morning Point Guard — you’ll have to wait until Monday, Nov. 26, by the way — several teams still have unfinished football business to attend to.

Here’s a glance at this week’s matchups for area teams:

Ashland (9-2) at Highlands (10-1): Everyone knows Highland’s resume by now. Ashland’s last win over the Bluebirds came in 1954. Tomcats coach Leon Hart was 3 years old.

Covington Catholic (8-3) at Johnson Central (9-2): This familiar postseason matchup has happened four of the past six seasons. Central won three of them. The Golden Eagles and Colonels absolutely poured it on their opening round opponents, scoring 68 and 67, respectively.

Lawrence County (5-6) at Belfry (9-2): In the regular season meeting, Belfry running back Trenity Carr gave the Bulldogs fits. He had 169 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries during Belfry’s 41-6 win.

Nicholas County (7-4) at Fairview (11-0): The Bluejackets came into Westwood and gave the Eagles a bit of a scare a year ago. Mostly due to the play of Chris Brewer, Fairview advanced to its second consecutive regional championship. It’s looking for No. 3.

Raceland (9-2) at Pikeville (6-5): Pikeville is on a five-game winning streak, but that’s mostly due to a weak district. The Rams won this regular season meeting, 54-14, but it was at home.

Ironton (7-3) vs. Johnstown Monroe (9-2), at Athens, Ohio: Ironton’s three losses came in succession against teams with a combined record of 27-6. The Fighting Tigers hope their tough schedule pays off.



Wide Right

Did you miss it? The following are first round playoff scores from this past weekend: Ashland 41, Holmes 14; Garrard County 12, Russell 7; Highlands 56, Boyd County 14; Fairview 69, Phelps 0; Raceland 60, Allen Central 0; Lawrence County 22, Morgan County 14; Pikeville 63, Paintsville 24; Johnson Central 68, Harrison County 14; Bourbon County 56, Lewis County 12; Covington Catholic 67, Rowan County 3.



Tweet the QB

Follow the Quarterback on Twitter, @DindependentQB, for playoff scores on Friday nights and news throughout the week. Contrary to what my “Extra Points” friend Kyle Hobstetter wrote, there will be no tweets about Ross Perot. I’m actually more of a Ralph Nader guy. There’s no party like a Green Party! As for Tuesday’s election, why not go with Independent candidate Stephen Rollins?



Middle Ground

Johnson County Middle School captured the seventh grade state middle school football championship while Raceland Middle School finished second in the eighth-grade division on Sunday.

Johnson County downed Bowling Green Middle School 20-8 in the championship game at Lexington Catholic High School.

Butler County Middle School denied the Rams’ bid for a title, winning 44-8. Raceland drove for a touchdown and 8-0 on the game’s opening possession but Butler County dominated from there behind star Rex Henderson.



Noteworthy

On a playoff weekend chock full of first round stinkers, Fleming County and Bath County locked up in a barnburner.

Fleming County held a seemingly comfortable 29-0 lead at halftime only to see the Wildcats storm back to seize a 36-29 lead with three minutes to go.

Despite the remarkable rally against them, the Panthers weren’t lifeless.

According to the Maysville Ledger-Independent, Fleming County quarterback Desmond McAdams found Maverick Burnett for a 7-yard touchdown, leaving Panthers coach Bill Spencer the decision of whether to go for the win via a two-point conversion or try to tie it up with the extra point.

As it turned out, he made the decision long before the final seconds.

“On the road you go for two,” Spencer told the newspaper. “Really, we didn’t even discuss it ...

“... We got lucky and we got it.”

The Panthers went to their go-to combination, McAdams-to-Burnett, for the game-winning conversion in a 37-36 victory.

Fleming County travels to Mason County this Friday.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.