Ashland blow out Boyd County
ASHLAND -- The Ashland Tomcats have been steamrolling their competition, and didn't have any time to stop for rival Boyd County as they defeated the Lions, 56-16, Friday night at Putnam Stadium.
The game could have taken a much different turn.
On Ashland's first drive, a 2-yard run to the end zone by freshman Quentin Baker was negated by a holding penalty. On the next play, Tomcats running back Evan Youngue put the ball on the ground and the Lions pounced on it.
It gave Boyd County the perfect opportunity to set up their triple-option offense and perhaps dictate the pace of the game.
And that's just what the Lions were doing until Ashland defensive end Cade O'Bryan ripped the ball out of the arms of Boyd County fullback Gaje Ayres as he was falling down. O'Bryan raced 32 yards into the end zone for the first of many Ashland touchdowns.
"We had just turned it over, and I was looking to make a play," O'Bryan said.
"We start out and we were just gashing them, doing anything we wanted to do, and then we fumble the football," Ashland head coach Leon Hart said. "So our defense got on the field and did what they do more often than not, they made something happen. Cade's got a real knack for that."
The score was 6-0 at the end of the first quarter, but Boyd County really didn't threaten again.
Baker broke off a 58-yard run for a score early in the second quarter, then Ashland forced Boyd to go three-and-out.
On the next series, Ashland quarterback Aaron Elam went play action and hit receiver Malik Massey in-stride behind two Boyd County defenders for a 58-yard touchdown pass.
"We had run and run and run, and their safety was getting up in those plays," Hart said. "So, I though the next time we got the ball we'd (go for a post route). Aaron threw a great ball. It was a howitzer.
"We're really more of a play action passing team than a drop-back passing team. As well as we run the football, if they're going to get their safeties involved, we've got guys that can make them pay for it.
Baker finished the first half with 136 yards on the ground and a touchdown, marking his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game. He has also scored a rushing touchdown in every game this season. Not bad for a freshman who was expected to be more of a specialist until injuries thrust him into the starting position.
"I'll be honest at this point in the season we'd be lost without him," Hart said. "He just keeps making plays."
Boyd County got a 47-yard field goal before the half off the foot of sophomore Zac Bruner, and looked like they might make a game out of it in the second half when Jason Smith got loose for an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put the score at 28-9 with 8:19 left in the third quarter.
But on the very next drive Elam got loose for a 24-yard touchdown run, and Baker scored on a 64-yard run off a lateral from Elam on the drive after that.
By the end of the third quarter, the score was 42-9, and Boyd County had only converted one first down.
The scoring was capped for the Tomcats by two unlikely plays, as Slater Swift, a three-year starter at guard who was converted to fullback, rumbled in for a score after Hart had told him he wouldn't carry the ball all year.
The last touchdown was a 67-yard dash by backup quarterback Hunter Prince on a designed quarterback draw.
Ashland is now 7-1 on the season as the Lions drop to 2-4.
ASHLAND 6 14 22 14 -- 56
BOYD COUNTY 0 3 6 7 -- 16
A -- O'Bryan 32-yard fumble return (kick blocked)
A -- Baker 58 run (Youngue run)
A -- Massey 58 pass from Elam (conversion failed)
BC -- Bruner 41-yard field goal
A -- Baker 5 run (Elam run)
BC -- Smith 85-yard kickoff return (conversion failed)
A -- Elam 24 run (Elam run)
A -- Baker 64 run (run failed)
BC -- Ayres 1 run (Bruner kick)
A -- Swift 1 run (Massey pass from Elam0
A -- Prince 67 run (run failed)