High School Sports

Mike Fields notebook: Two-sport stars a welcome trend

Christian County quarterback Anthony Hickey slashed and dashed his way to 108 yards and three touchdowns (and threw for 119 yards) in a 42-14 victory over Henderson County last week.

Ballard wide receiver DeVante Parker showed great moves and great hands while snagging seven passes for 227 yards and three TDs in a 42-14 rout of Central.

Hickey and Parker are the same guys who flashed their hoops talent in the Sweet Sixteen in Rupp Arena last March.

Hickey, who has basketball offers from WKU and Oklahoma State, is an ultra-quick point guard who had 46 points in Christian County's two state tournament games.

Parker, who has committed to play football at Louisville, is an athletic wing man who had 30 points and 21 rebounds in Ballard's run to the Sweet Sixteen finals.

In this age of specialization, it's nice to see guys playing both basketball and football. But it's nothing new. The list of Mr. Football winners includes several guys who were also basketball standouts, including Michael Bush, Dennis Johnson, Douglas Beaumont, Tim Couch, Jared Lorenzen and Curtis Pulley. Few Mr. Basketball winners played football. Chris Lofton was a notable exception.

Christian County basketball coach Kerry Stovall loves for his players to compete in both sports. Stovall said that he and football coach Steve Lovelace agree that "this is high school. We want these to be years of great memories — not regrets of not playing a certain sport."

When Mike Jackson took over as Ballard football coach in 2008, Bruins basketball coach Chris Renner made it clear he liked his players taking part in both sports. "From day one he told me how much it helped his basketball guys to play football," Jackson said. "That ought to go out to every basketball and football coach in the state. It's about giving kids the best opportunities." Jackson noted that Flo Hardin, another two-sport player at Ballard, was labeled a big-time basketball prospect early in his career, but he wound up being better in football and has committed to Indiana.

Even Brian Brohm, Louisville Trinity's golden-arm QB a few years ago, didn't limit himself. He wasn't a star in hoops, but he played and started on the only Shamrocks team ever to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

Clark County's Corey Rogers and Mason County's Neal Pawsat are also examples of double-sport stars. Both are better known for playing on high-profile basketball teams, but their college futures are in football.

Highlands is one of the most powerful football programs in the state, but Coach Dale Mueller encourages his guys to play other sports. Lorenzen and Derek Smith, remember, not only helped the Bluebirds win a state football title, but also to three consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearances. "High school sports are a great benefit to kids in so many ways, to specialize doesn't make sense," Mueller said. "If you can have fun with your buddies and be a part of those teams, it's crazy not to play more than one sport."

■ A tough few weeks for Harlan County football gave way to some good news when Coach Tom Larkey got his 250th career win last week. Larkey, who started the Black Bears' program three years ago, got most of his victories in 23 years at Rockcastle County. Including his time as an assistant, this is Larkey's 39th year on the sidelines. "When you start looking back, that's a lot of water under the bridge," he said. Larkey's first victory came at Laurel County in 1974. His sweetest victory? "Beating Highlands (45-6) in 2002 and having a running clock," he said. Harlan County has had a rough go of it recently. Two of its best players — Tucker Lewis and Cody Taylor — suffered season-ending knee injuries. "When these things happen, you've got to go on, you can't lay down and give up," Larkey said. In the win over Lee, Va., last week, the Bears got a lift from Dylon Smith, who had a school-record 17 tackles, and Jeremiah Eldridge, who blocked two punts.

■ Fort Campbell visits Fort Knox in the Army Bowl on Friday night. Three-time defending state champ Fort Campbell has beaten the Eagles seven years in a row by a combined score of 363-22. Fort Knox hasn't had a TD against the Falcons since 2005. Both teams are winless. Fort Campbell is 0-3 against Tennessee teams.

■ Ashland Blazer quarterback Sam Hunter grabbed the headlines after a rough-and-tumble 36-22 victory over Belfry last week. Hunter totaled 300 yards and four touchdowns running and passing as the Tomcats stayed unbeaten. But David "Dirk" Payne, a sideline reporter for radio station WVBV-FM (97.1), also had a memorable night. Payne was tossed from Putnam Stadium in the closing minute after he berated an official. "I deserved (the ejection)," said Payne, a die-hard Ashland fan. "I let the guy know I felt the game was entirely too rough, out of control, and that it was on the verge of breaking loose."

Payne, whose comments did not go out over the air, regrets his behavior. "I'm thoroughly embarrassed and a little humbled by the whole thing. I didn't want to take away from a great win," he said. Payne and Dicky Martin have teamed up on Ashland Blazer football and basketball broadcasts for 35 years. The irrepressible Martin said he's never been tossed from a football game but has been kicked out of a gym or two.

■ Boyle County and Danville dominated the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic last Saturday. Defending 4A champ Boyle County won its 18th game in a row by beating host Corbin 42-10. Danville dumped Pikeville 54-0 as QB Devonta Alcorn threw for 236 yards and five TDs.

■ Clay County had the comeback of the week. The Tigers trailed Middlesboro 35-7 midway through the third quarter before rallying to win 43-42. John Wilson hit Noah Reid with a 62-yard TD pass to make it 42-41 with 24 seconds left. Wilson threw to J.V. Hooker for the two-point conversion and the victory.

■ Hazard won a 48-35 shootout over Letcher County Central as QB Jon Combs threw for 356 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 115 yards.

■ In its first two games this season, Lawrence County has rung up 151 points (76 on Paintsville, 75 on Shelby Valley). The Bulldogs scored a total of 92 points while going 0-11 two years ago.

■ J.J. Jude rushed for 207 yards to lead Johnson Central past Knox Central 29-28.

■ Seneca QB DaMarcus Smith completed 17 of 33 passes for 250 yards and three TDs, and he ran for 50 yards and a score in a come-from-behind 29-26 win over Fern Creek. Smith has committed to Louisville.

■ Marc Wynstra's 25-yard field goal in overtime lifted 1A Mayfield to a 23-20 victory over defending 3A champ Paducah Tilghman. Wynstra had three field goals as the Cardinals beat their archrivals for the fifth year in a row. Tilghman leads the long series 47-40-10.

■ According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Dayton Coach Zach Deaton has been suspended for three games for punching out a window on the team bus after a 51-0 loss at Taylor, Ohio.

■ Pike Central QB Alan Boggs threw for 321 yards and three TDs and ran for three scores in a 50-0 blowout of Boyd County.

■ Simon Kenton's Cody Herald kicked an 18-yard field goal in the closing seconds to cap a fourth-quarter comeback and a 31-28 victory over Dixie Heights. QB Chad Lawrence passed for 272 yards and three TDs, and ran for 113 yards and a TD. Dixie QB Zeke Pike threw for 216 yards and two TDs, and ran for 80 yards and two scores.

■ After Marion County held off Collins 30-27 in a matchup of strong 4A teams, Jeff Robbins told the Lebanon Enterprise it might have been the biggest win in his seven years as Knights coach. Joseph "Buster" Hazelwood ran 29 times for 189 yards.

■ If you weren't lucky enough to have known former Dunbar basketball coach and teacher S.T. Roach, who died last week, you can get a glimpse of the extraordinary gentleman thanks to KET. Renee Shaw's 2007 interview with Mr. Roach will be aired Friday at 4:30 p.m. on KET2. The interview is also available at ket.org.

■ The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches' annual clinic is Sept. 17-18 at the Lexington Hyatt. Speakers include UK assistant Orlando Antigua, Murray State Coach Billy Kennedy, EKU Coach Jeff Neubauer, Loyola Marymount (and former EKU) coach Max Good, former Clay County Coach Bobby Keith, and Jason Booher, who led Shelby Valley to the state title last year before leaving to become coach at Holmes. The KHSAA coaches clinic requirement will be part of the event. A form is available at www.kentuckybasketballcoaches.org.

■ Former Gallatin County star Trent Maddox, a 6-4 guard, signed to play basketball at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

■ Fayette County's five public high schools will hold their boys' and girls' city golf championships at Tates Creek Golf Course on Monday.

■ Lexington Christian's boys and girls are in the Class A Soccer Cup this weekend at Frankfort's Sower Field. The small-school state tournament includes No. 6 Collegiate and No. 12 Bethlehem on the boys' side, and No. 6 St. Henry and No. 17 LCA on the girls' side. LCA's girls have been runners-up the last three years. The title games are Sunday at 5 p.m. (girls) and 7 p.m. (boys).

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