Allen Central gives Floyd County two top teams this year
Prestonsburg is the big football story in Floyd County this season. Led by quarterback Michael Burchett, the Blackcats are undefeated and looking like state title contenders heading into the second round of the Class 2A playoffs Friday night.
But another Floyd County team is making news, too, not to mention a little bit of history. Allen Central, which suffered through 17 consecutive losing seasons before going 7-4 last year, is 10-1 after beating Pineville 60-34 last week. It was the Rebels' first home playoff game and first playoff victory.
"It means a lot, not just for this team, but for a lot of guys who played here over the years, including myself," said Coach Jeremy Hall, a 1994 Allen Central graduate.
Hall thought the Rebels had a chance to be pretty good this year, but they've exceeded expectations by setting a school record for victories and advancing in the 1A playoffs. They've done it with old-fashioned smash-mouth football. They have three 1,000-yards rushers in Logan Crowder (1,511 yards, 20 TDs), his twin brother, Hunter Crowder (1,211 yards, 14 TDs), and Justin Jackson (1,288 yards, 14 TDs).
Hunter is 6-foot-4, 280 pounds. Logan is 6-2, 255. "They both move crazy fast to be that big," Hall said. Jackson is 5-8, 145.
Allen Central's regular-season accomplishments include beating Paintsville for the first time in school history, and avenging a 46-6 playoff loss to Harlan. The Rebels will be a decided underdog when they visit Hazard, last year's state runner-up, Friday night. That's fine with Hall. "Very few people expect us to beat Hazard, so we have nothing to lose," he said.
■ Pike Central won a playoff game for the first time in its program's 17-year history by beating Fleming County 74-50 (not 78-50 as previously reported). Hawks Coach John Paul Chapman doesn't keep statistics, but Fleming County Coach Gene Peterson said Pike Central senior QB Aaron McGuire, whom he described as "one tough kid," passed for 279 yards and eight TDs.
■ First-round playoff games are low stress for a lot of teams, even if they're missing a star or two. Lexington Christian was without QB Lucas Witt (bruised knee, thigh), but the Eagles still bashed Berea 70-31. Bryan Station was without RB Tevin McCaden (bad ankle), but the Defenders still dumped Madison Central 42-0. Corbin was without its top two RBs, Caleb Watkins (turf toe) and Ryan Fritts (sick), but the Redhounds still beat Morgan County 40-6.
■ Shelby County has made quite a turnaround. after winning only once last season, the Rockets are 9-2 going into Friday's game at Trinity. QB Branden Cresap, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, has thrown for more than 2,000 yards. Shelby County is 0-7 against Trinity.
■ Austin Collinsworth, whose dad Cris played for the Cincinnati Bengals and grandfather Abraham played basketball for UK, isn't the only Highlands football player with sports in his blood. Patrick Towles, who's taken over the starting QB job for the Bluebirds, is the grandson of baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (and U.S. senator) Jim Bunning. Towles, a 6-5 sophomore, has thrown for 678 yards and six TDs since replacing Will Bardo, who was sidelined with an elbow injury. Bardo has since moved to running back. Highlands is rated ninth in the nation by USA Today.
■ Conner QB Nick West did all he could — passing for 447 yards and three TDs — but it wasn't enough as Manual beat the Cougars 50-39 in a 6A playoff game. For the season, West threw for 2,602 yards and 22 TDs, and rushed for 1,068 yards and 20 TDs. Over the last three years he passed for 6,453 yards and 59 TDs.
■ Doss had the best comeback in the first round of the playoffs. The Dragons trailed Anderson County by 21 points early in the fourth quarter before rallying to win 40-37. Donald Bethel scored the decisive TD on a 36-yard run with 2:11 left. The loss ended senior Jacob Russell's days as Anderson County's QB. In his career, he passed for 6,733 yards and 65 TDs and ran for 923 yards and 38 TDs. He will now switch over to basketball for the defending 8th Region champs.
■ Two-time defending 3A champ Louisville Central won its 11th consecutive playoff game by beating Spencer County 56-36. Sophomore Anthony Wales rushed for 265 yards and six TDs and threw for a TD.
■ Kyle Todd's 55-yard TD pass to Titus Sublett with 44 seconds left gave Elizabethtown a 37-30 win over North Oldham. Todd, whose brother Chris is Auburn's QB, threw for 398 yards and three TDs.
■ Clinton Gay resigned as McCreary Central's football coach after leading the Raiders to a 7-4 record — the first winning season in school history. In the last 30 years Gay coached five sports (baseball, basketball, football, swimming and track) at five schools (Oneida Baptist, Pine Knot, Powell County, Leslie County and McCreary Central) "It's been a wonderful ride," he said.
■ Scott QB Zach Sowder rushed for more than 300 yards in a 62-41 loss to Johnson Central. The winners were led by Nathan Dillon, who ran for 230 yards.
■ Bellevue's Ricky Buckler ran for 200 yards against Gallatin County, pushing his season total to 2,468 yards. He is 21 yards shy of the school single-season record, and 70 shy of the school career mark. Bellevue visits Frankfort in the 1A playoffs Friday. The only other time they met was when Bellevue beat the Panthers 21-0 in the 1977 state finals.
■ Warren Central's Jordan Shanklin, one of the top juniors in the state, will miss at least the first month of the basketball season after having surgery this week. The 6-0 guard had a stress fracture in his right shin last January and missed six weeks. He came back and played in the post-season, but the injury never fully healed. Shanklin had a rod inserted in his right leg on Tuesday. Coach Tim Riley said Shanklin could be back in January.
■ Jaleel Cousins, younger brother of UK freshman basketball player DeMarcus Cousins, was on Tates Creek's pre-season roster before moving back to Alabama with his family last weekend. Jaleel is a 6-8, 245-pound sophomore. "It would have been nice to have him, but we'll adapt and go on," Tates Creek Coach Wayne Breeden said. "We're still pretty good."
Tates Creek won the state AAU title this summer, even though junior standout Marcellus Barksdale was out with an ankle injury and Cousins hadn't moved to town yet. The Commodores return juniors Ryan Fucci and Kendalle Mack and seniors Miles Potter, Justin Daugherty and Ezra Garner.
■ Rockcastle County's Jackie Alexander signed to play basketball at West Point.
■ Tates Creek tennis standout Grant Roberts signed with UK this week. The senior lefthander was state runner-up last spring to Jimmy Roebker of Covington Catholic. Roebker is headed to Xavier University.
■ UK signed four Kentucky high school baseball stars: Lexington Christian outfielder Lucas Witt; Tates Creek pitcher/infielder Trevor Gott, Western Hills pitcher/shortstop J.T. Riddle, and Trinity pitcher Corey Littrell.
■ Northwestern Ohio, which will be starting a baseball program next year, signed three local players: infielder Zyler Cosby and outfielder/pitcher Phillip Donovan from Tates Creek and Lafayette pitcher Conner Asay.
■ Eastern High School's Kyle Cornett signed to play baseball at Murray State. Cornett had a 4-2 pitching record with a 1.58 ERA and hit .532 with 30 RBI.
■ Paul Laurence Dunbar swimmer Kristen Wilson signed with UK this week.
■ Tates Creek graduate Kelsey Floyd has been named the SEC's female swimming and diving freshman of the week for the second time. Floyd had two wins and two second places to lead the Lady Vols to victory over South Carolina last Friday. She competes in freestyle, butterfly and backstroke.
■ Scott County golfer Kyle Wilshire, who finished in the top 10 in the state tournament as a sophomore and junior, signed with Central Florida. He's the first Scott County golfer to sign with a Division I school.
■ Raegan Deaton of Green County and Ryan Moses of Williamsburg were named Kentucky's winners of the Wendy's Heisman Award, and now have a chance to be one of 12 national finalists. Deaton has won state track titles in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, is a two-time region cross country champ, and a four-year starter in basketball. Moses starred at quarterback at Williamsburg and in his career threw for 8,978 yards and 92 TDs and ran for 2,191 yards and 33 TDs.
■ Condolences to the family of Dick Webb of Winchester, who died Tuesday. He was 82. Mr. Webb was a big sports fan, and a regular at Clark County basketball games and the Sweet Sixteen. He was standout basketball player at Richmond Madison and was selected to the Kentucky All-Stars in 1945. He was also a member of the 10th Region Hall of Fame.
■ To mark his 80th birthday, former Tates Creek football coach Roy Walton will be feted at a reception, dinner and roast on Nov. 30 at the Lansdowne Signature Club. Tickets are $30. Make checks payable to Dave Bunnell, and send them to 1209 Trumpeter Row, Lexington, KY., 40502.