Hurricane blows Rockets back on the road

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By Todd Martin

The wind stopped blowing Sunday evening, but Hurricane Ivan is still wreaking havoc.

When Jefferson County Public Schools decided to cancel all activities for the week because of damage from the storm, Shelby County High School and several other schools were left scrambling to fill open weeks in the football schedule.

That meant Doss wouldn't be SCHS's guest for tonight's scheduled home opener.

Instead, the Rockets will travel to Johnson Central for the season's third game. The home opener will now be Oct. 3 against Manual.

Johnson Central contacted SCHS head football coach Todd Shipley Wednesday about potentially playing, but the Rockets were also exploring other opportunities.

The Rockets talked to Bullitt East and Anderson County, but conversations with both of those broke down.

Bullitt East was looking for a home game and got Henderson County to come, and Anderson's game against Jeffersontown will have to be made up because it is a district game. That left the Bearcats no choice but to have a bye week.

The Rockets then got back in touch with Johnson Central, and instead of Golden Eagles traveling to Shawnee as scheduled, they wanted Shelby County to head east to Paintsville.

"Going to Johnson Central ended up being about our only option," Shipley said. "They had a bye week to work with, and we just couldn't wait any longer."

The Golden Eagles will, however, make the trip worth the Rockets' time.

"They're going to give us $5,000 and feed the kids," he said. "We probably would've made between $6,000 and $8,000 for our first home game, but we just didn't have any other options. I told him I wasn't happy about coming up there and playing."

Johnson Central head coach Jim Matney said the cost wasn't an issue.

"They kind of couldn't pass it up because they were looking at losing a game and the gate and everything," he said. "Plus, it was going to cost us a lot to get to Shawnee anyway."

Though Shipley said he never has been through a situation like this before, Jim Matney has.

"The only time I've been through something like this was with 9-11," he said. "The day after that we had an assistant coach called in for active duty, and we had to cancel our game. Then we had to scramble around and look for another game."

Matney also knows what it's like to come up one game short.

"I know what they were feeling," he said. "I was part of a team [at Belfry] as a senior that only got to play nine games. I always looked at that as kind of a missed opportunity."

Now the Rockets and Golden Eagles are left with just one night to prepare for each other.

"We kind of looked at it like a scrimmage situation," Shipley said. "He (Matney) and I talked a little about what we do, how we line up.

"We probably both spoke a little in half-truths. I made sure to tell him that we rushed for 170 yards last week [against North Bullitt]."

Matney told Shipley that his team will run the ball but said they like to pass about 25 percent of the time.

"I said, 'Whoa, just a minute. You threw the ball five times in the first two games combined.'" Shipley said. "He added that they like to run it a little more this year, after that. But they are primarily a Wishbone team, with a little spread [offense], too."

The Rockets (0-2) will have to watch for two strong running backs on the Golden Eagles (3-0).

Chase Richardson rushed for 488 yards on 37 carries through the first two games, a whopping 11.3 yards per carry. The other big threat is also in the backfield; Nathan Dillon carried the ball 27 times for 248 yards through the first two games, an average of 9.2 yards per carry.

Johnson Central has not posted stats for its third game yet.

Since both teams will have a very limited time to prepare, Shipley said it would be tough.

"I'll get with the coaches, and we'll discuss it," he said. "But we just have to get our kids ready to play a very different type of football."

Aside from defending Shelby County's spread offense, Matney had another question.

"I don't even know how you count this game," he wondered.

Doss tickets

SCHS will issue refunds for tickets bought at American Founders Bank for the Rockets game against Doss. Bring the ticket to SCHS during school hours, between 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m., for the refund.

If you're going

You might want to pack a snack for the trip to Johnson Central tonight. The school is located at 257 N. Mayo Trail, Paintsville, 41240. According to Google Maps the trip is about 160 miles, and a little more than two-and-a-half hours.

Take I-64 East toward Lexington

Take Exit 98 (KY 402/ Mountain Parkway east) toward Prestonsburg/Campton

Turn left onto US 460

Make a slight right onto KY 321/KY 40

Turn right at KY 321/N. Mayo Trail