For The Beacon
ASHLAND (6-0) vs GREENUP COUNTY (2-3)
This has been a meeting that fate does not appear to want to happen as this will be the third attempt for these two teams to meet this season. After COVID canceled both meetings in the regular season and Greenup County appeared to have shut down its season, the duo will give it a go Friday night at Putnam Stadium.
Ashland enters with a high-octane offense paced by Keontae Pittman and JT Garrett, but the defense has been lights out as well. In the Tomcats six games this season they have allowed only 35 points, pitched back-to-back shutouts in their last two contests and allowed double-digit points in only one game all season (Raceland-15).
Caleb Tackett leads the defensive unit with 66 tackles and a sack. Kolby Coburn’s four sacks are best on the team. Tristian Rayburn, Zaine Christian and Eric Billups each have two. Ashland has forced four fumbles, recovered five and has four interceptions on the season.
It’s no secret, Ashland goes as Pittman goes as the speedy tailback is averaging 124 yards an outing. Pittman has accounted for half of the Tomcats 28 rushing touchdowns on the season. Garrett is a dual threat on offense, accounting for 359 rushing yards and 425 receiving yards. He has 10 total touchdowns, five in each category. Tackett along with Vinnie Pallandino provided rushing support as needed, accounting for 552 rushing yards and seven TDs between them.
Quarterback Brett Mullins has completed 31 of 60 passing attempts for 610 yards. He has seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
As for Greenup County, it will be much like Week 1 for the Musketeers who have not played a game since Oct. 16 at Breathitt County. Missing from the mix will be senior tailback Quintan Farrow who suffered a shoulder injury at Russell leaving Ike Henderson as the primary running back for the Musketeers. Henderson has accumulated 333 yards and a score.
Sophomore quarterback Carson Wireman will shoulder the task of creating a free-flowing offensive attack, tossing for 523 yards, six touchdowns and four picks. His primary targets; Auston Clarkson and Brayden Craycraft, who have accounted for all but 40 of the Musketeers’ receiving yards.
PREDICTION: This game on paper will look as much as it will in real-time, a dominating performance by the Tomcats. A combination of Ashland’s size and speed on the offensive side of the ball and Greenup County not playing a game in over a month does not lend itself well to the Musketeers hopes of slowing down Pittman and company from win No. 7.
ASHLAND 55 GREENUP COUNTY 7
RUSSELL (6-2) vs EAST CARTER (4-2)
The regular season meeting between these two did not happen due to COVID. While the Raiders suffered three game cancellations due to COVID and last played on Oct. 30, Russell’s only game lost to the virus was the East Carter contest and came into the game hot off a dominating win over Raceland.
After a two-game losing streak, Russell righted the ship in its regular season finale and hopes to continue the momentum this week in the visit to Henry Evans Stadium by the Raiders. Outside the one-point, overtime win over Simon Kenton, Russell has dominated its opponents in the Red Devils six wins.
Russell is led by senior quarterback Charlie Jachimczuk who has had a breakout season as the signal caller. Jachimczuk has thrown for 1309 yards and 13 touchdowns to only four picks. His feet have also played into the Devils offense, scampering for 200 yards and three scores.
Leading the Russell rushing attack is senior Nathan Conley. Although battling through an ankle injury, Conley has tallied 449 yards and eight scores in seven games this season. Ethan Oborne has carried the load in Conley’s absence, rushing for 320 yards and seven TDs. A healthy Chase Snedegar has provided the Red Devils with a bullish back near the goal line, including four scores.
Of Jachimczuk’s targets this season through the air, an example of a balanced spreading of the ball is evident. The senior has thrown TDs to seven different receivers and no receiver has over 300 yards. Mason Lykins leads the way with
283 yards and three scores. Carson Patrick (214), Doug Oborne (212), Hunter Martin (199), and Conley (160) each have two.
Defensively, Russell has forced eight fumbles and recovered nine while recording 15.5 sacks and 12 interceptions. Landon Taylor leads the team with 47 tackles. Bradley Rose’s 3.5 sacks is best with Anthony Blevins turning in 2.5. Lykins has five picks in the back end and Jachimczuk has returned both picks for scores.
For the Raiders, the offense leans on its ability to run the football led by Jacob Underwood and Charlie Terry. Underwood has 605 yards and eight TDs while Terry has tallied 501 yards and four scores. The Raiders have only gone through the air for 275 yards this season with Dawson Whitt’s 150 yards on 10 grabs leading the way. Kanyon Kozee has thrown for five touchdowns without an interception but has connected on less than 50% of his attempts, going 22 of 55 through the air.
Brodey Stamper leads the Raiders defensively with 45 tackles while Terry has 37 stops, five for loss and a pair of sacks. Bryson Kiser leads the team with 3.5 sacks.
PREDICTION: Russell wants to turn this game into a track meet while East Carter would be content for a gingerly walk through the park. Expect the Raiders to try and control the tempo and pace of the game by grounding and pounding the rock while using every second on the play clock prior to the snap. For Russell, the air attack will open up the running lanes for Conley and company to streak to the endzone. Expect the Raiders to hang around for a quarter but the Red Devils have too many options to stop.
RUSSELL 44 EAST CARTER 13
BOYD COUNTY (3-4) vs HOLMES (7-2)
This will be a rematch of the Oct. 9 contest in Cannonsburg that saw Boyd County take its first loss on its new turf, 26-15. Boyd County outgained Holmes 324-215 but could not find an answer to keep Tayquan Calloway out of the endzone as the tailback carried the ball 11 times for 104 yards and three scores.
Joe Lusby led the Lions with 90 yards on 10 totes and Logan Staten recorded both Lions touchdowns on the ground. Staten, however, struggled through the air, going 3 of 13 for 53 yards and an interception.
The Bulldogs enter the matchup as winners of their last six with quarterback Quantez Calloway leading Holmes with 1,024 rushing yards and eight scores. Tayquan has 773 yards and 10 TDs. Defensively, the Bulldogs have snagged 17 interceptions led by Tayquan Calloway’s five. Miguel Garcia has four.
Boyd County features a three-headed monster from the backfield, with each going for over 500 yards this season. Carter Stephens (561) has five scores, Staten (545) has a team-high eight TDs and Jacob Kelley (528) has added four. Although Boyd County primarily is a running team, Staten will look to the air and Austin Gibbs is his primary target. Gibbs has hauled in seven of Staten’s 17 completions including a pair of scores.
Staten and Lusby anchor the Lions defense, with 68 tackles between the pair. Gibbs has three of the nine Boyd County interceptions. Staten has two.
PREDICTION: This contest looks to be a chess match with one rushing attack against another. A turnover in this contest looks to be key and a defensive score could decide the outcome. Boyd County’s last outing saw the Lions fall 18-17 to East Carter, yet the team dressed only 17 players that night due to COVID. A healthy and well rested Lions team will present a significant hurdle to the Bulldogs seventh consecutive win. However, when the clock hits zeros, the Calloways prove to be too much on their home soil, providing Holmes a narrow win over Boyd County.
HOLMES 24 BOYD COUNTY 19