“Q” is becoming a master of drawing O’s all over the football field.
Ashland freshman running back Quinton Baker spun circles around Rowan County tacklers on his way to four touchdowns in a Tomcats blowout of the Vikings on Friday night at Putnam Stadium.
The scoreboard reading “48-0” painted about as pretty a picture as Ashland coach Leon Hart could have drawn up to open Class 4A, District 8 play.
“We didn’t have a good week of practice,” Hart admitted. “It was almost like we were going through the motions all week. But you really couldn’t tell (tonight). I bet when we look at the film we’ll find very few missed assignments.”
Ashland (5-1) rediscovered the ball-hawking team that it was the first three weeks of the season.
Following two straight games without a takeaway, the Tomcats came up with a grand total of five of them on Friday — three fumbles (recovered by Shannon Justice, Cade O’Bryan and Miles McGranahan) and two interceptions (Braxton Harshaw, McGranahan). Three of them gave Ashland excellent field position in Rowan County territory.
Baker danced his way to the end zone three times in the first quarter to help Ashland to a 20-0 lead.
“Our offensive line did a good job of creating holes for Quinton, but if we missed somebody, he made them miss,” Hart said. “The kid knows how to find the end zone.”
Baker went in from five, 14 and 14 yards out in the first period.
Perhaps the most impressive move of the night came on Baker’s second TD. A couple Vikings got their hands on him for what looked like a sure tackle, but the 14-year-old hit the spin button again, maneuvering out of their grips as if he was a character in Madden 13.
The first quarter wasn’t all about Baker, though, as plenty of Tomcats got involved to create an insurmountable deficit for Rowan County.
Tristan Malloy delivered a hit on Chris Baker that popped the helmet off the speedy Viking running back; O’Bryan and Justice wreaked havoc on quarterback Justin Graham in the backfield; and Aaron Elam started his night off right.
Elam finished 4 of 7 for 57 yards, with three completions going the way of Logan Salow. He also connected with Baker on a two-point conversion.
“That’s as well as I’ve seen (Elam) throw it,” Hart said. “We gave him more flexibility this week, like we did with (graduated star quarterback Sam Hunter). Now, he had a much better week of practice, and it was evident out there tonight.”
Rowan County (2-4) had some success moving the ball. Graham, hobbled by an ankle injury, hit Zack Taylor for a couple 25-plus yard passes. And he found Carson Plank for a pair of nice completions.
However, Rowan County never achieved offensive rhythm, mainly because of Ashland’s dominance up front.
The VIkings tried to run 5-foot-10, 290-pound Keontae Moore up the middle several times in the early going, but the Tomcats limited the big back to 46 yards on 12 carries.
Then they attempted to stretch the field with Baker and Graham, but the two combined for 29 yards on 17 total rushes.
“Our defensive tackles and linebackers were responsible for stopping the inside run game, and they did a nice job,” Hart said.
Ashland’s run game continued to work fluidly, as Baker was able to rest a bit. He tallied 16 carries for 111 yards, which was the fewest amount of attempts he’s had since Week 2 against Raceland.
Jeremy Jackson, who Hart said gives Ashland “an added speed dimension,” motored his way to 51 yards on eight attempts to go with a TD.
Ashland blew a 26-0 halftime lead open to a 34-0 advantage on Baker’s fourth touchdown, a one-yard burst setting the stage for his two-point completion from Elam.
After Rowan County’s fourth turnover on downs — one was a blocked field goal — Elam scampered 15 yards for a score. He then found Salow for the two-pointer to make it 42-0.
Tyler Sutton came in and racked up 59 yards on six carries and lifted the Tomcats to a 48-0 lead on a 4-yard TD run with 8:52 to go.
Rowan County’s final possession ended with McGranahan’s interception.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
“Q” is becoming a master of drawing O’s all over the football field.
- Local Sports
63rd softball: Greenup leans on bunting, baserunning; Russell wins
Immersed in another district contest with little breathing room, Greenup County softball coach Eric Keeton resorted to the strengths of his lineup: bunting and baserunning.
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.
Boyd pounds out 11 hits to go along with Grimm’s shutout, 14-0
Robbie Shivel might be a little sore after Monday night, but it was Fairview that left the game battered and bruised.
Boyd County belted out 11 hits to go along with Dylan Grimm's complete-game gem as the Lions roared past Fairview, 14-0, in the opening round of the 64th District Tournament at Ashland's Alumni Field. The game lasted five innings.
Different look, same results for Lady Lions
A longtime fixture in the 64th District softball championship game, Boyd County looked different this return trip.
The Lady Lions defeated Fairview 10-5 in Monday’s district semifinal, which doubled as an Autism Awareness Night. Boyd County players wore light blue shirts and colorful, jigsaw puzzle socks for the event, which had to be rescheduled more than once due to weather problems.
Musketeers explode in final 2 innings to beat Raceland; good times continue for Lewis
Through the first four innings of its 63rd District Tournament opener, Greenup County found itself hitless. The Musketeers made up for it over the next two innings.
Greenup County scored eight runs on eight hits in the final two innings to defeat Raceland, 9-1, at Russell High School on Monday.
The will to win
Opponents get the same look from Emily Stewart whether it’s softball, basketball or soccer season.
Steely eyed and lips pursed, the Boyd County senior is keenly focused and all business between the lines.
THE WEEKLY CYCLE: Holding the key to upset city?
It takes only one game. Few are more firm believers in that fact than the small schools that find themselves in underdog roles year after year.
Locals struggle to make impact
Some days you are the windshield and some days you are the bug.
It is a saying that proved to be all too true for Rowan County on Friday night at the KHSAA Class 2A State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
Womack eliminated in state semis; Rose Hill, Russell doubles also ousted
Fairview senior Kennedy Womack wasn’t her consistent self in Saturday morning’s state tennis semifinals at the University of Kentucky’s Hilary Boone Tennis Complex.
As a result, the top seed fell to Lexington Sayre sophomore Madeline Rolph 6-1, 6-0.
Womack was obviously disappointed with her finish, especially after losing in last year’s state finals, but she was happy for her good friend Rolph.
If Fairview could have fielded a combined track and field team at Saturday’s Class A State Track and Field Championships, the Eagles and Lady Eagles would have had a record day. Instead, the Fairview girls had to “settle” for fifth, while the boys’ claimed 10th.
Womack eliminated in semifinals
Top-seeded Kennedy Womack was eliminated in the semifinals of the State Tournament on Saturday at the University of Kentucky tennis courts.
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