Mike Fields' notebook: Maybe the football playoffs aren't for everyone

Herald-Leader Staff writerNovember 8, 2012 

Sifting through the rubble of last week's first round of the high school football playoffs: 70 of 95 games were decided by at least 20 points, and 58 teams won by at least five touchdowns.

Phelps Coach Jesse Peck's winless Hornets lost to unbeaten Fairview 69-0 in a game he felt shouldn't have been played. "Not all of us deserve to be in the playoffs," he said.

"We traveled 21/2 hours with 14 kids to play one of the top teams in (Class A). It didn't do us or Fairview any good. When I played at Johnson Central (in the late 1990s), making the playoffs meant something. We had to win some ball games."

As for the argument that all playoff teams benefit from extra week(s) of practice, Peck doesn't buy it. "We start the first of July and go to the first of November. By then I don't know what you can teach your players they don't already know."

Peck thinks only the top two teams in the district should qualify for the post-season.

■ Ten months after Dominique Hawkins and Ken-Jah Bosley combined for 61 points to lead Madison Central's basketball team to a 78-77 upset of No. 1 Trinity, the schools meet in the second round of the 6A football playoffs on Friday. Hawkins and Bosley might need to combine for 61 points again for Madison Central to knock off No. 1 Trinity.

Whatever happens, Indians Coach Bert Browne is proud that his team re-established itself as a winner this season. When Browne took over the program in 2010, Madison Central was coming off an 0-10 season. It went 1-10 in his first year, 5-6 last year, and improved to 7-4 with a 40-21 win over Manual last week. "We've come a long way," Browne said. "I've been through those (one-win) seasons, so you've gotta be happy when you win seven games. But it could've been better."

If the Indians hadn't lost senior linemen Chris Walters and Christian Carter to injuries, Browne thinks Madison Central would have been even better offensively. They've still been pretty explosive. Hawkins has run for 1,110 yards and 17 TDs. Bosley has 63 catches for 1,233 yards and 12 TDs. Hunter Stocker has thrown for 2,029 yards and 18 TDs.

■ Franklin County is undefeated, ranked No. 15 in the state, and has a Mr. Football candidate in Ryan Timmons. But Coach Chris Tracy thinks most people consider his Flyers underdogs going into their home game against No. 20 Conner in the second round of the 5A playoffs on Friday. "I don't think anybody expects us to win," Tracy said. The doubts are based on what happened at this stage of the playoffs last year when unbeaten Franklin County was crushed by Conner 84-48. The Cougars, led by quarterback Drew Barker and running back Cameron Fogle, rushed for a mind-boggling 745 yards. Barker and Fogle are back for Conner, but Tracy thinks his team is much more focused this time around.

Franklin County, led by Timmons, is averaging 59 points a game. Timmons has 95 touches this season for 2,268 all-purpose yards and 38 TDs. He's scoring every 2.5 times he gets his hands on the ball. Tracy said Timmons is in no hurry to make his college choice. He visited Purdue last weekend and Arkansas a few weeks ago. UK is still in the picture, with Timmons waiting to see who'll succeed Joker Phillips.

"I would think whoever UK hires, he'll spend a lot of time at our school getting to know Ryan," Tracy said. Ohio State is recruiting Timmons. Tracy said Urban Meyer called Timmons recently, but the Buckeyes haven't offered a scholarship yet.

■ Austin Pray's productive football career at Perry Central came to an end with last week's loss to Madison Southern. Pray was a wide receiver before moving to quarterback this season. He threw for 2,066 yards and 23 TDs, and ran for 1,321 yards and 16 TDs. Before this year he already had more than 1,600 career receiving yards. A standout defensive back, he had 184 career tackles and six interceptions. Pray has a 4.0 GPA and a 32 on the ACT.

■ Nelson County's Dylan Beasley is the ninth player in state history to throw for at least 4,000 yards in a season. He's completed 273 of 425 passes for 4,026 yards and 36 TDs with 13 interceptions. Austin Lavvorn is his top target with 69 catches for 1,168 yards and seven TDs. Nelson County plays Western in the 4A playoffs on Friday.

■ Corbin, which fell to LaRue County in the first round of the 3A playoffs, finished 5-6, its first losing record in 17 years.

■ James Quick of Trinity had three catches for 64 yards and a TD in Trinity's rout of Clark County. Quick has a state-record 276 career receptions. His 4,308 receiving yards are fourth most all-time, and his 54 TD catches rank third.

■ Lawrence County senior linebacker Jordan Wellman had 33 tackles, including 14 solo, in last week's win over Morgan County. Bulldogs Coach Joey Cecil said although it was a "special night for Jordan, we've seen him play this way over his career. I would like to say it is good coaching, but he just has a knack for getting to the ball. He has a great feel for the game."

■ Harlan County Coach Tom Larkey got his 280th career victory when the Black Bears beat Lincoln County last week. Larkey tied Paintsville legend Walter Brugh for 10th place on the state's all-time win list. Treyvon Long and Jake Middleton each rushed for more than 100 yards and two TDs to lead Harlan County.

■ Paris beat Dayton for its first playoff win in 11 years. It was also the Greyhounds' sixth victory of the season, prompting longtime Paris fan Eugene "Puck" Puckett to declare his team "bowl eligible."

■ Highlands bashed Boyd County 56-13 for its 26th consecutive playoff victory. The state record is 29 post-season wins in a row by Boyle County from 1999 to 2004. Highlands scored a state-record 849 points last year, but is behind that pace this season. The Bluebirds had 649 points through 11 games in 2011. They have 593 this year.

■ Whitley County had almost 500 yards rushing in its 40-21 win over North Laurel. Austin Ysidro led the way with 232 yards and four TDs.

■ Fired UK coach Joker Phillips got words of support from fellow Franklin-Simpson grad David Clark, a former basketball coach at their alma mater. In an email, Clark said "nobody is hurting more" than Phillips because UK was the place he always wanted to be. "You do not give 22 years of your life to anything unless you care. Love, passion, and loyalty are just a few descriptions that come to mind. Let's pay homage and say, 'Thanks, Joker, for loving UK football unconditionally.'"

■ When Tates Creek's girls won the state soccer title last Saturday, it was a surreal experience for Jim Lankster. His son Bo is Tates Creek's coach, and his granddaughters Bailey, Aaron and Arly Lankster played key roles in Tates Creek's victory over Notre Dame in the finals at Paul Laurence Dunbar. It was 30 years ago, almost to the day, that Jim Lankster coached Lexington Catholic to a state soccer championship. Bo played for his dad on that team, as did Todd Bretz, who has coached Dunbar to three boys' state titles, and led the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish to St. Xavier last Saturday. "We were praying that Todd would win that one, too. It would've been icing on the cake," Jim Lankster said.

■ Lexington Catholic volleyball alum Tyler Deaton, a junior middle hitter at Thomas More College, was selected first-team all-President's Athletic Conference. She had 207 kills this season.

■ The 23rd annual Joe B. Hall Prep Classic, scheduled for Jan. 26 at Montgomery County, will include several of the best boys' basketball teams and players in the state. The matchups: Fleming County vs. Harlan County, noon; Trinity vs. Montgomery County, 1:45; Perry Central vs. Covington Scott, 3:30; Henry Clay vs. Southwestern, 5:15; Madison Central vs. John Hardin, 7; Bullitt East vs. Pulaski County, 8:45.

Derek Willis of Bullitt East, who is committed to UK, tops the list of players, along with Dominique Hawkins of Madison Central, Darryl Hicks and James Quick of Trinity, Omar Prewitt of Montgomery County, Trey Grundy and Jordan Green of Henry Clay, Justin Johnson of Perry Central, Taylor Gover of Pulaski County and Brandon Price of John Hardin.

■ The Scholastic Ball Report, a high school sports show that debuted on WKYT in 2003, will air its 300th episode on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on CWKYT. The show, hosted by Gary Ball, has honored more than 1,000 scholar athletes.

■ Ian Collins has resigned as boys' soccer coach at Clark County after just one season. Collins was men's coach at UK for 19 years before taking over the Cardinals' program.

■ Brenna Grubb of Raceland and Raymond White of Model have been selected the state winners of the 2012 Wendy's High School Heisman Award, which is based on academic and athletic achievement, and community leadership. Grubb and White have a chance to be named one of 12 high school Heisman national finalists.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Email: mfields@herald-leader. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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