The countywide All-Decade Team…kind of

Published 9:10 am Friday, September 13, 2019

When I first came to the Middlesboro Daily News in 2011 I had the ambition to one day cover sports. While reporting on general news was my job at the beginning, I assisted with covering football during the fall. Eventually, I moved into that lead sports role in 2015 and remained there until I took over as interim managing editor in 2018 — before taking a three-month absence and returning as the regional editor.

As I get older, I like to reminiscence about the days long gone. Covering sports was a passion, and I enjoyed watching the kids in our community grow into excellent athletes. So, it should be no surprise that Thursday night I started rummaging through old schedules. That’s when I got the idea of creating a list of the best single-season performances for players that I’ve covered.

I would call it an All-Decade Team, except I’ve only covered sports in the Bell County area from 2011 to 2018. So, this list will contain athletes in that time frame. This will be a two-story process — today offense and next week defense. I will lay a few ground rules I followed when establishing this list:

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• Considering the layout of most of our football teams, most athletes play both sides of the ball. With that in mind, a player will not be named to both offense and defense;

• Suggestions were based on either junior or senior seasons;

• Due to time and complexity, the offensive and defensive line will be collectively awarded instead of on an individual basis;

• Considering the line between tight end and lineman or wide receiver are blurred, I decided to go with three wide receivers instead of adding a tight end;

• Three linebackers and four defensive backs will be selected in addition to the defensive line;

• No players that currently play will be on this list;

• This list is subjective, but I do consider stats, strength of schedule and importance to the team.

Now, here we go:

First Team

Quarterback — Chase Roark: Middlesboro, 2011

Selecting a quarterback for this list was incredibly hard because there have been two that really stood out to me over my years covering sports. It was pretty much a coin flip with strength of schedule making the final determination. Chase Roark will take this spot for his performance in 2011.

In his final season with the Yellow Jackets, he threw for 2,523 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes. In addition, he threw only nine interceptions. On the ground, he led the team with 743 yards and eight touchdowns.

These numbers were against good competition as well. The opponents of Middlesboro went a combined 68-61 that year. Against Bell County, arguably the team’s top non-district opponent, Roark went 10-for-21 for 204 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Against Somerset, who was one win away from making the state championship game, he went 16-for-25 for 207 yards and one touchdown.

Running Back — Treyton Humfleet: Bell County, 2015

Who can forget Treyton Humfleet’s junior season with the Bobcats. Always crediting his offensive line during interviews, Humfleet broke the school record for touchdowns in a single-season when he ran for 170 yards and five touchdowns in a second round playoff game against Powell County.

Overall, Humfleet rushed for 1,950 yards and 39 touchdowns while averaging 8.4 yards per carry. He rushed for over 200 yards in two games in 2015. Against Whitley County, he ran for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Exactly one week later, against Casey County, he rushed for 205 yards and five touchdowns.

Running Back — Jonathan Polly: Bell County, 2012

Jonathan Polly makes this list with probably the least fanfare, mainly because he was able to accomplish his feats while sharing half of the carries with Ryan Collett (who also rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2012). In a year where Bell County went 8-2 in the regular season and narrowly missed out on a regional championship, Polly led the team on the ground with 1,795 yards. Even more impressive, he averaged 9 yards per carry throughout the season while racking up 20 touchdowns.

During his senior season, Polly registered over 200 yards in three games — Middlesboro, Casey County and Corbin. Against Middlesboro, he finished with 236 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. He improved on those numbers three weeks later against Casey County, where he ran for 235 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries. Two weeks after that he rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns against Corbin.

Wide Receiver — Will Adams: Pineville, 2015

An all-purpose standout for Pineville, Will Adams’ junior season at wide out makes the list. A testament to Bart Elam’s balanced offense, Adams was able to rack up nearly 1,000 yards receiving in 2015. He finished the year hauling in 45 receptions for 904 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Adams had three games where he tallied over 100 yards receiving and one game where he registered over 200 yards. Against Jenkins, the then-junior hauled in 214 yards on just three receptions. In a loss to Williamsburg, he caught seven passes for 104 yards. In a season-ending defeat to Hazard, he tallied 143 yards on seven catches.

Wide Receiver — Zach Riddle: Middlesboro, 2011

One of the main beneficiaries of having Chase Roark as a quarterback, Zach Riddle was the leading receiver for Middlesboro in 2011. In his junior campaign, he hauled in 36 receptions for 764 yards and six touchdowns.

While not as explosive as some players on this list, Riddle was definitely consistent throughout 2011. He passed the century mark against Lynn Camp hauling in five catches for 109 yards and one touchdown. Against Morgan County, he tallied 90 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. In five other games, he registered at least 80 yards.

Wide Receiver — Austin Poindexter: Middlesboro, 2013

Another Middlesboro receiver makes the list with the 6-5 Austin Poindexter. In his senior season with the Jackets, Poindexter led the team with 673 yards and five touchdowns on 34 receptions. His performance during the season helped Middlesboro to a 9-3 record and a second round appearance in the playoffs.

Poindexter’s best game came against a district opponent in Lexington Christian. During the victory, he pulled in four receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up with a four-catch, 125-yard performance against Leslie County in the first round of the playoffs. He capped off his career in an overtime loss to Somerset, where he hauled in 130 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.

Offensive Line — Pineville, 2016

Selecting an offensive line was difficult. KHSAA doesn’t keep records of pancake blocks or sacks allowed. This is strictly from memory and the eye test. That’s why Pineville’s offensive line in 2016 makes the cut. Any time your team both rushes and throws for over 2,000 yards, your offensive line has something to do with it.

If you want proof, just look at the stats that senior quarterback Tucker Woolum put up during that year. He passed for over 2,000 yards and added over 1,000 yards on the ground. That doesn’t happen unless the line gives him time to throw and opens up holes in the defense.

Second Team

Quarterback — Tucker Woolum: Pineville, 2016

Running Back —Corey Davenport: Bell County, 2011

Running Back — Matt Golden: Pineville, 2018

Wide Receiver — Byron David Asher: Pineville, 2012

Wide Receiver — Corey Hariston: Middlesboro, 2016

Wide Receiver — Tyler Green: Bell County, 2012

Offensive Line — Bell County, 2015