CANNONSBURG History makers don’t have time to relish the moment while they are adding a new chapter to their program’s legacy.
East Carter won 11 games for just the second time in school history in 2021. The Raiders have only reached the double-digit plateau twice, the first coming in 1989.
East Carter running back Charlie Terry has had time to put the gridiron success into perspective.
“It was pretty amazing after what we were able to do this year,” Terry said. “We made history. The hard work that we have put in this season has really paid off. I love all these guys and I will miss playing with them.”
“We are now at the point where we can sit back and enjoy it,” Raiders coach Tim Champlin added. “I think about what this team has accomplished. It’s been really fun and an enjoyable ride. We have great players and great coaches. It was great to experience that with them.”
Steve Womack Field kept buzzing during the month of November as the Raiders played four straight postseason games on their home turf. East Carter claimed a district title for first time in 38 years and added more hardware a week later with the program’s first region championship.
“You have to run the football at any level,” Champlin said. “It’s something that we’ve really leaned on. We have found something that fit our kids and the type of kid we will continually have in our program.
“All of our coaches bought in to that philosophy and learned as much as we could to teach our kids,” he continued. “Our coaches have done a phenomenal job. We’ve had great players that come in and work hard and do everything that you ask of them.”
The Raiders flourished in the ground game behind the hard-nosed running of Terry. The senior posted 1,959 rushing yards and scored 35 touchdowns. He led Class 3A in end-zone trips and was second to Belfry’s Isaac Dixon in yardage.
Terry and Champlin were named The Daily Independent’s Large School All-Area Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the newspaper’s sports staff.
Terry gave the credit to his teammates up front.
“I was able to get more touches this year,” Terry said after the All-Area photo shoot at Boyd County. “I started getting more carries at the end of last season and I was able to show the coaches what I could do. Our offensive line really has improved this year. It was probably the biggest key to our success and my success running the ball this season.”
Terry was joined on the team by teammates Connor Goodman (wide receiver), who caught 41 balls for 751 yards and four touchdowns, and Mikey Holbrook and Bryson Kiser (offensive linemen).
Izack Messer (defensive back), Isaac Boggs (defensive back) and Nikk Barnett (linebacker) combined for 199 tackles. Messer also supplied four sacks. Kanyon Kozee grabbed four interceptions and a touchdown in the Raiders defensive backfield.
Champlin said his team feeds on Terry’s work ethic and leadership.
“He’s a kid that I have enjoyed having around the program,” Champlin said. “He knows when to have fun and knows when to be serious. He’s not a guy that will yell and scream. He is a guy that is just going to work hard. During baseball season, he was dragging kids to the weight room. He made sure the entire team is getting better. He wants to be great, but more importantly. he wants the whole team to be great.”
Terry said the Raiders were motivated after an early-season loss to rival West Carter. East Carter won eight of its next nine games, averaging 36 points every Friday night during the stretch.
The ride culminated with eight-time state champion Belfry playing in Grayson in the state semifinals. Fans filled the Raiders’ home field. They even camped out on the hillside next to the school.
The night showed the payoff for the program’s perseverance.
“Coach Champlin has really built a solid program here,” Terry said. “He’s got a lot of young kids involved in the youth league. He’s doing great things for East Carter.
“It was the best atmosphere I have ever seen,” he added about the state semifinal game. “We scored first in that game and the crowd was going crazy. Our fans showed up all year long and really supported us. We are really grateful for that.”
Johnson Central placed 10 players on the All-Area team after reaching its sixth state final in seven years. Quarterback Grant Rice (567 rushing yards, 12 TDs) and the entire Golden Eagles backfield earned the honor.
Freshman Zack McCoart tallied 1,287 rushing yards and fullback Chase Price added 834. Matt Crum was named to the team as an all-purpose player with 806 yards on the ground. The trio combined for 42 touchdowns.
Kentucky signee Grant Bingham, Owen LeMaster and Chris Meek provided running lanes for the Johnson Central backs. They were joined on the All-Area offensive line by Ashland’s Zane Christian and Blake Messer and Rowan County’s Blake Perry.
Mason LeMaster led the Golden Eagles with 120 tackles. The linebacker was joined by Johnson Central defenders Jesse McCoy (defensive line), Jacob Cain and Ryleh McKenzie (defensive backs).
Cain amassed 65 tackles and McCoy recorded five sacks.
All-Area quarterbacks Greenup County’s Tyson Sammons and Ashland’s Bailey Thacker excelled in their first varsity season under center.
Vinincio Palladino brought physicality to the Tomcats’ backfield. He collected 1,193 yards and 15 TDs. Rowan County’s Cole Wallace returned for another senior season and racked up 1,795 yards and found the end zone 17 times.
Ashland’s Ricky Padron (642 receiving yards), Rowan County’s Landin Raines (364 yards) and Boyd County’s Josh Thornton (291 yards) rounded out the All-Area receiving corps.
Ashland’s Jordon Jones and Ethan Ratliff, Rowan County’s Byron May and Greenup County’s Mason Sammons was selected on the defensive line.
Jones and Ratliff each contributed 45 tackles and the duo sacked the quarterback a total of 11 times.
May totaled 74 total tackles—20.5 for loss—and added 15.5 sacks. Sammons had seven of his 42 tackles result in a loss for Musketeer opponents.
Rowan County placed two linebackers on the All-Area team. Rocky Miller led the Vikings in tackles with 118. Arian Brown added 105. They combined for 24.5 tackles for loss.
Ashland’s Isaiah Ingram and Boyd County’s Dakota Thompson made the team at the linebacker position. Ingram was the top Tomcat tackler with 83. He also recorded three sacks. Thompson guided the Lions defense with 56 tackles and three interceptions.
Ashland’s Brett Mullins and Boyd County’s Jacob Meade complete the All-Area defensive backs. Mullins tallied 40 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Meade led the Lions with 73 tackles.
Ashland’s SJ Lycans was selected All-Area kicker after a near-perfect performance this season. He made all of his 38 PAT attempts and split the uprights on five of his six field goal tries.
Rowan County’s Chase Alderman split his time between the pitch and the gridiron. He was voted onto the team as a punter.
The All-Area team was comprised by coaches’ vote.
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2021 THE DAILY INDEPENDENT ALL-AREA LARGE-SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM
Grant Rice (Johnson Central)
Tyson Sammons (Greenup County)
Bailey Thacker (Ashland)
Zack McCoart (Johnson Central)
Vinincio Palladino (Ashland)
Chase Price (Johnson Central)
Charlie Terry (East Carter)
Cole Wallace (Rowan County)
Connor Goodman (East Carter)
Ricky Padron (Ashland)
Landin Raines (Rowan County)
Josh Thornton (Boyd County)
Grant Bingham (Johnson Central)
Zane Christian (Ashland)
Mikey Holbrook (East Carter)
Bryson Kiser (East Carter)
Owen LeMaster (Johnson Central)
Chris Meek (Johnson Central)
Blake Messer (Ashland)
Blake Perry (Rowan County)
SJ Lycans (Ashland)
Matt Crum (Johnson Central)
Jordon Jones (Ashland)
Byron May (Rowan County)
Jesse McCoy (Johnson Central)
Izack Messer (East Carter)
Ethan Ratliff (Ashland)
Mason Sammons (Greenup County)
Nikk Barnett (East Carter)
Arian Brown (Rowan County)
Isaiah Ingram (Ashland)
Mason LeMaster (Johnson Central)
Rocky Miller (Rowan County)
Dakota Thompson (Boyd County)
Isaac Boggs (East Carter)
Jacob Cain (Johnson Central)
Kanyon Kozee (East Carter)
Ryleh McKenzie (Johnson Central)
Jacob Meade (Boyd County)
Brett Mullins (Ashland)
Chase Alderman (Rowan County)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Charlie Terry (East Carter)
COACH OF THE YEAR
Tim Champlin (East Carter)
Honorable mention: Eric Billips (Ashland), Andrew Burchett (Johnson Central), Cole Christian (Ashland), Camaron Collins (Boyd County), Sawyer Edens (Ashland), Trey Holbrook (Boyd County), Terell Jordan (Ashland), Aris Pittman (Ashland), Garron Castle (East Carter), Ian Justice (Ashland), Connor Lykins (Greenup County), Skylar McCormick (East Carter), Keygan Pelfrey (Johnson Central), Brayden Price (Johnson Central), Jacob Sexton (Ashland), Skyeler Tallent (Boyd County), Cole Thompson (Boyd County), Zack Watson (Rowan County), Dalton Williams (Rowan County), Dylan Yoak (East Carter)