Vaught's Views: Pioneers area's big surprise

September 10, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Notes and thoughts on the high school football season going into week four tonight:

* If you were picking the Area Coach of the Year today, it would have to be Terry Yeast of Harrodsburg.

It's not surprising for this area to have an undefeated team, or teams, at this point. However, what is surprising is that the only unbeaten team in the area going into tonight's play is Harrodsburg.

The Pioneers might be short on numbers, but they are 3-0 and won't lose tonight because they have a needed week off to let whatever bumps and bruises they suffered so far heal before they play again.


While Harrodsburg certainly has not played the same caliber schedule as Boyle County, the Pioneers have still done more than many expected by beating Western Hills, Casey County and Mercer County. The biggest surprise was the way the Pioneers handled Mercer with ease.

Harrodsburg still may not be ready to challenge Danville for the Class A district title, but Yeast is getting the most out of talented sophomore running backs Cory Jackson and Brandon Ford. That's why the team with the area's smallest roster has more wins today than any other area team.

* It's time to start believing Boyle coach Chuck Smith when he says he's worried about his defense.

Defense is his forte. Smith hates seeing his team allow a first down, much less a touchdown. Yet the Rebels have already given up 94 points in three games, an average of 31.3 per game.

To put that total in perspective, consider that Boyle allowed only 149 points in 15 games in 2003 and 62 points in 15 games in 2002.

The Rebels just have not had the same aggressive, swarming defense that they've had in recent years. The good news is that the offense is so good that Boyle might be able to give up 30 points a game the rest of the year and still not lose again.

* Lincoln County coach Larry French hasn't needed nearly as long to develop a quarterback as the University of Kentucky coach staff has.

The UK staff says backup Andre Woodson, a redshirt freshman, still isn't ready to play despite having 15 months in the Kentucky system. French has started junior Jared Long, who hadn't played football since middle school, the last two games. He's not been hesitant to let him throw, either, as Long is 20-for-62 passing for 237 yards and two touchdowns.

French has apparently decided his first Lincoln team isn't going to overpower opponents with its running game and that he needs Long's passing to give the Patriots a chance to win.

* If there has ever been a more surprising player in the lasts 30 years to make such an important play in a key area game than Tyrell Johnson, I can't remember who it was.

He didn't look big enough to be on the field when he shocked everyone by returning a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown against Boyle last week. Danville still lost 37-30, but the freshman's return was as spectacular as it was unexpected. He saw a seam and went untouched to the end zone.

"It's almost like he was running scared, but he wasn't," Danville coach Sam Harp said. "I think we were all hoping for a big play, but we certainly didn't expect that. We just wanted him to catch the ball and go forward."

The 120-pound Johnson immediately earned Boyle's respect, as the Rebels kicked away from him the next time.

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