Before his team played Lexington Catholic this season Frederick Douglas coach Brian Landis watched eight game videos of Catholic quarterback Beau Allen. He was impressed then, but even more impressed after his team beat Catholic 42-31.
"Beau was as good as advertised. I was more impressed with each game I saw him play and then against us he showed his grit and toughness.
We hit him and were able to get pressure with our front four, but he
never got rattled," Landis said. "My worry going into the game was
his ability to escape pressure and find his guys downfield. He did a
good job, buying some time when we missed and was able to make some
Allen completed 28 of 44 passes for 286 yards and one score against
Douglas. He threw for a touchdown and ran for another one in Douglas'
42-31 win. If those numbers don't impress you, consider that Douglas
has given up just 36 points in 12 other games and has shut out eight
Allen won the Paul Hornung Award last week given by the Louisville
Quarterback Club to the state's top high school player. He threw for
3,683 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2019 and ran for 517 yards and 12
scores. The Lexington Catholic quarterback finished his career with
11,439 yards passing and 127 touchdowns, both fifth all-time in
Kentucky, along with 1,133 yards rushing and 20 more touchdowns.
Catholic coach Nigel Smith, a former UK player, believes the "sky is
the limit" for his star player in college and is not worried about
him being overwhelmed by SEC competition like some are.
"I think his talent speaks for itself but I think one of the things
he has really picked up the last couple of years is knowing when and
where to use his talent, and that includes his legs," Smith said. "He
is probably as underrated as a runner as a pocket passer would be. He
led us in rushing several games the last two years. He had almost 200
yards rushing in the Belfry game (in the playoffs) last year.
"He's not afraid to run the ball and when your quarterback has the
arm talent he has and then the ability to use his legs, it's really
crucial to a team and hard on a defense. That threat of a running
quarterback just makes that threat of a passing quarterback even more
dangerous. Beau is the total package."
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops watched the Catholic-Douglas game and
Landis told the UK coach that Allen "was elite" when it came to
moving in the pocket despite the pressure Douglas' talented defense
put on him.
"He does a great job of getting out of trouble, feeling pressure and
avoiding pressure while keeping his eyes down the field," Landis
said. "He is sneaky fast as well. He is deceiving. Faster than he
looks. Made a few big first downs with his legs against us.
"He's a tough kid. We got after him pretty good, put him on the
ground, but he never got rattled. It was impressive. He's not the
kind of kid that is going to get gun shy after taking a lick."
That's one reason Catholic was able to make some big comebacks in
games this season. Allen doesn't back down from adversity.
"We were down in a lot of games and we handled it the right way. We
handled tough situations and came back and won games, and I am so
proud of that," he said.
Allen understands how difficult it was for UK to change offenses
midseason after injuries sidelined the top two quarterbacks. The Cats
lost the ability to pass when starter Terry Wilson went down with a
season-ending knee injury and then backup Sawyer Smith became
ineffective in his second start due to injuries. Stoops finally moved
receiver Lynn Bowden to quarterback in game six and UK has basically
a one-dimensional running offense now.
"They won big games and did a great job changing the offense," Allen
said. "Nobody in the world would have expected to be in the situation
they are in and nobody I can think of in a situation like that could
have done any better than what they have done. I really think highly
of them (UK coaches) for the way they are winning games."
Landis has no doubts Allen has the talent to help Kentucky keep
winning. He thinks Allen will "be just fine" in the SEC.
"He has the things you can't teach. The competitive spirit,
toughness, accuracy and vision. The good ones have that stuff. He is
elite in some of those areas, so yes, I think he will be a great
addition to UK," Landis said. "He processes well, makes good
decisions for the most part, and competes.
"And he's a great kid. I've known him for a short while now, and
absolutely one of the most genuine kids you will ever meet. I wish
him all the best. Glad I don't have to play against him again."
Brooks is still adjusting
Freshman Keion Brooks Jr. is still adjusting to what Kentucky coach
John Calipari expects from him and needs from him, especially with
Nate Sestina out indefinitely with a broken wrist. Brooks is
averaging 17.7 minutes, 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while
shooting 45.7 percent from the field going into Saturday afternoon's
game with Fairleigh Dickinson.
However, Brooks has quickly learned just how admired UK basketball
players are and become role models for young fans across the state.
"It's nothing I necessarily asked for, but I know that comes with
it. I have to carry myself in a way — I know little kids and other
people are looking at me, so I have to carry myself in a way that's
being a good citizen, being a good person and always doing things the
right way," Brooks said.
With Sestina out, Brooks admits there have been some "tough times"
and that him and others may have to play more minutes until Sestina
"We have got to play through some fatigue but Coach and everybody on
this team have the belief that anybody who goes out there can make a
positive impact on the game," Brooks said.
The positive for him is that with Sestina out, he's going to play
more and get more opportunities to learn, grow and either succeed or
fail. He's struggled from 3-point range (2-for-7) and at the foul
line (4-for-11). However, he is averaging a rebound per 4.5 minutes
"I'm not where I want to be. I always have the mentality that I got
room to get better and there's things I can learn and improve on
throughout the game," Brooks said. "The minutes that I have had, I
feel like I have done a pretty decent job of trying to make an
impact. I'm going to practice and keep going up and talking to Coach
Cal to see what I can do to help our team get better."
Duffy is All-American type performer
Punter Max Duffy has had an All-American type season for Kentucky by
leading the nation in punting average most of the season and is one
of three finalists for the prestigious Ray Guy Award given to the
nation's best punter. However, what makes Duffy happiest is that
despite the adversity UK has faced this year the Wildcats are still
"We also get that extra month of practice. We're all young guys,
which I think means a lot. We get to travel for a team, for a week,
which we only get to do that once a year," Duffy said. "I think it
really bonds the guys, I know I've made some really great
friendships, even more so over the bowl week (last year).
"It was great last year, and to be able to go do it again is awesome
for the team. Especially after coming through all the adversity this
year, losing our quarterback and having a new defense and all that
kind of stuff, I think it's a pretty impressive effort to get where
we have, and hopefully we can finish it off next week."
Quarterback Lynn Bowden, the catalyst to UK's resurgence with his
move from receiver at midseason, says it "definitely feels good" to
be bowl eligible.
"It means a lot to us. Me personally cause everyone doubted us. You
know just making a switch they said we weren't going to be good. I
mean our record doesn't show but I think we are a pretty damn good
team," Bowden said.
So does senior guard Logan Stenberg, who will be playing in his
fourth bowl game.
"I am just happy to be a part of it. We have had a lot of great guys
on this team over the past four or five years," Stenberg said. "We
have all chipped in and helped build this program to where it is
today and I am glad I am leaving it better than it was and beating
Louisville in our final home game was the best possible way to go out."
Volleyball team sweeps Mississippi
Kentucky volleyball swept Mississippi last week to claim its third
straight SEC championship and earn the right to host NCAA Tournament
play again this week where the Cats will be favored to win and
advance to the regional.
Kentucky (23-6) will play Southeast Missouri State (23-10) on Friday
and if it wins will play the Northern Kentucky-Michigan winner on
Saturday for a berth in the regional that likely will be hosted by
top seed Baylor. The other two top seeds in the region are Purdue and
Washington going into the first-round games.
Junior libero Gabby Curry wasn't looking too far ahead after the Ole
"I hope we go to practice Monday and we grind hard and get better
each day. All I can think about is getting better on Monday and
whoever we play (in the NCAA) and we will give them our undivided
attention," Curry said after clinching another SEC title.
She won't ponder whether this team, which has won eight straight
matches, is better prepared for NCAA play than others she's been on
"This year is different. I think that whatever is supposed to happen
will happen. I think we are going to work to make what we want happen
happen," Curry said. I think it is dumb to put all these forecasts on
our team and then get the expectations where you can put no pressure
on yourself and just say we are going to do the best you can.
"Do I think we are going to win the national championship? Yes. But
I am going to go out there and say that, no."
Just don't doubt her passion for wanting the title she has been
talking about since getting to UK.
"I do want to win a national championship. I am not backing down
from that," Curry said.
Kentucky coach Craig Skinner knows his team is playing well and had
to after dropping two home SEC matches
"To win eight in a row in this league in the environments we have
had to do it in the last few weeks isn't easy. We had to learn how to
serve better and serve tougher. There is a fine line and our serving
is a big piece of that," Skinner said. "There is a lot of pressure
and expectations when you are picked to win the league and everyone
just assumes you are going to win. There are no assumptions in
athletics. You have to perform. We had to learn how to fail a little
bit early and how to respond to that. I am proud our upperclassmen
came together to make that happen."
Quote of the Week: "It's very obvious why they'll be the No. 1 team
in the country come Monday. … They got multiple weapons, and multiple
big guys they can throw to in the paint. They don't have a lot of
holes," Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury after Louisville beat
his team 71-54 last week (Louisville plays at UK Dec. 28).
Quote of the Week 2: "They had those shot blockers right there.
Even when we penetrated, our guys had a pink elephant in the back of
their mind. They were looking for those big guys back there," Lamar
coach Tic Price after his team lost to Kentucky.
Quote of the Week 3: "Out of all of our players, she has spent the
most time in the gym and has taken the most shots outside of
practice. She has worked really hard on her shooting. We've been
focused with her on just trying to hustle more, make some hustle
plays, rebound a little bit stronger, become a better defender, and I
think she's working hard on all of those things," Kentucky women's coach Matthew Mitchell on sophomore Blair Green.
- Patrick arrested on drug charges
- Bowman arrested on burglary charges
- Somerset tops Wayne County 68-64 in double overtime
- Chamber of Commerce will host annual banquet and awards night event
- Lady Cards beat Somerset 58-48 to improve to 12-11 on the season
- Hickman was arrested following search warrants being issued
- Mat Cards compete at state level
- Two Russell County residents are arrested on drug related charges
- Deadline to file for fall non-partisan races is June 2
- Lady Cards roll over Cumberland County 74-18 in Robbie Davis Memorial Classic