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Clay County Middle School - - Clay County Links - - John Wilson's Homepage
Reprinted from the Manchester Enterprise

Clay County Middle School Football 2005



Reprinted from the November 3rd edition

Clay County Claims Two Conference Championships

Clay County’s 8th grade Raider football team won the Southeastern Middle School Conference title Thursday night with a 22-12 decision over Rockcastle County to cap a 13-0 season. In addition to going unbeaten during their time in the middle school, the 13 victories set a school record for wins in a season.

"The thing I can say about this team is they never give up, said first year 8th grade coach Steve Burchfield. "When their back is against the wall, they come out fighting and pull out a win."

Thursday’s. game started out like everyone thought, tight. Clay jumped on top first, off a 26-yard touchdown pass from Corey Nicholson to Delbert Collins. After the two-point conversion by Kendall Reed, Clay led 8-0. Rockcastle came right back early in the second period, scoring six on a quarterback sneak. Clay put the stops on the conversion, maintaining an 8-6 lead. Both teams traded punts for the remainder of the half, but Rock was driving near the end of the half when Nicholson picked off a Rocket pass to end their hopes of scoring.

On the third quarter kick-off by Clay, Rockcastle ran it back 68 yards into the endzone to take the lead at 12-8. The lead lasted less than two minutes though. Clay drove down the field and scored on a QB keeper by Nicholson to regain the lead, 14-12. Both teams couldn’t move the ball close to pay dirt until late in the game when Clay’s Ben Jackson broke a 61-yard touchdown run. After another two-point conversion by Reed, Clay had the winning score of 22-12. In 13 games this season, Clay outscored their opponents 399-102. That averages out to 30.6 points for the Raiders and 7.8 points for opponents per game.

"This team has accomplished a lot," Burchfield added. "They went undefeated as a seventh grade team and won the conference title, then turned around and did the same thing this season as eighth graders, that’s impressive."

7th grade wins 8-0 thriller

Win over Meece gives Raiders back to back titles

The CCMS Raiders defeated Meece Middle School, of Somerset 8-6 to claim top honors in the conference playoffs and in doing so, avenged their only loss. After a tied game at the half Clay’s Travis Wombles returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter 74 yards for the first score of the game. After Noah Reid made good on the two-point conversion, Clay led 8-0, just seconds into the half. Wombles was seeing his first action on kick return after the team lost John Wilson to injury in the semi-final game.

Both teams had trouble moving the ball due to their opponent’s defensive efforts, but Meece would have their shot. At the 6:46 mark of the fourth period, Meece connected on an 18-yard pass play to pull within two at 8-6. Clay stepped up their efforts on the conversion try, stopping the Visitors short of pay dirt, to maintain an 8-6 advantage.

As mentioned, both defenses were up to their tasks at hand. Midway through the final period, Clay fumbled, turning the ball over on their 30-yard line. Then on the first play by the Meece’s offense, Clay’s defense caused them to turn the ball over, taking possession and going on to win the game.

We are very proud of the great year we had and the way the boys played all season, said coach Michael "Tonk" Gregory. "I’m especially proud of the way the whole team stepped up in that championship game after losing a key player".

With the conference title game win, Clay finishes the season with an n-i record. Clay outscored opponents 292-58 this season, an average of 24.3 points for and 4.8 against per game.

Reprinted from the October 27th edition

Raiders Move Into Conference Finals

Clay County's Raider football teams moved one step closer to conference championships on Thursday by defeating North Laurel in the opening round of the playoffs.

Eighth Grade - CCMS 38 North 6

Late into the first quarter of a scoreless game, Clay County and North Laurel combined for two minutes of the most exciting football ever seen. At the 1:53 mark of the first, quarterback Corey Nicholson connected with Delbert Collins for a 70-yard touchdown pass to put Clay up 6-0. Clay made good on the conversion to lead 8-0.

On the Raider kick, North Laurel returned it 67 yards into the end zone, but failed on the conversion, trailing 8-6. On North's kick, Clay's Ben Jackson received the ball and returned it 72 yards to pay dirt, with the conversion failing, Clay led 14-6 with 1:20 showing on the clock. On the first play of the second quarter, Nicholson hooked up with Chris Gilbert for a 58 yard touchdown pass. Making good on the two-point try, the Raiders led 22-6.

In less than two minutes, Clay outscored North 22-6. Tanner Gilbert added a third quarter touchdown on a three-yard run and seventh grader C.J. Miller scored in the fourth on a 12-yard run for the Raiders, making the final 38-6. Nicky Reid, Collins, and Gilbert each made good on conversions for Clay.

7th grade - CCMS 14 North 0

Early in the second quarter North moved the ball inside the five yard line, but North was stopped when John Wilson hit a North ball carrier and caused a fumble which was recovered by a Raider teammate. Wilson suffered a high ankle sprain on the play and missed the rest of the game.

Clay scored twice in the final two minutes of the first half to advance to the finals of the conference playoffs with the 14-0 win over North. On 3rd and 18, backed up to their own goal line, quarterback John Vernon Hooker hit Noah Reid with a pass that resulted in a 99-yard touchdown play, puffing Clay up 6-0. Reid ran in the conversion for the 8-0 Raider lead with under a minute and a half to play in the half.

Clay' s defense stepped up, holding North to three and out and getting the ball back. As the clock expired on the first half of play, Hooker connected this time with C.J. Miller for a 33-yard touchdown play, putting the Raiders on top 14-0. The game remained tight with neither team being able to get into the end zone the rest of the game.

Final Game of the Season

Eighth Grade - CCMS 16 Rockcastle County 0

Seventh Grade - CCMS 40 Rockcastle County 8




Reprinted from the October 13th edition

8th grade Raiders pound Meece to remain undefeated

Kendall Reed and Chris Gilbert caught tonchdown passes with Nicky Reid running in a score, all in the first quarter, propelling Clay to the 51-8 win over Meece. Reed’s 62-yard touchdown pass from Corey Nicholson came just over a minute into the game, setting the tone for what was to come. Barely over a minute later, Nicholson connected with Gilbert for a 33-yard TD pass. Gilbert then turned around on defense, picking off a Meece pass. That interception set up Nicky Reid’s 21-yard touchdown run, still in the first quarter.

Ben Jackson scored two touchdowns, one a 37-yard run; Delbert Collins scored on a 28-yard run and Ethan Nolan scored on a 26-yard touchdown run. Collins, Jonathon Smallwood, Tanner Gilbert, and Reid all ran in two-point conversions for the Raiders, with Jackson kicking one PAT.

7th grade loses first game of season

A very unusual happening occurred Thursday night at Tiger Stadium, a Raider football team went down to defeat. Meece Middle School of Pulaski County beat the Raider seventh grade squad 8-0, putting the team’s record at 8-1 on the season.

"They focused on our key offensive players and we couldn’t compensate," said Raider seventh grade coach Mike Gregory.

The game remained scoreless until the fourth quaffer, when Meece struck on the first play of the period. A 39-yard pass into the end zone and the two-point conversion was all the visitors needed to pull out the win. Clay did get down to the Meece nine-yard line, but was unable to convert on the score late in the game.

"We ran the ball will with C.J. Miller, Cody Roberts, John Wilson, and Noah Reid, but we just couldn’t get into the end zone," Gregory added.



Reprinted from the October 6th edition

Raiders Roll Over Corbin

Seventh Grade - CCMS 34 - Corbin 8

In what was expected to be a dogfight of a game by the Raider coaching staff, Clay County drilled the host Redhounds 34-8. John Wilson intercepted three Corbin passes and scored once, while C. J. Miller scored four touchdowns in the big road win.

Wilson had two interceptions on Corbin’s first two possessions and another late in the fourth quarter. Miller scored on runs of 32 yards, 2 yards, 2 yards, and 82 yards on his way to over 150 yards rushing. Corbin’s lone bright spot of the game came in the second quarter for about seven minutes. The Redhounds scored, made good on the conversion, and led 8-6 till Miller scored just before half time.

Eighth Grade - CCMS 28 - Corbin 6

Ben Jackson scored two touchdowns including an 82-yard fumble recovery for a score as the Raiders flexed their muscle at Corbin. Clay controlled the entire game, scoring once in the first, twice in the second and another touchdown came in the third period to give the Raiders a 28-10 lead.

Corbin scored their lane touchdown with only 55 seconds left in the game. Corey Nicholson accounted for two scores. He ran in a touchdown from 50 yards out and threw to Kendall Reed for a 27-yard touchdown. Nicholson also had an interception in the game. Delbert Collins scored two 2-point conversions for Clay, one on a run, the other on a pass from Nicholson.

Raiders Sweep Shriner's Bowl in Hazard on Saturday

The Clay County Middle School Middle School football teams traveled to Hazard coming home with a 7th and gtb grade win from the Shriner’s Bowl played at Hazard High School.

8th grade - CCMS 24 - Adams Middle (Prestonburg) 8

Coach Steve Burchfield’s Raider squad stepped out of their conference for a showdown with Prestonsburg’s Adams Middle School, Chris Gilbert caught a 40-yard pass from Corey Nicholson, then Delbert Collins broke a 20-yard run to get things started for the Raiders. Clay scored on a one-yard pass from Nicholson to Ben Jackson, with Collins scoring the conversion, Clay led 8-0.

Kendall Reed scored next for Clay, a 15-yard touchdown run in the second period. Tanner Gilbert ran in the conversion to give Clay a i6-o lead going into the half. Chris Gilbert scored on a 20-yard interception return in the third quarter and conveiled the two-point score on a pass from Nicholson to give the Raiders the final winning margin. Bill Edd White had a fumble recovery, Nicholson added an interception, with Nick Reid and Jonathon Smallwood having good runs for the Raiders.

7th grade - CCMS 20 - Whitley Co. 8

C.J. Miller scored another touchdown on a kick return, his second in as many games, and fourth this season (two have come against Whitley), securing Coach Mike Gregory’s Raiders their second win of the season over Whitley. Noah Reid scored Clay’s first touchdown Saturday, a 12-yard run in the first period. After Cody Roberts ran in the conversion, Clay led 8-0. Reid also led the Raiders in tackles with eight in the game.

Miller scored on a six-yard run in the second period, putting Clay up 14-0 after the failed conversion. Miller’s kick return was Clay’s only score in the second half.



Reprinted from the September 29th edition

Raiders Pull The Sweep

South Laurel provided another conference win for the Raider football teams Thursday September 22. Clay's seventh grade squad won easily 36-8, but the eighth grade had to score in the games final minutes to defeat South 22-14.

Eighth Grade

Clay scored first on a run by Corey Nicholson, after a failed conversion, the Raiders led 6-0 until late in the second quarter. The Raider defense had South backed up to the 1/2 yard line and on the South Laurel punt attempt the snap sent the ball out of bounds for a safety, putting Clay up 8-0 at the half.

On South's opening drive of the third period, they scored on a four-yard run, converted the two-point try, and tied the game at eight. Clay struck right back. Kendall Reed scored on a 67-yard pass from Nicholson, after the ball deflected off of Ben Jackson's shoulder pads. After the conversion failed; Clay led 14-8.

In the fourth period, South tied the game on a 19-yard pass play with 6:10 left to play. Behind runs by Nicholson and Delbert Collins, the Raiders marched down the field to take the lead on a QB keeper by Nicholson, keeping the undefeated season alive.

"The key to our success lately has been our offensive line," Coach Burchfield said, "which has improved our overall offensive game."

Seventh Grade

Clay's 7th grade squad started off with a bang and never looked back in their 36-8 win over South Laurel. C.J. Miller returned the opening kickoff 72 yards for a touchdown for the Raiders. After Cody Roberts' two-point conversion was good, Clay led 8-0 less than 30 seconds into the game.

After an Interception by John Wilson, Clay scored quickly out 1-yard run by Travis Wombles. Again it was Roberts on the conversion for the 16-0 lead. Still in the first quarter, John Vernon Hooker hit Noah Reid on a 37-yard touchdown pass to put Clay up 22-0. Hooker hooked up with Isaiah Collins in the second quarter for a six-yard touchdown pass, putting Clay up 28-0 at the half.

Hooker accounted for the Raiders only other score, a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. After James Cope scored the conversion, the Raiders led 36-0. South Laurel punched the ball across the goal line as time ran out, with the conversion, they closed the final score to 36-8.



Reprinted from the September 22th edition

Raiders Pull The Sweep on Pulaski North

Northern Pulaski came calling on Clay County’s Raiders Thursday night and went home defeated just like all others before. Clay’s Noah Reid dominated as much as one player can in a football game during the seventh grade’s 34-0 win. Reid carried once, a ôi-yard touchdown run. He caught two passes for 93 yards, one a 58-yard touchdown pass from John Vernon Hooker. Reid also picked up a Northern Pulaski fumble for a 66-yard touchdown return. Hooker was 2-5 passing, both going to Reid, for 93 yards and a touchdown. He also ran once, a two-yard touchdown run.

John Wilson ran the ball once for the Raiders, a 41-yard touchdown scamper. C. J. Miller carried four times for 14 yards with Cody Roberts carrying once for five yards. Miller also accounted for four sacks on Northern Pulaski.

Eighth Grade

In the eighth grade game, Clay defeated the previqusly unbeaten Northern team 22-6. Quarterback Corey Nicholson bit Ben Jackson with a 33-yard touchdown pass to open up the game. After Nicholson passed to Nick Reid for the conversion, the Raiders led 8-0. Late in the first quar- ter, the Northern Pulaski coach got tossed from the game, and his team never rebounded from there.

Nicholson was 8-14 passing for 102 yards and, one touchdown. He also carried three times for 30 yards and a touchdown, Jackson caught three passes for 79 yards and carried four times for seven yards. He also scored a two-point conversion for the Raiders. Raid caught two passes for 37 yards and ran three times for three yards, Delbert Collins caught two passes for 17 yards and rushed five times for seven yards, with Jonathon Smallwood carrying once for four yards.



Reprinted from the September 8th edition

Raiders Run Over North, twice...

Coach Steve Burchfield’s Raider football teams weren’t good hosts on Thursday when North Laurel came to Clay County. Clay used. their brutal defense to defeat North in both games; a 14-0 seventh grade win and a 26-6 eighth grade win.

8th grade

The first half was pretty even, the offensive line stepped up and played a big role in our 20 point second half Burchfield said. "Our defensive line put a lot of pressure on North to keep them from scoring in the second half."

North struck first in the game, a 17-yard pass play that put the Jaguars up 6-0 in the second quarter after the conversion failed. Clay struck back quickly on a 43-yard Delbert Collins touchdown run. After the Raider conversion failed, the 6-6 score carried into the half.

Clay started the second half out hard. Tanner Gilbert took the opening kickoff for a 12-yard return, giving the Raiders excellent field position. Kendall Reed then had a 19-yard run, Corey Nicholson then carded for a 14-yard gain, then Ben Jackson took a 13-yard run down to the North laurel three yard line. Reed then ran in from three yards out, failing on the conversion, the Raiders led 12-6. Clay scored again on a7 17-yard pass from Nicholson to Jackson, again the two-point conversion failed, Clay led 18-6.

The score remained the same into the fourth when Clay struck again, set up by a Nikki Reid tackle for a 12-yard loss and a blocked punt by Matthew Ealy. Reed then scored on a 17-yard reverse. With Reid plowing in on the conversion, it gave Clay the final margin of 26-6. The 0-line coach Burchfield was so proud of is made up of Cody Blackwell, Josh Messer, Cameron Wagers, Keith Landers, Tyler Sumner, Bill Edd White, and Jonathan Smallwood. The defensive line is made up of Blackwell, Messer, Sumner, White, Ethan Nolan, and Ealy.

Seventh grade

Clay rushed for 191 of their 221 total offensive yards in the 14-0 win over North Laurel. C. J. Miller scored both touchdowns for Clay, one on a first quarter 20-yard pass from John Vernon Hooker, the other on a third quarter 4-yard run. For the game, Miller racked up 105 yards rushing, scored the two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

Hooker passed twice; completing both pcsses, for 30 yards. He also ran for 36 yards. Clay’s Noah Reid picked up 29 yards on three carries while John Wilson had 21 yards rushing and 10 yards passing in the win. Clay’s defensive coach was happy with his team’s second shut out of the season. "We stepped it up on the defensive side for the second straight game, we allowed just 102 total yards in the game," said defensive coach Chris Byrd. The Raiders had four tackles for loss in the game and Shane Gibson added a sack.



Reprinted from the September 1st edition

Raiders dominate Sebastain

Clay vs. Breathitt, what a storied history on the football field. Thursday night the CCMS Raiders invaded Jackson and took two victories from Sebastian Middle School.

8th grade - CCMS 36 - Sebastian 6

Clay County struck first, when Tanner Gilberts scored on a 20-yard touch down run in the first quarter. Clay led 6-0 after one period. Coach Steve Burchfield’s offense came to life in the second quarter, scoring three times. Jonathon Smallwood ran in from eight yards out, Nikki Reid scored on a 25 yard run and Kendall Reed crossed the goal line after a 20 yard run. Smallwood and Ben Jackson each scored two-point conversions to give the Raiders the 28-6 halftime lead.

Clay added eight more in the third, after a five yard Corey Nichdlson touch down run. Nicholson made good on the conversion to put Clay up 36-6. Neither team scored in the fourth to give the Raiders the big win. Clay totaled 269 yards on 25 carries offensively. Chris Gilbert had a fumble recovery and Smallwood had an interception. "We are a good football team, but we need to improve in many areas to be successful," said coach Burchfield. Our goal is to work hard and get better each week.

Seventh grade - CCMS 40 - Sebastian 0

Clay County had only 10 offensive plays in the game, scoring on half of them, in the 40-0 win. Coach Mike Gregory’s squad carried the ball nine times for 154 yards and passed once for 13 yards and a touchdown. Noah Reid scored first on a 48 yard run. After the C.J. Miller conversion, Clay led 8-0. Still in the first period, Miller broke a 30-yard run to pay dirt. After the Cody Roberts conversion, Clay led 16-0.

Quarterback John Vernon Hooker hooked up with Isaiah Collins for a 13-yard touch down pass, after Roberts’ conversion, Clay led 24-0 at the half. In the second half it was still Clay County’s offense breaking big plays. Jordan Philpot added touchdown runs of 45 and 25 yards, with 2-point conversions by Brandon Napier and Roberts, Clay took the 40-0 win.

The margin could have been more, but Corey Corum was stopped just short of the end zone after his interception of a Sebastian pass. Clay’s offensive line dominated Sebastian, allowing no sacks and opening up the lanes for four touchdown runs of 25 yards or more. The Raider defense also stepped up, getting their first shut-out of the season.



Reprinted from the August 25 edition

CCMS Raiders sweep Whitley at home

Seventh Grade

What a way to start off the football season, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Seventy five yards is how far the t Grade Raiders' C. J. Miller ran back the opening kickoff of Whitley County in Thursday night's 12-8 Clay County win over the Colonels. The extra-point attempt failed, giving Clay a 6-0 lead 20 seconds into the game.

Both teams remained scoreless until the third period when Whitley scored on an eight yard run. After converting on the two-point attempt, the Colonels were up 8-6. Clay pulled out the win after Miller caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from John Vernon Hooker to put the Raiders up 12-8 for the, final score.

Eighth Grade

In the nightcap, Clay's 8th grade team defeated Whitley 20-6 on a strong defensive effort. Defensive Coordinator Chris Byrd's defense allowed only 8o yards to be gained by Whitley County, with no touchdowns. Whitley's only score came the same way Clay's opening score came in the 7th grade game, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

Trailing 6-0, the Corey Nicholson recovered a fumble near Whitley's 35-yard line and ran it in for Clay's first points of the game. The extra point failed, tying the score at six each. Late in the 2nd quarter, Nicholson, who is also the' Raiders quarterback, connected with Delbert Collins on a pass that Collins took to the end zone from 35 yards out. After the two-point conversion by Nikki Reid, the Raiders led 14-6.

Neither team scored in the third, but fullback Tanner Gilbert ran the ball into the end zone from five yards out late in the fourth period to give the Raiders the 20-6 winning margin.



Reprinted from the Special Supplement, September 8 edition

Raider have a new leader

Steve Burchfield takes over controls of the eighth grade squad this year, replacing Jeff Woods. Burchfield has been an assistant on the eighth grade team for years, and has been head coach for the seventh grade team. Joining Burchfield on the sidelines this season will be seventh grade coach Mike Gregory and Defensive Coordinator Chris Byrd. Both of these coaches have been with the Raiders for a while also.

Clay County’s middle school teams have dominated play in the area for several years, including last season’s conference championship. This season should be no different for Coach Burchfield’s eighth grade squad. Quarterback Corey Nicholson will have many options of what to do with the ball. Jonathon Smallwood, Nicky Reid, Kendall Reed, Ben Jackson, and seventh grader Tanner Gilbert will all see time carrying the ball this season for the Raiders.

Other players who will contribute greatly for the Raiders this season include Ethan Nolan, Delbert Collins, Tyler Sumner, Josh Messer, Cody Blackwell, Matthew Ealy, Bill Ed White and Chris Gilbert. Clay will run the ball 80-90 percent of the time,but can pass more if necessary. Last season the eighth grade squad lost only one game. That loss came in the finals of the Southeastern Middle School Conference Tournament. Corbin, whom Clay had defeated earlier in the season, beat the Raiders 26-6.

This season’s eighth grade squad won the SEMSC title last year with a double-overtime come from behind 14-8 victory over Rockcastle. The win gave the team a perfect 11-0 record. This group of boys have never lost a middle school game. We hope we can say that when the season is over.

Clay County’s Raider seventh grade football team enters the 2005 season with a high standard set before them. Last season’s team went 11-0 and captured the Southeastern Middle School Conference title. Taking a new group of seventh graders and forming them into one team will be new head coach Michael Gregory. Gregory has been on the coaching staff for a couple of years and with the promotion of Steve Burchfield to 8th grade coach, he takes over the seventh grade team.

Chris Byrd will handle the defensive coordinator position for both Raider teams. Coming into middle school from grade school and molding into one team can be a difficult This will be one of the coach's main projects. "I don't think we will have a problem with getting these players to play in the past," Gregory said. "These boys just want to play football, they forget about grade school when they get in here and start practice".

Several of the incoming players were All-County selections last year in elementary action, but some will have to try new positions this year if they want to play. C.J. Miller, John Vernon Hooker, Shane Gibson, Isaiah Collins, Josh Roberts. and Nathan Roberts each played last season at Horse Creek, and all are being looked to for contributions on this team.

Noah Reid and Logan Westerfield from Burning Springs join Mr. Football 2004, John Wilson, on the Raider team. Cory Corum, James Cope, and Jordan Philpot, all from Hacker, will see playing time this season. Travis Wombles, of Goose Rock, Chris Napier, of Manchester, and Chris Roberts, of Big Creek were each All-County last season and expected to contribute for the Raiders.

Clay County’s Raider teams are dressing as many players as they have ever dressed in the past. With this kind of enthusiasm by the players, this year’s squad has a good chance to repeat as conference champions.


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