Extra stress of the be-careful-what-you-wish-for variety notwithstanding, Zack Moore got what he wanted on Friday night.
“We need some adversity,” Greenup County’s coach said. “That’s one thing I think our program in the last couple years has lacked, is that when we hit some adversity, we haven’t responded real well.”
At about the same time the Musketeers entered overtime against Montgomery County, across the county, Russell did the same against Simon Kenton.
“It’s good to put your guys in that (situation) and have them tested,” Red Devils coach T.J. Maynard said, “see how they respond.”
For Moore and Maynard, it was happy and historic. Greenup County got past Montgomery County, 21-14, and Russell edged Simon Kenton, 32-31.
And according to the KHSAA website, Friday was the first night since at least 1998 (as far back as comprehensive online KHSAA records date) that there were two overtime games in the same county on the same night in northeastern Kentucky.
The Musketeers and Red Devils each did it with largely untested sophomores playing a key role in the outcome.
Noah Nichols was playing his “first meaningful varsity reps,” Moore said, for Greenup County up front when he teamed with Brady Clevenger to make the game-ending tackle. Nichols earned more playing time as the Musketeers’ coaches realized they needed to spread clock around to establish depth to be fresh at the end of games.
“To find a way there at the end to hold (Montgomery County) out on fourth-and-goal, that’s a big deal for an inexperienced team,” Moore said.
At Russell, the Pioneers got the ball first in the extra session, scored immediately and kicked an extra point. Nathan Conley replied with a TD for the Red Devils, and Maynard elected to win or lose right there by going for two. Tenth-grader Ethan Oborne caught Charlie Jachimczuk’s pass to lift the Red Devils.
Like Nichols, Oborne earned more touches and more clock based on his effort a week earlier.
“That’s where we’re a little bit different than in years past,” Maynard said. “We might have had one guy or two guys that were getting the bulk of the touches, but now we have multiple guys.”
Simon Kenton routinely makes deep postseason runs, having won at least two playoff games in Class 6A in eight straight seasons.
“We know that northern Kentucky plays a great brand of football, but we feel like in northeastern Kentucky, we got teams that play good football, too,” Maynard said. “We talked to the kids before the game about earning respect, not only in the area but downstate.”
• East Carter didn’t score in its first six quarters of the season. In the next eight quarters, plus one overtime session, the Raiders piled up 142 points.
“Well, that’s good,” East Carter coach Tim Champlin said after hearing that statistic.
The Raiders knew they would need some time to get acclimated after having to replace the school’s all-time leading passer, four of last year’s top six receivers and their leading rusher from 2019.
If the 36 points East Carter put up in the second half and OT against Fleming County, the 36 it tallied in three quarters against Tolsia (West Virginia) and the school-record 70 the Raiders hung on Betsy Layne on Thursday in three quarters before the running clock set in are any indication, they’re progressing.
“It was a learning process,” Champlin said. “We’re gonna get better each and every week. We have to, and we’re gonna add things as we go on and try to improve. Our guys have taken on the identity of our team now.”
Senior back Jacob Underwood has led that charge, Champlin said, in an evolution from a perimeter-bound speedster into a running back. East Carter called only runs between the tackles for Underwood against the Bobcats, Champlin said, and he turned in 293 yards and five touchdowns on 16 carries. Underwood has eight TDs and 592 rushing yards through four games.
“Adding (interior running) to his game has really opened up who he is and allowed him to be more of a dynamic runner for us, rather than just being a sweep guy,” Champlin said.
• Johnson Central’s 49-6 victory at Clay County on Friday night was the 300th win for a Jim Matney-coached team.
Matney is in his 37th season as a head coach, the first 20 of which he spent at Sheldon Clark. Since four losing seasons in his first six years in Inez, Matney only has one sub-.500 campaign and none with the Golden Eagles.
Johnson Central under Matney has been especially dominant in district games. Friday’s victory over the Tigers in Manchester was the Golden Eagles’ 69th victory in their last 72 district outings.
• A detour for Ironton in its league-only schedule on Friday helped it find more than just speedbumps.
The Fighting Tigers were unable to complete their Ohio Valley Conference slate when South Point couldn’t go due to a COVID-19 scare. So Ironton put out the word on Twitter on Thursday afternoon it was looking for a replacement. Thirty minutes later, Ironton announced Sycamore, a Division I opponent from Cincinnati, was coming to town, and the Fighting Tigers pulled away from a 6-3 halftime lead to top the Aviators, 33-11.
Sycamore dropped to 1-5 with the loss, but considering its other setbacks came to a who’s who of Princeton, Lakota West, Mason and Colerain, call it a worthwhile experience and a much-needed test for Ironton in its last game before the postseason begins. No disrespect to anyone else in the OVC, but the Aviators gave the Fighting Tigers something they hadn’t had all season: a realistically competitive game.
Four: Leetavious Cline (West Carter). Five more touchdowns and 262 more yards on Friday night continued to reinforce Cline’s compelling case for best player in Class 2A, District 8 and perhaps beyond.
Keontae Pittman (Ashland). His four touchdowns and 145 yards on 13 carries helped lift the Tomcats to a decisive win at Raceland.
Jacob Underwood (East Carter). The Raiders’ scatback isn’t just a scatback anymore. Five touchdowns and 293 yards Thursday night showed that.
Three: Reid Carrico (Ironton), Dylan Ferguson (Lawrence County), JT Garrett (Ashland), Alex Strickland (Lawrence County), Cole Wallace (Rowan County).
Two: Tayden Carpenter (Ironton), Trevor Carter (Ironton), Nathan Conley (Russell), Zeke Conn (Fleming County), Levi Denton (Fleming County), Jordan Everman (Bath County), Quintan Farrow (Greenup County), Charlie Jachimczuk (Russell), Brett Mullins (Ashland), Orry Perry (West Carter), Harris Phelps (Paintsville), Dylan Preston (Johnson Central), Payton Roark (Fleming County), Logan Staten (Boyd County), Carter Stephens (Boyd County), Charlie Terry (East Carter).
One: Cole Blevins (Fairview), Isaac Boggs (East Carter), Isaac Bond (West Carter), Arian Brown (Rowan County), Auston Clarkson (Greenup County), Brady Clevenger (Greenup County), Cole Crampton (West Carter), Jacob Easton (Bath County), Parker Fannin (Raceland), Blue Fletcher (Lawrence County), Parker Gallion (Raceland), Dylan Hardy (Lewis County), Carter Hart (Bath County), Jake Heighton (Raceland), Conner Hughes (Raceland), Jake Hyden (Paintsville), Tanner Johnson (Fairview), Jacob Kelley (Boyd County), Kanyon Kozee (East Carter), Mason Lawson (Johnson Central), Mason Lovely (Paintsville), Joe Lusby (Boyd County), Mason Lykins (Russell), Nathan Marsillett (Paintsville), Blake McGlone (West Carter), Andrew Miller (Rowan County), Doug Oborne (Russell), Ethan Oborne (Russell), Hunter Ousley (Paintsville), Chase Price (Johnson Central), Tristian Rayburn (Ashland), Dylan Roe (West Carter), Mason Sammons (Greenup County), Gracin Smith (Fairview), Toby Spriggs (Johnson Central), Caleb Tackett (Ashland), Zach Thompson (Paintsville), Tanner Weaver (Fleming County), Boyd County defensive front seven, East Carter offensive line.
Didn’t report statistics: Morgan County.
Don’t forget to check out Halftime Prep Talk later this week at dailyindependent.com or on the “Halftime Prep Talk” Facebook page. We visited West Carter last week to check in with the high-flying Comets. And “Eleventh Hour,” a recap of the night’s events, will emanate live on Friday night on The Daily Independent’s Facebook page at or around 11 p.m.
Reach ZACK KLEMME at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2658. Follow @zklemmeADI on Twitter.