Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MSU football notes

Additions to Tuesday's Murray State football follow up:

Offensive operator: Jeff Ehrhardt, the 2007 OVC Freshman of the Year, returned from standing on the sidelines after healing from an injury to his throwing shoulder. He said after the game he felt better about his mechanics than ever, and coach Matt Griffin said Ehrhardt should be good to practice all week.

His 375 yards passing was the sophomore’s fourth 300-yard game of his career. The Racers’ 539 yards of total offense was the most since 2004’s season opener against Glenville State.

First quarter fits: Saturday’s game was the first time the Racers scored a touchdown in the first quarter this season. The Racers have been outscored 66-10 in the first quarter alone against five opponents.

Double-digit defense: Sixth-year senior linebacker Nathan Williams had 16 tackles against the UT Martin, his third double-digit tackle performance this season. Williams is the leading tackler in the OVC and in the FCS with 73 total tackles, a 14.6 per game average.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And the best referee jab goes to...

... the Heath student section cheering at the Pirates' boys soccer game against visiting Paducah Tilghman on Thursday night.

"Check your answering machine, you missed a call."

**Disclaimer: In no way does Dusty Luthy or The Paducah Sun condone unsportsmanlike conduct. However, creativity and uniqueness should be rewarded.

Monday, September 22, 2008

WKU vs. MSU and The Red Belt

There really is a "red belt" involved in the Battle for the Red Belt between Murray State and Western Kentucky University.

According to WKU game notes: The two teams have played for the Belt on 22 occasions since 1978, with WKU winning the trophy 14 times (there was one tie). It currently resides in the WKU training room for almost nine years since the Toppers took back the trophy with a 21-15 win on Oct. 2, 1999. The history of "The Red Belt" originated in 1978 when WKU athletic trainer Bill Edwards attended a district trainers' meeting with Murray State trainer Tom Simmons. As Edwards tells the story, Simmons forgot to bring a belt, and borrowed a red one from Edwards. After the meeting, when Edwards asked about his belt, Simmons responded that WKU would have to bat Murray State in football to get it back. Simmons had the belt mounted on a large plaque, complete with brass plates to keep WKU-Murray scores etched in history for years to come.

The Hilltoppers played for the first time in newly renovated Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium and featured a true sporting-event atmosphere.

Fireworks cracked with every score and during the National Anthem. Hawkers sold cotton candy and peanuts through the stands. The video scoreboard also broadcast a marriage proposal to a Margaret Tichenor, who appeared to say "Yes" to her intended.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

P.S. for Dynamic Dynasties

Photo of Mayfield's football trophy case, highlighting a leather helmet from ye olden days.

The Dynamic Dynasties series that ran this week in The Paducah Sun was not an easy task. The idea came to me over a month ago after listening to story after timeless story from Joey Fosko and Steve Millizer about different sporting programs through the area and their rise and fall.

I was not "in" on any of these stories because I am not a lifelong resident of the state. Being still a newbie from Missouri, it was important for me to learn these stories on a more personal level.

The five programs I chose to profile — Reidland softball, Mayfield football, Lone Oak tennis, Marshall County girls soccer and Paducah Tilghman track and field — cannot be disputed in their status as a dynasty. The facts, trophies, championships and alumni that these programs have contributed to western Kentucky are fathomless.

The 26 schools The Sun routinely covers in Kentucky and southern Illinois each have histories with plenty of stories to tell. Other programs have been successful over the years, but may have fallen short of reaching dynasty status or may have reached it at one time, but fallen off in recent years. The five programs are still considered tops in their sports.

One program I especially was pressed to mention was Marshall County girls basketball. The Lady Marshals clearly are one of the top girls basketball programs in the region year after year, but their dominance has been challenged lately, especially outside of the First Region. The Marshals have won nine of the last 18 regional championships after winning nine-of-10 in the 1980s. In 1982 and 1984, the Marshals won state championships, but the last win for the Marshals in the state tournament came in 1990.

In researching these stories, statistics and records were vital. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Web site, khsaa.org, was immensely helpful in compiling information. The Sun's own sports history file has been kept impeccably over the years, and I was delighted to find nearly everything I needed, and more, in our own system.

We actually have a single file dedicated to the Mayfield-Tilghman football series, that dates back to the first game in 1911.

The many, many coaches I contacted were also very helpful in providing statistics and information that we didn't have at our disposal. And thanks to whomever took over Stacey Bradley's bus duty the day I went to talk to him about Marshall County soccer.

Thank you for reading, and thank you coaches and players for helping me understand western Kentucky athletics a little better.

Headlines with the word "Flash" always stand out

Cassee Layne, Reidland's phenom pitcher, verbally committed to Michigan State on Wednesday night. See the story in Friday's Paducah Sun.


With Murray State football coach Matt Griffin staying in Murray on Saturday to serve his one-game suspension issued by the OVC, it looks like defensive coordinator Rich Nagy will be taking the reins against Western Kentucky.

Nagy is one of few veterans left on a Racers staff that saw great turnover on the offensive side of the ball after last season.


I am enchanted by the nuances outside the athletes that make up sporting events. This is no exception.

Previously, I've stated my favorite mascot I've found since coming to Kentucky has been the Madisonville Maroon, which looks more like a pompom than a mascot.

But Tuesday at Lone Oak, I found the Maroon's rival. In this rare sighting, the Lone Oak Purple Flash Boy/Girl was hamming it up during the Lone Oak vs. Marshall County volleyball game. He/she was utterly hilarious and worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This and that

Missouri tight end Chase Coffman leaps over a Southeast Missouri defensive player. photo from The Columbia Missourian.

One of my favorite sports photos right now. That's also my alma mater hurdling the competition. Missouri is a solid No. 6 right now in the national polls.


Murray State's football game at Western Kentucky will begin at 6 p.m. in Bowling Green, Ky.


Lone Oak wide receiver Jamarielle Brown has received scholarship offers from Murray State, UT Martin and Troy, he said after Friday night's win against Crittenden County. Brown, who holds three state receiving records after last year's season, is also talking with Purdue.


Lone Oak coach Jack Haskins became the school's all-time winningest head coach after Friday's win against the Rockets. His 32-16 record in just four years (plus two games of this, the fifth season), beats Tom Pandolfi's 31-32 record from 1979-1984.