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Breathitt Football

When Statistics Don’t Lie…A Look Back at the First Seven

photo by Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

JACKSON – October 9, 2019 – Fletcher Long – BSN

Samuel Clemens, who wrote under a pen-name by which he would be much more recognizable to you, believed there to be three types of lies. They were lies, (expletive deleted) lies, and statistics. 

That aside, people still pour through statistics and compile them and they remain an important part of any analysis concerning where a team stands performance-wise. Point is…statistics tell us something. Just what they tell us, and how important they are, is for debate which won’t be resolved here. 

Still, we thought it would be beneficial to take a peek at where Breathitt County is, statistically, as this is a bye-week anyway. We also thought we would take a stab at “reading the tea leaves” if you will by offering an overview of what it all tends to suggest.  Those overviews will be in bold and italicized.

Where are the Bobcats offensively and defensively team-wise?…

Only McCraken County, in the 6A classification, has scored more points this year in 7 games than Breathitt (340 to 335). The Bobcats are the most potent offense in the 2A classification (at 47.86 points per outing). The offensive potency is diminished by that the fact that two entire games this year have been played with the clock running from the opening kickoff. On both occasions, Breathitt did so with the specific intent to not “run-up the score” on those two opponents (Jenkins, Morgan). 

Defensively, the Bobcats are the top scoring defense in 2A, Commonwealth-wide, allowing 54 points in 7 games (7.714 per outing). This is likewise skewed as all but one TD this year has been scored on the defense after the game was out of reach and the point had been rendered moot. Same is true of yards allowed rushing as opponents have been limited to 675 yards rushing in 7 games (96.43 per game) but the front-seven defenders have been way stingier against the opponent’s ground attack than our statistics would indicate, as the below defensive numbers will disclose.

On the ground…

Breathitt has rushed for 1,611 rushing yards in 7 games in only 145 rushing attempts. The team has scored 33 rushing-TDs on the year. As an offense, Breathitt’s offense is averaging 11.11 yards per rushing attempt and a TD every 4.39 carries. 

In seven games, Breathitt is averaging 230.14 rushing yards a contest in only 20.71 carries per outing.  What this suggests is not only is the “Big Blue Wave” blocking well but all of the WRs and RBs (not carrying the ball) are getting into the act.  When you carry it 21-times a game and average a TD every 4.71 (or so) carries, there is blocking occurring well past the defensive first-level.

The leading rushers and their numbers are as follows: Charles “Geeny” Collins, 47-attempts, 796 yards, and 17 rushing TDs. Collins is averaging 113.7 yards per game in only 6.71 carries per. Collins is also scoring a rushing TD every 2.76 carries. Collins averages 16.94 yards per rushing attempt, which if the season were to end today, would be an all-time Kentucky KHSAA record.  The record requires a minimum of 75-carries on the year for recognition. Braxton O’Hara has carried it 34 times for 273 yards with 5 rushing TDs and Dalton “Red-Sledd” Manns has carried it 28-times for 275 yards with 6 rushing TDs on his résumé.

Through the Air…

As for through the air, Braxton O’Hara, who is presently recuperating from an injury, but expected to return, is 18 for 36 for 454-yards with 7 aerial TDs. Jaylen Turner, pressed into duty largely over the previous two games, is 13 for 23 for 270 yards with 3 aerial TDs. The team has completed 30 of 60 passing attempts for 723 yards with 10 TDs against zero interceptions.  The zero interceptions suggests the front has provided secure protection on downs where Breathitt has thrown the football as most interceptions are due to either making QBs throw on the run or QBs having to get rid of it when they aren’t ready.  

Receiving, Brandon Slaughter, who leads in interceptions too, has snared 10 passes for 280 yards receiving with 3 TD receptions. Lane Weddle has collected 9 footballs for 170 yards with 3 TDs, and Jacob Noble has caught 6 passes on the year for 153 yards with 2 receiving TDs.  The ratio of running plays to passing plays suggests the Breathitt has played with a sizable lead all year. The strategy involved in playing with a lead, versus playing from behind, impacts play-calling. Breathitt threw it more a year ago but had more urgency to score points, and preserve clock, over the course of 12-games where 4 losses were suffered. 

Where are the Bobcats defensively?…

Defensively, the unit has been nicknamed “The Nobodies.” My understanding is the nickname stems from the common lament we haven’t played “Nobody” coupled with our defense taking players who enter our game stars and leave with Breathitt having made them look like a bunch of “nobodies.”

The defensive statistics look really good for a team which plays a legitimate 3-4 base defense. What is meant by that is HS teams claim to run 3-4 where they are really standing up the OLBs as DEs and running a 5-2. With the Bobcats, the LBs are really playing on the second level and the down three are making plays. Not many teams have the personnel to do that from that defensive alignment in the high school game. You don’t see many defenses in HS really running a 3-4. You will see them run 5-2 and call it a 3-4. 

The tackle statistics are what you would expect from a 3-4 defense superbly manned to really play from that alignment. Many plays are made in the backfield for instance.  The leading tacklers are front-seven players. The Bobcat front seven are able to either hold point and split double teams or just jump through gaps and wreak havoc before plays get a chance to get down-hill, causing RBs to run sideways when the play was designed to run right at the defense.  

The tackle statistics bear credence to the above all being true. For the below stats, “S”=solo tackle, “A”=assist, “tot.”=total tackles, “TFL(s)”=tackles for loss, “QB-Sack” is what you think it is, “FF”=forced fumbles, and “FR”=is fumble recovery. 

Here are our leading play-makers on defense in the above categories…

LaDaniel Whitaker, 27S, 18A, 45 tot., 2TFLs, 1QB sack; 1FR;

Caden “Boss” Hogg, 25S, 19A, 44 tot., 7 TFLs, 2 QB sacks, 1FF, 1FR;

William “Tank” Long, 22S, 22A, 44 tot., 11TFLs, 1 QB sack, 2FFs;

Lane Weddle, 18S, 16A, 34 Tot., 2FFs, 1FR;

CA “Geeny” Collins, 22S, 11A, 33 Tot., 2TFLs, 1QB sack; and

Tim Spencer, 13S, 13A, 26 Tot., 2TFLs, 1QB sacks, 1FF.

Three of the top-six tacklers are the down-three. That is exactly what one would hope in deploying that base-defensive alignment. Most defenses running 3-4 are happy if their down-three can soak up blocks and let the 4 LBs flow to the ball. The Breathitt down-three are doing both, soaking up blocks (which is why the LBs are all making plays in the run game), and making plays themselves (which is why we have so many plays being made in the opponent’s backfield). 

Now, the team doesn’t have but a handful of QB-sacks (6). That is deceptive. For one, Morgan County didn’t attempt a single pass and many of the others have had to just throw the ball away as opposed to absorbing sacks. For two, Breathitt has 11 interceptions, two of which were returned for pick-sixes, in only 7 games.  Film can literally show you interceptions which resulted from passes being thrown up for grabs because the pass-rush was a split second from hitting the QB when he let it go. It changed the pass’s trajectory and was thrown before the receiver was deep enough in the route to look back for the ball. 

The back four…

Brandyn Slaughter leads with 4 interceptions with a pick-six and 75 return yards. Jaylen Turner has 3 interceptions with 42 return yards and a pick-six. Jacob Noble has 2 picks with both Blake Ritchie and Marcus Oliver (a DL) recording one pick-a-piece. 

Special teams have been aptly named…

Lane Weddle has been surgical, to date, in the kicking game. He has bottled up opponent’s all year with lousy field position, one time having Blake Ritchie streak down the field and downing his punt inside the one which was a safety the very next play. Weddle has housed (scored) both a kick-off and a punt so far this season. 


So what does this mean? Well, statistically BSN would analyze these numbers and relate that Breathitt is an undefeated football team with a huge margin of victory who has been dominating opponents in all three phases of the football game; offense, defense, and special teams. Seems to BSN, as the statistics we analyzed here definitely add up to that outcome, that the statistics we have above set forth don’t seem to be lying to anyone, with apologies to Mark Twain. 

Breathitt has a bye this week and will get back on the field next Friday, October 18th, as they travel to Hindman to take on the Knott Central Patriots. As usual, you will be able to watch the game here on BSN, through our LIVE webcast!!!

This is Fletcher Long reporting for BSN reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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