Vaught's Views: Brandon Smith, Pioneers top midseason awards

September 26, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

This is the final night for area high school football teams to finalize preparations for the start of district competition next week. With that in mind, what better time to give out a few midseason awards.

* Best individual performance.

While there have been several noteworthy efforts, the easy winner here has to be Boyle County quarterback Brandon Smith for his play against Danville. He helped make sure that a game almost everyone expected to be close turned into a rout for the Rebels. Smith was 15-for-25 passing for 238 yards and ran 12 times for 56 yards. He helped account for five touchdowns and was easily the difference in Boyle's surprisingly easy 45-26 victory.

Honorable mention would have to go to Harrodsburg running back Mark Dunn for his 307-yard, six-touchdown performance against Paris in a 60-0 win.

* Biggest play.

Again, Smith has to be part of this one. It looked like Highlands was ready to beat Boyle last week when it took a 21-15 lead and had the Rebels backed up on their own one-yard line. That's when Smith hit Brad Cloud with a sideline bomb that went for 85 yards to set up the winning score in Boyle's 22-21 victory.


* Most surprising team.

Harrodsburg, no question. The Pioneers impressively whipped crosstown rival Mercer County and are unbeaten in four outings going into tonight's game at Grant County. First-year coach Terry Yeast not only has wisely made use of Dunn's talent, but he's also developed some other offensive weapons. He's restored confidence to a team that had fallen on hard times in recent years and wants more respect based on what junior lineman Richard Reilly wrote:

"I was just wondering why anybody hasn't given the Harrodsburg Pioneers any respect. We are 4-0 and we have the best defense in the area giving up only 26 points. We average about 41 points a game and also have the best running back in the state of Kentucky (Dunn). Things are changing at Hogtown and teams better watch out for us."

Consider other teams warned.

Honorable mention goes to Garrard County, which is riding a four-game winning streak after giving heavily favored Dunbar a close contest to open the season.

* Most disappointing team.

Casey County, no question. However, there's a good reason for what has happened. Coach Andy Stephens upgraded the schedule by adding non-district games with area foes Harrodsburg and Lincoln County. However, he didn't know then that quarterback Kyle Long would go out with a preseason injury, star running back Rex Delk would be slowed by an ankle injury and top receiver Blake McGinnis has also been hampered by an injury.

The result has been a 1-4 mark going into next week's district opener - the Steve Stonebraker Bowl - at Garrard County.

* Most improved player.

It has to be Mercer County placekicker Jason Chadwick. He played soccer in 2000, did not play any sport in 2001 and was a backup kicker in 2002. Now he's become a reliable placekicker with big-time range. He's already made seven field goals and 10 extra points for the Scotties this year. He's also playing regularly in the line and has emerged as a valuable player for the Scotties.

* Biggest mystery.

That has to be Danville's play. The Ads looked sensational against Manual, which later beat Trinity. They were overpowering against Somerset. In between they were lethargic at Lincoln County and soundly whipped by Boyle.

At times, the Admirals have looked like potentially the best team in Class A. At other times, they've looked like a team that won't be playing in December. Perhaps tonight's game at Highlands will let the team really show whether it will be a Class A contender or pretender.

* 110 percent award.

Give it to Lincoln coach Robbie Lucas. His team finally got its first victory last week at Casey, but the second-year coach has a plan and has not given up on the team or the future. He added games with East Jessamine and Danville this season and, despite the 1-4 record, the Patriots have improved in many facets of the game this year. Lucas could even get his team into the playoffs if it could win the next two games against Marion County and Taylor County, which would be an amazing feat.

Larry Vaught can be reached at

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