Putting their best foot forward and stepping into the state record book:
■ Johnson Central Coach Jim Matney said "it sounds like the football is exploding" when the Golden Eagles' Tyler Pack kicks a field goal or extra point." The 6-foot-4, 230-pound sophomore detonated a 58-yard field goal in a victory over Perry County Central last week, tying the state record set by Raceland's Aaron Pettrey in 2003. "I didn't know if I made it," Pack said. "I thought it might be 1 or 2 yards short." Matney knew his kicker had plenty of leg. "I've seen him kick a 65-yarder in practice, and he's pretty consistent around 60 yards." Pack made his only other field goal attempt this season from 52 yards. Long snapper Quade Ward and holder Zach Gound help Pack execute his kicks. He's hoping they get a shot at a state record in the coming weeks. "I think I can hit from 60 if I get the chance," he said. Pack, a goalie in soccer, is relatively new to football, but he doesn't shy away from contact. "He's 2-for-2 on tackles running down a return man," Matney said. "And he's got standing ovations for that."
■ Tates Creek's Jake Ryan launched the second-longest punt in state history with an 82-yard boomer against Henry Clay last Friday. According to the KHSAA record book, Boone County's Chris Dittus set the standard with an 84-yarder against Bryan Station in 1992. Tates Creek Coach Mike Harmon was wowed by Ryan's boot: "He nailed it. It was unbelievable." The Commodores had fourth down on their own 17, and Ryan was standing on the 2 when he took the snap and punted. The ball sailed about 60 yards in the air, took a favorable bounce and rolled to the Henry Clay 1. "From where Jake struck the ball, it ended up going almost 100 yards," Harmon said. Ryan said, "I felt it'd be a good one when I hit it," but he had no idea he was kicking himself into the record book.
Ryan averaged 25.9 yards a punt as a sophomore, 34.7 as a junior, and 41.0 this season. Harmon thinks he could punt on the college level. "He definitely has the leg and ability, and he's fearless," Harmon said. The 6-1, 200-pounder is also the Commodores' backup quarterback, and plays some tight end, outside linebacker and free safety. "He's too good an athlete not to be on the field," Harmon said. "He's the consummate team player."
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■ Palmer Ward's kicking leg is getting a workout for high-scoring Scott County. Ward, a senior who is handling the Cardinals' extra-point duties for the fourth year in a row, is 34-for-34 on PATs this season. He has 229 career extra points, and could threaten the state record of 297 set by Lone Oak's Jack Courts three years ago.
■ Middlesboro beat Bell County 28-14 last weekend, the Yellow Jackets' first victory over their cross-county rivals since 1997. The game started Friday night, but was halted in the second quarter because of problems with the lights. It was completed Saturday afternoon, with Middlesboro out-muscling the Bobcats in the trenches. Ryan Pittman, Seth Barton and Major Edwards each had short touchdown runs, and Edwards threw a TD pass to Donnie Foister. Middlesboro Coach Randy Frazier, a former assistant at Bell County, said it was the Jackets' biggest win since he took over in 2010. "This is major for our community, and the kids are extremely excited," Frazier said. "The weight room is where we won it. When I got here three years ago I said if we were going to compete with Bell County, and in our district with Danville, Lexington Christian and Somerset, we had to get stronger, and we've done that."
■ Corbin is 4-0 for the first time since 2009 after crushing Danville 55-7. Corey Taylor threw for 252 yards and two TDs as the Redhounds dealt Danville its worst loss in 13 years.
■ Pulaski County running back/linebacker Aaron Smith had a big night in a 49-21 win over Russell County. The 6-1, 202-pound senior had 233 all-purpose yards, including four catches for 123 yards and two TDs, 14 tackles (10 solo, and four for losses), and forced a fumble.
■ Rico Hill is making an impact at fullback for Mason County. The 5-7, 185-pound junior has TD runs of 63, 52, 52, 31 and 26 yards in three games. "He is quick, fast and strong," Royals Coach David Buchanan said.
■ Caldwell County junior quarterback Elijah Sindelar, who has an offer from the University of Kentucky, threw for 323 yards and four TDs, and ran for two scores in a 49-13 win at Trigg County.
■ Wayne County (4-0) waxed Williamsburg 40-12. The Cardinals intercepted five passes. Alan Brown returned one of the picks 80 yards for a TD.
■ South Warren blanked Elizabethtown 35-0 for its fourth consecutive shutout. It held E-town star Berneil Cecil to 28 yards on 20 carries. The Spartans have held their opponents to minus 117 yards on the ground.
■ Russellville returned three interceptions for TDs in a 69-0 romp over Logan County. Cashing in the pick-sixes were Tacorian Darden (45 yards), Jamarius Duncan (35 yards) and Christian Naylor (33 yards).
■ Hazard's Brandon Jones rushed for 237 yards and four TDs, including a 69-yard score in the closing minutes that rallied the Bulldogs past Somerset 32-28.
■ Bryan Station will honor Dermontti Dawson by retiring his jersey before the Defenders' home game against Lafayette on Oct. 4. There will be a hospitality tent for Dawson's family and friends. Dawson graduated from Bryan Station in 1983 and went on to star in college at UK and in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
■ Former Lexington Catholic football coach Bob Sphire has the No. 1 Class 6A team in Georgia. His North Gwinnett Bulldogs have beaten three recent state champs (Camden County, Grayson and Norcross) and are No. 25 in USA Today's national ratings. Sphire's son Hayden, a 6-2, 200-pound senior in his first year as starting quarterback, has thrown for 678 yards and eight TDs. Former Bryan Station coach Traye Moore is the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator and his son TraiChean is a sophomore defensive back. At Lexington Catholic, Sphire had a 15-year record of 140-39, capped by a state title in 2005. He is 81-13 in eight years in Georgia.
■ Last year Logan Woodside teamed with Ryan Timmons to give Franklin County one of the most explosive offenses in the state. Timmons now starts at wide receiver for UK, and Woodside has moved into the starting quarterback spot at Toledo. Woodside took over when Toledo senior Terrance Owens injured a knee in the first quarter against Eastern Washington last week. Woodside completed 14 of 24 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown (and no interceptions) to help Toledo win 33-21.
■ Anthony Epps is the new girls' basketball coach at Marion County. He was an assistant under Trent Milby last season when the Knights were undefeated state champs, and Epps' daughter, Makayla, was voted Miss Basketball. Anthony was the point guard on Marion County's 1993 Sweet Sixteen title team, and on UK's 1996 NCAA championship team.
■ Bryan Station and Lafayette have new softball coaches. Allison Hix, a former standout at Tates Creek, takes over the Defenders' program. She spent eight years in the military, and was an assistant at a San Diego high school before returning home to help coach at Lafayette. Kevin Stephens, who was an assistant at Lafayette last year, is taking over the Generals. Stephens, a dentist from Cynthiana, is also a former Harrison County assistant. Bryan Station also has hired Tyler Reed as its swimming coach. Reed was a standout swimmer at UK. His staff will include former UK swimmer Nikola Lemac.
■ Former Jessamine County basketball star Paul Bingham died this week. He was 40. Mr. Bingham led the Colts to their first Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1990 when he averaged 21 points and nine rebounds as a senior. Mr. Bingham was an instructional assistant at Brookside Elementary in Nicholasville. He also coached the East Middle School girls' sixth-grade basketball team, and was an assistant at East Jessamine High School.
■ West Jessamine senior golfer Grace Rose won the Bowling Green Invitational in dramatic fashion. After a shotgun start, Rose came to her last hole, the 135-yard par-3 seventh, trailing defending state champ Anna Hack of Calloway County by two shots. Rose erased that deficit by making the first hole-in-one of her career. She won the tournament on the first playoff hole. Rose, who'll play college golf at UK, hopes to be back at Bowling Green Country Club for the state tournament in three weeks.
■ A reunion for Tates Creek's three state championship baseball teams (1978, '80, '86) will be Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. at Castle Hill Winery in Versailles. For information contact Duncan Gardiner at (859) 576-5000, or DuncanGardiner3@gmail.com.
■ Anyone interested in officiating high school basketball in the 10th and 11th regions this season can attend the Bluegrass Basketball Association's meeting on Sept. 25 at Tates Creek Middle School at 7 p.m. For information contact Mike Goins at email@example.com.