Clark County junior quarterback Luke Sharrock was knocked around like a piñata in a 63-34 loss to No. 1 Scott County last Friday. By the end of the night he had an aching ankle, a sore shoulder, some bumps and bruises . . . and memories he'll cherish forever.
Sharrock got to play what amounted to fantasy football by throwing on just about every snap. He completed 36 of 63 passes, five attempts shy of the state record for attempts, and four shy for completions. "It was a ton of fun," he said.
On the Monday before the mismatch with unbeaten Scott County, Clark County Coach Steve Collins told Sharrock the game plan was to spread the field and fill the air with passes. "He said we were going to try to throw it 70 times," Sharrock said. "We got pretty doggone close to that."
After Sharrock, a 6-foot, 210-pound junior, threw 51 passes in the first half, he looked like a cinch to break the state record. But when Scott County opened a 36-point lead late in the third quarter, it meant a running clock the rest of the night. That limited Sharrock's chances. He still could have tied or broken the record, but he stepped aside and let senior backup Lloyd Campbell take over at quarterback in the fourth quarter.
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Sharrock, who averaged 24 passes a game before the air assault at Scott County, said he had no idea he had thrown 51 times (with 27 completions) in the first half. "Once you start tossing it around, you don't even think about it." His senior receivers, including Tanner Rose (12 catches, 111 yards) and Brent Stoneking (11 catches, 103 yards), had a busy night. "Sadly, they won't be here next year, so it was a lot of fun to go out for the last time and throw it around like that," Sharrock said.
■ When Anderson County plays host to Conner in the 5A playoffs on Friday, Cougars quarterback Drew Barker, who has committed to play at the University of Kentucky, will be the highest profile player on the field. But Anderson County's Ross Cox will be the most versatile. "He's had a monster year," Bearcats Coach Mark Peach said of Cox, a 6-4, 200-pound senior who has 1,639 all-purpose yards. Primarily a receiver, Cox has 37 catches for 775 yards and 10 TDs. (He had 51 catches for 1,153 yards and 13 TDs last year.) He's getting double-teamed so much this season that Peach is getting him the ball in other ways. Cox has rushed 47 times for 393 yards and six TDs, and returned kickoffs for 392 yards and two TDs. He also plays just about everywhere on defense. He has four interceptions and is one of the hardest hitters on the team. "With his versatility, I think he'll excel at the next level," Peach said. Eastern, Western, Kent State, Ball State, and Toledo are among the schools recruiting Cox. UK is also keeping in touch. Cox also plays basketball, and last year qualified for the state track and field championships in the high jump. Peach said Cox has 4.6 speed and "he's football fast."
Peach is familiar with Conner and Barker. Two years ago in the playoffs, Anderson County scored in the closing seconds to beat them 31-30. "Drew's fantastic. We knew then he was the real deal, a special player," Peach said.
■ West Jessamine senior Devin Taylor, the state's leading rusher over the last two years, carried 38 times for 319 yards and three TDs, but it wasn't enough as the Colts lost to South Oldham 47-27 in the 5A playoffs last week. "He tried to put us on his shoulders," West Jessamine Coach Yancey Marcum said. Taylor finished the season with 2,664 yards and 29 TDs. He averaged 242.2 yards per game, third best in state history behind Johnson Central's J.J. Jude (255.1 in 2011) and Bourbon County's Kentayvus Hopkins (243.9 in 2011). Taylor averaged 222 yards last year, which is seventh in the record book. He set several school records, including rushing yards in a game (388), career rushing TDs (56), TDs in a season (29), and average yards per carry in a season (9.45). Marcum said WKU is showing the most interest in Taylor.
■ Harlan County's Carson Whitehead and Fred Massey both eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the season in the Black Bears' 5A playoff win over Lincoln County. Whitehead, a senior, carried 13 times for 167 yards, giving him 1,158. Massey, a junior, ran 19 times for 220 yards, pushing his total to 1,147. Harlan County hosts Madison Southern on Friday. The Eagles are ground-oriented, too. Junior Damien Harris, who has committed to play at Michigan, has rushed for 2,128 yards and has 36 TDs.
■ Simon Kenton sent out a flyer promoting QB Brenan Kuntz for Mr. Football. The 6-3 senior has led the Pioneers to an 11-0 record by throwing for 2,157 yards, 29 TDs and one interception (it came on a Hail Mary pass). He's run for 820 yards and 13 TDs. In three years Kuntz has thrown for 5,320 yards and 52 TDs, and run for 1,308 yards and 17 TDs.
■ Bowling Green pounded Apollo 49-7 for its 40th consecutive victory, the fifth longest winning streak in state history. Trinity won 50 in a row from 1988-91 before losing to Louisville Holy Cross 15-14 late in the regular season. Boyle County won 47 in a row from 1999-2002 before losing to Danville 20-10 early in the regular season. Breathitt County had a 42-game streak from 1995-97 before losing to Lawrence County 36-28 in the region finals. Danville had a 42-game streak from 1991-93 before falling to Prestonsburg 16-15 in double overtime in the state semifinals.
■ Mason County hasn't had 12 wins in a football season since 2001 when Dustin Grutza was quarterback and Chris Lofton a receiver. The undefeated Royals go for their 12th win Friday when they host Garrard County in the 3A playoffs. Mason County Coach David Buchanan considers senior center/defensive tackle Austin Matheny one of the best linemen the school has ever had. QB Jake O'Mara, a 6-4, 215-pound junior who is drawing attention from Division I schools, has thrown for 1,488 yards and 11 TDs. Senior kicker/punter Jacob Tompkins, Associated Press all-state the last two years, has five field goals. Junior LB John Combs Buchanan, who visited Purdue last weekend, leads the team with 90 tackles despite missing two games with an injury. He's been chosen to play on the USA team that will play Canada in Arlington, Texas, in February. Senior RB Rashon Nelson has rushed for 1,223 yards and 23 TDs, and junior FB Rico Hill has 899 yards and 10 TDs.
■ Montgomery County's Chaiten Tomlin, a sophomore who stepped in at QB when Art Walker was sidelined with an injury early in the season, set a school record with 24 TD passes this year. He had a school-record 322 yards against Woodford County, and finished the year with 1,860 yards. "The most impressive thing about Chaiten was his poise and on-the-field leadership," Coach Dan Gooch said. Aaron Botts' 1,221 rushing yards this season were second most in school history.
■ Cross-town rivals Bourbon County (11-0) and Paris (9-2) never before have had at least nine wins in the same season. Bourbon County hosts Russell in the 3A playoffs Friday, while Paris travels to Beechwood for a 1A game.
■ Caldwell County junior QB Elijah Sindelar, who has an offer from UK, threw for four TDs in a 55-6 rout of Hancock County. Sindelar's career passing totals: 8,452 yards and 90 TDs.
■ Tates Creek senior Mallory Eubanks, who helped the Lady Commodores win the state soccer title last year and reach the semifinals this season, has been selected to play in the inaugural Girls' High School All-American Game in Raleigh, N.C., on Dec. 7. Eubanks is the only Kentucky player invited to play. Eubanks, who will play college soccer at Mississippi State, had 37 goals and 22 assists this year.
■ William & Mary freshman Omar Prewitt (Montgomery County) has been impressive in his first two college games. He had 15 points (3-for-5 on threes) and seven rebounds in a loss to Hampton in the season opener. He had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists in the Tribe's win over Liberty. Fellow William & Mary freshman Jack Whitman from Lexington Catholic has yet to see any action.
■ Tina Winn's Tates Creek Lady Commodores' basketball team is hosting Awareness Games & Health Fair on Saturday. The $5 admission to seven pre-season girls' scrimmages from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. will benefit charities dealing with lupus, breast cancer and Alzheimer's. There will also be 20 health-care booths.
Most pass attempts in a game in state history*
Andy Greer, Williamsburg, 36 of 68 for 411 yards, 4 TDs in 35-27 loss to Casey County (2002)
Branden Cresap, Collins, 37 of 66 for 440 yards, 3 TDs in 31-26 loss to Western (2010)
Alex Matthews, Shelby County, 35 of 63 for 558 yards, 7 TDs in 57-54 loss to Manual (2007)
Luke Sharrock, Clark County, 36 of 63 for 385 yards, 2 TDs in 63-34 loss to Scott County (2013)
Most pass completions in a game in state history*
Steven Duckworth, Woodford Co., 40 of 49 for 416 yards, 4 TDs in 38-14 win over Franklin Co. (2008)
Stephen Sizemore, Hazard, 40 of 59 for 480 yards, 7 TDs in 74-6 win over Jenkins (2000)
Kyle Todd, Elizabethtown, 37 of 53 for 483 yards, 6 TDs in 57-44 loss to LaRue County (2011)
Branden Cresap, Collins, 37 of 66 (see above).
Andy Greer, Williamsburg ,36 of 68 (see above)
Luke Sharrock, Clark County, 36 of 63 (see above)
* according to KHSAA records