I tried to fight it, but couldn't.
Oxygen stirred about the sidelines of Putnam Stadium. My mouth muscles could not hold my lips together any longer.
I yawned. Then I felt bad.
Russell didn't deserve that kind of response from the QB.
But when the loudest cheer from the crowd sounds as a result of an 11-yard pass for a first down, there isn't exactly a ton of pulse-pounding moments happening for that team on that particular night.
It was a clear mismatch most of the evening as the Red Devils averaged a meager 2.3 yards per offensive play while achieving four first downs.
Russell's offense isn't that bad, but Ashland's defense may just be that good.
Tomcats defensive end Cade O’Bryan performed his closest impersonation of the New York Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul, as he swam past Russell's sizable offensive line fluidly and frequently.
Teammates Slater Swift, Luke Johnson, Josh Ellis, Trace Armstrong and Evan Yongue were extremely impressive as well. The 'Cats were flying to Russell quarterback Lance Evans in near synchronization with the ball from the center.
O'Bryan's comments summed it up best.
“We had not put a whole defensive game together, but we did tonight,” O’Bryan said after his team’s 47-7 win.
He’s right. The Tomcats had been waiting until the second half to firmly bottle up opponents — they blanked both Raceland and George Washington in the second halves of those contests.
The complete effort has to please coaches, but what would please them even more? A victory at Ironton this Friday.
The last time Ashland and Ironton met as two undefeated teams was in 2010, and that was an outcome the Tomcats want to forever forget.
Got any since?
‰Ashland has not given up more than 20 points in a regular season game since ... 2010, Week 8. That’s a string of 16 regular-season contests in which the defense stayed under that measuring-stick number, which matches a similar streak accomplished from 1974 to 1976.
The Tomcats tallied 15 straight regular season games of allowing 20 points or fewer from 1989-91.
‰Lawrence County had not played in two one-point games in one season since ... 1988. In the Dawgs’ current case, it’s occurred in back-to-back weeks, which is amazing. But in ’88, Billy Goldsmith’s Bulldogs lost to Raceland 15-14 and a few weeks later beat Paintsville 13-12.
‰Boyd County hasn’t beaten Russell since ... 2005. The Red Devils have taken six straight in the series by an average of 19 points. They meet Friday.
‰Four stickers: Ashland defense, Justin Graham (Rowan County), Quinton Baker (Ashland).
It’s hard to single out players, so all Tomcats who played significant time on defense deserve four of 'em.
Justin Graham led his team nicely in a telling 55-49 defeat of Fleming County. The sophomore ran for five touchdowns and threw for one.
Quinton Baker needs to be careful. He's quickly setting the bar too high early in his career. Twenty-three carries for 227 yards and three TDs isn't a typical freshman line. Even in a freshman game.
‰Three: Chris Baker (Rowan County), Adam Elkins (Raceland), Blake Prince (Lawrence County).
‰Two: Googie Hayes (Russell), Daylin Beach (Raceland), Malik Massey (Ashland), Connor Messer (Raceland).
‰One: John Valencourt (Raceland), Chase Steele (East Carter), Kyle Grubb (Greenup County), Morgan O'Brian (Lawrence County).
NOTE: No statistics were reported on West Carter or Lewis County from Week 4.
The QB is contemplating the adoption of Morgan County as an “area” team. While West Liberty is just outside our circulation, the Cougars’ story of resilience is moving. And they're a pretty darn good football team. If they were included here, they'd be in the top five.
Lawrence County, because of its near knock-off of Perry County Central, bumps Russell this week, but barely.
1. Ashland (4-0)
2. Johnson Central (2-1)
3. Raceland (3-1)
4. Fairview (3-0)
5. Rowan County (2-2)
6. Boyd County (2-1)
7. Lawrence County (2-2)
Fairview senior running back Devon Turner has been selected to compete in the Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic at Raymond James Stadium on at 8 p.m. Jan. 12.
Turner will play for the South squad as he was one of 90 seniors chosen from more than 4,200 players who competed at regional combines this summer.
Bryan Prince was our Lucky Fan No. 4, as he pegged the QB’s question last week.
Prince was able to pick games with us, and he did quite well, going 8-1 in high school predictions.
Last week: Two northeastern Kentucky schools have won six consecutive first-round playoff games. Name them.
Answer: Johnson Central and Raceland.
This week’s question: Ashland and Ironton have played in six one-point games against one another. How many of those have the Tomcats won?
The first person to correctly answer the question (phone, email, Twitter or “The Independent” Facebook page) will be Lucky Fan 5 and will be able to pick games with the staff this week.
Did you miss it? Here are area scores from this past weekend: Ashland 47, Russell 7; Bath County 28, East Carter 7; Raceland 59, Greenup County 15; Ironton 14, Gallia Academy 13; Lewis County 28, Powell County 7; Rowan County 55, Fleming County 49; Perry County Central 50, Lawrence County 49; Magoffin County 28, West Carter 26; Jenkins 28, Paintsville 22; Morgan County 54, Pendleton County 12.
Tweet the QB
Follow the Quarterback on Twitter, @DindependentQB, for score updates on Friday nights and news throughout the week.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.
I tried to fight it, but couldn't.
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Two bunts and a swinging bunt helped the Lady Musketeers scratch across three runs in the fifth inning of a 6-2 victory over Raceland in the 63rd District Tournament opening round on Monday night at Russell High School. Top-seeded Russell defeated Lewis County, also 6-2, earlier in the evening.
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