By AARON SNYDER
GRAYSON Boyd County went to its Whitt’s end on Tuesday night.
Following a controversial call, senior Ryan Whitt drilled a penalty kick to lift the Lions to a 2-1 victory over Rowan County in the first round of the 16th Region Tournament at East Carter Middle School.
“I could play another game right now,” an elated Whitt said.
He’ll have to wait until Thursday, when Boyd County takes on East Carter in the semifinal round.
In Tuesday’s first game, Greenup County defeated Fleming County 2-1 for the first region tournament win in program history. The Musketeers and Russell will kick off semifinal action on Thursday at 6 p.m. at East Middle.
Rowan County struck first in the nightcap, thanks to great concentration by Daniel Brummer. Brummer drove the ball to just a few yards from the net before taking advantage of the goalkeeper venturing a bit too far.
But, as Boyd County coach William Ferguson said, that’s when a team typically reaches its most vulnerable point, directly following a score.
Boyd County (11-7-1) seized the opportunity, as just moments later, at the 23rd minute, Reid Rowsey retaliated. He banged in a ricochet off Rowan County goalkeeper Ty Alderman’s hands after a Lions shot attempt.
“Then it’s almost like a nil-nil game,” Ferguson said. “It’s always important to get one back on the board.”
What followed was highly physical and passionate play by two senior-laden teams that didn’t want to see their season come to a close.
Boyd County lost senior forward Chris Fugate to a red card — he must sit out the next two games. The only way he can play again is if the Lions win the region tournament.
“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time and said a wrong thing, whatever,” Ferguson said. “It happens, unfortunately.”
“We can definitely use that for motivation, wanting him to play again,” Ferguson added.
Rowan County (14-6-4) received its own yellow card earlier, as one was called against its sideline.
The most pivotal call, though, came in the 76th minute.
Boyd County junior Jonah Black hustled to retrieve a ball that had gone out of bounds. He quickly fired it forward, placing it perfectly in front of a striding Jordan Smith, who was in the penalty area. In between two Vikings, Smith took a tumble that referees deemed at the fault of Rowan County.
That’s when Whitt got his chance.
“I was hoping I would be the man to take it,” said Whitt, who added that he had only missed one PK in his life and was perfect on a handful of chances this season. “Fortunately, I put it in the back of the net.
“If it wasn’t for Jordan, I wouldn’t have had the chance.”
Ferguson offered no surprise in his stance of the call.
“It was a foul in the box,” he said. “We’ve seen it all year, whether for us or against us. I think it was a good call.”
Rowan County coach Alan Evans, on the other hand, adamantly disagreed with the call made by the assistant referee.
“My point of view, I’m looking down the field, I see a space and an arm comes up and touches him and their player takes a dive,” Evans said. “It’s like taking a charge in basketball. It’s the center referee’s ability to recognize it. Was he having an actual attack on the goal or was he taking a dive? He has to evaluate that in a matter of seconds. His AR (assistant referee) didn’t have an angle.
“That’s the problem with soccer,” he continued. “You’ve got 22 teenagers trying to kill each other and one whistle. It’s just a bad way to end a game. Let the boys decide the outcome of the game, not a call.”
Rowan County and its 13 seniors were 9-0-1 inside the region before Tuesday’s loss.
The Lions did not play East Carter during the regular season.
Greenup County 2
Fleming County 1
Seth Boyle and Zac Hutchinson helped Greenup County overcome an early 1-0 deficit to give the Musketeers their monumental win over Fleming County.
Hutchinson’s header and Boyle’s score in the first few minutes of the second half, coupled with the Musketeers’ defense, were enough to hold on against the Panthers. Fleming County’s (4-17-1) lone goal was by Ethan Duncan.
Said Greenup County coach Andy Zabrieszack: “It gives me a lot of pride and hope for our program. Greenup County’s never been expected to win. Teams used to schedule us to pad their schedule, and now they’re not doing that.”
Greenup County knocked off West Carter in the first round of the 62nd District Tournament. The Comets had won four of five before falling in the upset.
The Musketeers are 9-7-2. They lost to Russell, 11-2, during the regular season.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
Penalty kick lifts Boyd; Greenup nabs first playoff victory
By AARON SNYDER
- Local Sports
62nd District Softball: East playing second fiddle no longer
East Carter’s Morgan Jacobs fired a pitch across the plate for strike three in the bottom of the seventh inning and jumped into the arms of first baseman Montana Fouts.
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62nd District baseball: Staton strives after storm
East Carter’s Conner Staton hasn’t lost a 62nd District in his high school career. As a senior, he wasn’t going to let that change.
63rd District baseball: Greenup County outduels Lewis, 7-3
Lightning delayed the 63rd District Tournament championship game several times following the first inning on Tuesday, creating a late night for Greenup County and Lewis County.
Boyd’s Fraley commits to Herd
Boyd County sophomore basketball player Logan Fraley has announced her commitment to Marshall University.
The 5-foot-11 shooting guard informed Marshall women’s coach Matt Daniel of her decision on Monday morning, which was confirmed by Boyd County coach/father Pete Fraley via text message.
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.
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