Bleary-eyed but having a blast. That's Elizabethtown football coach Brad Todd, whose weekends are wearying but wonderful this season. After coaching the Panthers on Friday nights, Todd and his family hit the road to follow son Chris as he plays quarterback for Auburn on Saturdays.
It makes for a tiring schedule.
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After E-town played Bethlehem last Friday, for example, Todd, his wife, Becky, daughter Kristen and son Kyle, arose at 4 a.m. Saturday to make the trip to Auburn, Ala., for the Tigers' game against Louisiana-Monroe that evening. They made the seven-hour return trip home on Sunday.
This weekend will be even more hectic. After E-town's game against Central Hardin Friday night, the Todds will leave home around midnight so they can make Auburn's 11:30 a.m. CDT kickoff against Southern Mississippi on Saturday.
"It wears you out, but it's a blast," said Todd, who has already mapped out travel plans for Auburn's 12 games this season. With gas at $3.50 a gallon, he figures he'll burn about $2,000 in fuel. "But it's worth it," Todd said. "It all goes by so fast, you'd hate to miss even one game. So we're going to see them all."
Following Chris now is a lot easier than when he was playing at Texas Tech a couple of years ago. It was an 18-hour one-way drive to Lubbock. The Todds logged 25,000 miles on their car that season.
■ What kind of magic does Raceland's football team have that has helped the 1A Rams beat 5A Ashland Blazer three years in a row in down-to-the-wire thrillers? "No magic," Coach Randy Vanderhoof said. "Our kids have worked really hard, and we knew we had to play really well just to have a chance against Ashland." The Rams beat the Tomcats 19-16 in overtime last week. "It was an electric atmosphere at Putnam Stadium. Probably 5,000 people jam-packed in there," Vanderhoof said. Raceland survived on a last-second field goal last year, and on a late punt return in 2006. The Rams have lots of leadership this year, supplied by a big group of seniors, including Robby Logan (OL/DL), Cody Chinn (OL), Tyler Boyles (QB/S), Brett Denton (RB/LB) and Scott Carver (RB/LB). The Rams lost a heartbreaker to Lexington Christian 34-32 in last year's playoffs, and LCA figures to be a hurdle in Raceland's path this season. "If we have any magic, any pixie dust, I'd rather use it against LCA," Vanderhoof said with a laugh.
■ Clay County senior QB Zach Lewis threw for 297 yards and two TDs in a loss to Knox Central last week. That pushed him past Chris Todd and into second place on the state's all-time passing yardage list with 10,881 yards. He needs 1,287 yards to break Tim Couch's record. Clay County sophomore J.V. Hooker had 10 catches for 134 yards in the opener.
■ Bell County Coach Dudley Hilton isn't one to spotlight one player. Seven Bobcats scored TDs, and two kicked extra points in a 50-6 win over Garrard County. Spencer Greer led Bell County with 183 yards rushing. Greer also had a rare fumble. He didn't have a turnover in 13 games last season.
■ Defending 2A state champ Fort Campbell opened with an impressive 50-7 rout of Mayfield. Junior QB Antonio Andrews, who led the Falcons' undefeated JV team last year, looked solid in his first varsity start with four TD passes. Fort Campbell Coach Shawn Berner sees a positive carryover from last season's title run. "It's tremendous," he said. "We've talked to our kids about how once you get a taste of winning, it changes your whole perception about things."
■ Last week's opener was good news/bad news for Scott County freshman RB/DB Josh Walls. The younger brother of former Cardinals' basketball star Matt Walls carried seven times for 128 yards and two TDs, and he had 11 tackles in Scott County's 23-14 win over Boone County. But Josh also suffered a turf-toe injury that will sideline him at least a week. "We're real lucky it wasn't worse; he didn't break it," said Coach Jim McKee, who described the 5-foot-10 155-pounder as "quick, fast and tough."
■ Pulaski County junior quarterback Chris Muse was injured and sat out the second half of the Maroons' loss to Rockcastle County last Friday. Muse suffered a sprained knee that might sideline him for two weeks. Pulaski County WR/FS Brian Barnett broke a bone in his foot in the opener and will be out 10-12 weeks.
■ Boone County always comes up with a hard-charging running back. Since star Cory Farris graduated last spring, the Rebels have turned to Charles Quainoo, who ran the ball 33 times for 234 yards and two TDs against Scott County.
■ After sitting out Calloway County's two pre-season scrimmages because of broken bones in his non-throwing hand, quarterback Casey Brockman completed 17 of 30 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Murray.
■ Beechwood senior Nieco Teipel carried 32 times for 240 yards and a score as the defending 1A champs beat Dixie Heights 29-6.
■ Paris is marking its 100th year of football. The Greyhounds started their program in 1909. They play host to Bellevue on Friday on the field where they've played the last 64 years. The Paris stadium was named after Blanton Collier in the mid-1980s.
■ Chase Dumphord, a 6-foot-7, 300-pound All-State lineman from Paris who signed with Michigan State but left the Spartans before his freshman season in 2007, is now at Georgetown College.
■ Henry Clay hasn't been shut out in 76 consecutive games, dating to a 35-0 loss to Boyle County in 2002.
■ Magoffin County junior Josten Helton rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns and caught six passes for 86 yards and a TD in a come-from-behind 32-26 win over South Floyd.
■ McCreary Central junior Aaron Watts ran for 191 yards and a TD and passed for 58 yards and two scores in a win over Clinton County.
■ Danville's offense was in high gear as it rolled up 643 yards in a win over Russell County. Quarterback Trae Grey threw for 431 yards and four scores in less than three quarters of action.
■ Brandon Deaderick, a former all-state lineman at Elizabethtown, starts at defensive end for Alabama and was part of the Crimson Tide's shellacking of Clemson last week. Deaderick was quoted in Sports Illustrated talking about Alabama: "I'm telling you, we're tight. We're a closer team than last year. We trust each other."
■ Fairce Woods, a legend in Kentucky high school basketball, died this week. He was 80. Woods was a standout player at Garrett High in Floyd County but really made his name as a coach. He led Breathitt County to six state tournaments, and he had an overall record of 389-81. He was inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame in 1989.
■ Frank Minnifield, a former football star for Henry Clay, the University of Louisville and the Cleveland Browns, got a mention in GolfWorld magazine last week. Ryder Cup golfer Ben Curtis, from northern Ohio, was asked to name his favorite Browns. He included Minnifield, whom he described as "the smoothest cornerback I ever saw." His other faves were Jim Brown, Bernie Kosar, Clay Matthews and Ernest Byner
■ Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes will be the fourth and fifth Kentuckians to play for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and all of the participants won individual state high school titles. Gay Brewer was state champ at Lafayette in 1949, '50, '51; Bobby Nichols won the state at St. Xavier in 1953; Frank Beard at St. X in 1957; Perry at Lone Oak in 1978; and Holmes at Taylor County in 1998.
■ Paul Dunbar graduate Tyler Jones, a second-team All-City pitcher, is playing college baseball at St. Catharine.
■ Former Dunbar baseball star A.J. Ellis has joined the Los Angeles Dodgers for the last month of the season. Ellis, a catcher, was called up to the majors after hitting .321 for the Las Vegas 51s, the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate.
■ Fayette County's public schools will hold their boys' and girls' golf championships on Monday at Tates Creek. Zack Butler of Dunbar and Pilar Morgan of Henry Clay are defending individual champs.