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BluegrassPreps.com Mr. Football Watchlist (9/20)


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Wild Colt Can't Be Tamed

West Jessamine and Ashland convened in Nicholasville for what was supposed to be an exhibition in the sport of football, but what unfolded over the next couple of hours more closely resembled some conglomeration of a basketball game and a track meet. The pace set was fast and furious, keeping statisticians on their toes. When the final score made the rounds, there was one logical conclusion to draw: Jacob Jones had himself a night. Actually, he had himself two nights worth of offense. He made Ashland defenders look like they were all in their first year of organized football. In fairness, the Tomcats did the same to WJ's defense and ultimately came out the victors. Jones amassed a whopping 639 yards (352 passing/287 rushing) of total offense and eight touchdowns. Seven of his scores were via the ground, placing him in a tie for third all-time for single game rushing touchdowns in KHSAA history. Jones now leads the state in rushing yards and is on pace for a 2K/2K, 50 touchdown season. 

Your move, Goodin.

 

Diversifying Portfolios

It can be a challenge to quantify the value of players who primarily make their bones in pass coverage. On reputation alone, it's a safe assumption that the best coverage men are excelling at their craft. For players of that ilk, offensive and special teams contributions can enhance a Mr. Football profile tenfold. Such is the case for two of the state's premier defenders. Frederick Douglass just concluded its annual "lamb to slaughter" routine with the FCPS by hammering Henry Clay. An interception and punt return score by Ty Bryant were among the night's festivities. The special teams touchdown was his second of the season. With his fast twitch ability, allowing him a clean look at a return is akin to playing with fire. Sooner or later, you're going to get burned. 

Fellow SEC commit Cristian Conyer did his part to turn one of last week's marquee games into a mere formality against Paducah Tilghman. Like Bryant, his multifaceted talent played a significant role in the outcome. He caught a career high seven balls, including one for a touchdown, and pilfered his first interception of the season to cap a night of exceptional pass defense by South Warren. 

 

Birchfield Digs Up Treasure, Buries Pirates

You could feel it in the crisp mountain air. A great back will only be held down for so long. Blake Birchfield finally has his statement game after leading Pikeville to a romp of Belfry. He worked the Pirates over for season highs of 180 yards and four touchdowns. The Panthers appear to be going forward with the superior arm of Isaac Duty behind center, indicating a commitment to a more balanced offense. It worked like a charm against Belfry and could signal greater things to come for Birchfield, and in turn, Pikeville. He's still well behind last year's pace, but a performance like this could trigger an avalanche in the mountains. Stay tuned.

 

Carter And Fisher Stand Tall

That's not hard to do when you're 6'5" and 6'7", respectively. 

In a colossal Louisville/Cincinnati catholic school collision, St. X tested its mettle on the hallowed grounds of 'The Pit'. Micah Carter led a valiant defensive effort before the Tigers wore down in the fourth quarter. The future Boilermaker recorded a pair sacks in defeat and could just be warming up. "The Game" awaits this weekend, with potential for a massive boost in Carter's Mr. Football profile. 

Oryend Fisher continued his early season tear with another sack and a few more tackles for loss against Bourbon County. He's the first in the state to reach double digit sacks this year. His numbers could be astronomical by season's end, but the competition has been lacking. He has a week off before Scott County and Frederick Douglass come calling in two of his next three games. His place in this conversation will either grow exponentially or fade into the background over the next month. 

 

Odds And Ends

- The watchlist mostly aims its spotlight on the positives each week, but the negatives also play a role in shaping the Mr. Football narrative each year. In this case, 'negative' refers to the collective rushing yardage total for Mitchell Berger and Antonio Robinson Jr. against Covington Catholic. The two combined for -10 yards on 7 carries. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreary night for the Tigers, was a kick-off return touchdown by Robinson.

- The yearly tradition of Owensboro retreating into the shadows of district play is officially underway, which equates to a lot of light workloads for Kenyata Carbon. He made the most of limited touches against Breckinridge County, with a little over a hundred yards and three touchdowns on four carries.

 

Players Highlighted This Week:

Jacob Jones (QB, West Jessamine)

Season to date: 77/127 for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns with 2 interception | 1,016 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns

Highlights: vs. Ashland

 

Ty Bryant (ATH, Frederick Douglass)

Season to date: 8 rushes for 117 yards and 4 touchdowns | 2 kick return touchdowns | 1 interception 

 

Cristian Conyer (ATH, South Warren)

Season to date: 17 receptions for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns | 1 interception 

 

Blake Birchfield (RB, Pikeville)

Season to date: 69 carries for 467 yards and 8 touchdowns

 

Micah Carter (DL, St. Xavier)

Season to date: 28 tackles | 6 tackles for loss | 3 sacks 

 

Oryend Fisher (Edge, Great Crossing)

Season to date: 34 tackles | 16.5 tackles for loss | 10 sacks | 1 forced fumble and 2 recoveries

 

Mitchell Berger (RB/LB, Beechwood)

Season to date: 72 rushes for 614 yards and 11 touchdowns | 13 receptions for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns | 1 forced fumble and 2 recovered | 10/10 on extra points | 1/1 on field goals

 

Antonio Robinson Jr. (ATH, Beechwood)

Season to date: 11 receptions for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns | 1 rushing touchdown | 1 kick return touchdown

Highlights: vs. CovCath

 

Kenyata Carbon (ATH, Owensboro)

2021: 80 carries for 673 yards and 11 touchdowns | 1 receiving touchdown | 1 interception

Highlights: vs. Breckinridge County

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3 hours ago, Tkinslow said:

If Stockton at Glasgow stays healthy and keeps rushing for over 200 yards a game sooner or later it’s looks like he would at least get a mention.

I don't see Stockton as having much of a shot at this, but he's at least on the radar now. Glasgow's schedule is what's hurting him most at the moment. He needs a big game this week against a good Greenwood team.

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3 hours ago, DevilMayCare said:

I don't see Stockton as having much of a shot at this, but he's at least on the radar now. Glasgow's schedule is what's hurting him most at the moment. He needs a big game this week against a good Greenwood team.

I agree he’s not going to win it he doesn’t play for a high enough profile school. it wouldn’t matter if he rushed for 400 yards a game I just think he at least deserves to me be mentioned 3 straight games over 200 yards and really could’ve been 5 if Glasgow had wanted to run up the score on the first two but that’s not how Garmon rolls.

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2 minutes ago, DevilMayCare said:

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Do you see a favorite at this point in the season DMC?  Up until last week I would have said Mitchell Berger (and I believe he is still at the top of the list) but who else would you consider a favorite?

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14 minutes ago, theguru said:

Do you see a favorite at this point in the season DMC?  Up until last week I would have said Mitchell Berger (and I believe he is still at the top of the list) but who else would you consider a favorite?

I'll throw Ty Bryant out there as a potential favorite. The thing working against him is the lack of offensive numbers. But if there were ever a year where someone could win the award primarily on defense and special teams, this is it. He checks off all the other boxes. 

✔ Plays for a top ranked championship favorite 

✔ UK commit

✔ Electric with the ball in his hands

✔ Excels in multiple phases of the game

 

The precedent was set two years ago, when Jager Burton was co-Mr. Football with Hergott. I think the award should go to the best football player in the state, not just the one with the gaudiest numbers. Hergott and Burton were equally deserving in 2020. 

If we're talking numbers alone, throw Kenyon Goodin and Jacob Jones in there. But they'll probably both be out by the second week of the playoffs, while Bryant and Berger will remain fresh in voter's minds a few more weeks. 

My completely unbiased opinion is that Berger and Bryant are the two best football players in the Commonwealth this year, but this is as wide open as I've seen the field in the years I've been doing this.

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1 minute ago, DevilMayCare said:

My completely unbiased opinion is that Berger and Bryant are the two best football players in the Commonwealth this year, but this is as wide open as I've seen the field in the years I've been doing this.

This!  Thanks DMC.

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