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Breathitt Football – A Retrospective Look Ahead… Game 5

Looking back at Estill and ahead to Powell County

JACKSON – September 18, 2019 – Fletcher Long – BSN

This week we will look back at the home win over Estill County then ahead to the challenges that Powell County will bring to Jackson, when the Bobcats host them Friday night.

We would mention the first KHSAA RPI rankings came out and Breathitt County was ranked 8th but within easy range of the team ranked 5th. We will continue to update our movement visa vie that rating service from now until the end of the year.  

A look back at Estill…

We predicted if Breathitt took care of the football and played assignment defense they would be 4-0 at evening’s end this past Friday night when Estill County came calling. Well, for the most part, check and check as the Bobcats are 4-0.

The Estill performance, particularly on the ground offensively, was impressive. There were some outstanding defensive performances too. 

On the night, against the Engineer defense, Breathitt found the end-zone on the ground 7 times. The TDs were distributed as follows: Charles Andrew Collins 3, Braxton O’Hara 2, Dalton Manns 1, and Lane Weddle 1. 

The Bobcats gained 353-yards on the ground against Estill and did all of this in only 27 carries. Collins, who was awarded the First National Bank of Jackson Offensive MVP for his performance, gained 173 yards in only 13 carries.  O’Hara also eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground (121-yards rushing in 7 carries). 

On the year, running behind Breathitt County’s Big Blue Wave (L-R, Tim Spencer, Teegan Smith, William Long, Derek Newcomb, and Connor Deaton) Breathitt has gained 1,129 yards rushing in 4 games, on 96 carries, with 20 rushing TDs. That is a per game average of 282.25 yards rushing, in 24 carries, and 5 rushing TDs; averaging a fraction over 11.76 yards every time we elect to execute a running play.

There were some noteworthy defensive performances too, especially for a unit which found itself on the field most of the night. Collins had 12 tackles total, 8 of which were solos to lead the team in both categories. The First National Bank of Jackson Defensive Co-MVPs were William Long, who had 10 tackles from the NG slot, 6 of which were solos, with a Tackle for Loss, and Brandyn Slaughter, who collected 5 solos, 2 interceptions, and forced a fumble. 

This was a game where picking a defensive most valuable player was a real crap-shoot as the broadcast team (who settled on two) wasn’t hurting for candidates. Come to think of it, we weren’t hurting for offensive candidates either. 

Seniors, Caden Hogg (10 tackles, 5 solos, a QB sack, and a recovered fumble); LaDaniel Whitaker (11 tackles, 5 solos, a recovered fumble, and a brilliant QB-Pressure where the receiver was wide open but the QB couldn’t shift his weight and hit the receiver, down-field, because Whitaker was cutting him in half just as he was attempting to throw the football), and Tim Spencer (7 tackles, 5 solos, and a forced fumble) were all candidates that could have easily been honored. 

Junior, Lane Weddle had a really good night as well, as he recorded 10 stops (5 solos, 5 assists). 

It was really a solid team performance. Pretty much what you have to do to make some of the early mistakes Breathitt did (fumbled punt return, allowed a fumble-scoop-and-score on the game’s 3rd play from scrimmage, and falling behind 13-6) and still come away winning 50-13. 

A look ahead to Powell County

Powell County is struggling so far this season. Considering how they have permitted teams to run on them, through the first four games (0-4), one would have to say they will have some sleepless nights between now and Friday with the obstacle it finds before them. 

Powell has allowed opponents to gain 904 yards on the ground through the first four games and have only managed to rush for 398. The Pirates have limited opponents to 224 yards passing but have only passed for 464 yards itself in spite of playing from behind quite a bit. Powell has scored 60 points but has allowed 115 through the first four. 

Holden Townsend is the QB and he is 12 of 34 on the year for 386 yards and 4 passing TDs against 2 picks. Should Holden be unable to answer the bell, Powell County will turn to Blake Hall. 

Justice Harmon is the leading rusher and has gained 175-yards on 44 carries on the year. Preston Wasson has an impressive per-rush average as he has gained 121 yards on the ground in only 15 carries. Harmon (2), Wasson (1), and Josh Ledford (1) have scored all four of the team’s rushing TDs.

On the bright side, Powell County has some kids having some incredible defensive years. Chimaobi Ajuonuma (No. 21) has registered 50 tackles in the first 4 games with 31 of those reported as being solos, 7 behind the line of scrimmage (TFLs), and is credited with a sack and a half. Justice Harmon (No. 44), also the leading rusher, has 38 tackles, 28 by solo with 3 TFLs and a QB sack, and Preston Wasson (No. 24) has 36 total hits, 24 solos, with one TFL. 

The team has 3 interceptions in four games and they are by Bailey Thomas (No. 3), Ajuonuma (No. 21), and Jason Mullins (No. 84). Ajuonuma returned his to the house for a pick-six. Considering the jersey numbers, it looks like all of the top-tacklers are second and third-level defenders which may explain opponents averaging 226-yards rushing per game. 

These two teams have one common opponent. On August 30, 2019, Powell County hosted Estill and lost 36-14. Just this past Friday night, Breathitt hosted Estill County, on the RiverBank, and won the game 50-13. 

Final Analysis

Breathitt is 4-0 and looking to move to 5-0 before they begin District play with a huge game on the road at Middlesboro. The Bobcats need to take care of business here and this Powell team hasn’t shown it can stop what this Breathitt team can do so well, run the rock.

The potential is certainly present for this to be lopsided. Look for the Bobcats to take care of business and get the W. 

Reporting for the Bluegrass Sports Nation, this is Fletcher Long reminding the Bobcats to continue to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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