I couldn’t decide whether I was going to write this article or not. Part of the goal of Kentucky Prep Gridiron is to provide information to parents about how to go about promoting their kids to the collegiate level to continue both their academic and athletic careers past Friday nights. Post season accolades, bestowed on players, put players on college coach’s radars, and, in that way, help promote kids to the next level. Promotion to the next level is the name of the game. It certainly isn’t a sure thing, but it never hurts to create a little buzz around an athlete’s name.
As you know, Kentucky Prep Gridiron in conjunction with the American Fitness Institute convened a Commonwealth-wide selection committee and selected Freshman and Sophomore All-State Football Teams. We didn’t get everyone but believed everyone we got was certainly deserving. We have gone along and featured certain players, after the teams were announced, on whom we might have missed but whom were worthy anyway. We published an article like that yesterday in featuring Wes Oliver from Taylor County. A link to that article about Wes Oliver appears following this paragraph.
Back in December of 2017, three freshman players from off our AFI-KPG All-State Football Team were nominated for the MaxPreps Freshman All-American Team (Link: https://kentuckyprepgridiron.com/2569-2/). Of the three, Justice Thompson was selected to the first-team. We were both gratified and excited. Curious about why and how we didn’t go a perfect 3 for 3, I contacted Zack Poff with CBSInteractive and MaxPreps to inquire as to where the other two nominees were deficient. While I was at it, I did think to thank him for Justice Thompson’s selection. Poff told me that Justice Thompson had All-American numbers but that Austin Gough only played in 6 Varsity contests for Owensboro High School and logged merely 24 total tackles, 19 of which were solos, and Long only saw action in 2 Varsity games for Hopkinsville High School.
I told him those numbers were completely wrong. I informed him Gough had played in 12 varsity games for OHS and logged 92 tackles, 58 of which were solo, and that Long played every meaningful varsity snap for the Tigers of HHS over its 13 games played, which amounted to 49 quarters of varsity football, at left offensive guard. I reminded Poff he had contacted me for information about the nominees and, at his request, I had forwarded film to him of the players, to the extent I had it, and had included, in the submissions, accurate information on all three players. How did they screw this up so terribly? How could their information be so wrong? The information requested of me, and dutifully sent along, was accurate! They had it at their disposal and in their possession! Poff then told me Look, we get told all kinds of things by parents and coaches; some true, some not. Basically, if it isn’t on our site, we pay it no attention. Sorry. If they were only concerned with the information which was entered onto their MaxPreps site, why did Poff request any information from me? He really didn’t have an answer for that other than a clumsy re-statement about the MaxPrep data comprising the only data considered legitimate for team selection. At this point, the die was cast, so I dropped the matter.
The below, as of today’s date, is the information on the MaxPreps site for all three players:
According to the above, as you can see, while Justice’s information was accurate or, at the minimum, in the ball park, the information contained on the site for both Gough and Long is way wrong. The information contained about Long, and his contribution to the varsity football team this past season borders on straight sabotage. Now, I can’t say William Long makes the team if his information is correct owing to his being considered, by conventional measurables, too short for his position. It isn’t lost on me that there wasn’t an offensive lineman selected on either the 1st or 2nd team below 6-4 and Long is generously listed at 5-10. I am quite confident, though, that the derelict record keeping on Gough’s behalf did keep him off the team. Gough’s height, weight, speed, explosion and strength, together with his on-field production, on the season, were all very similar to Justice Thompson. Justice Thompson, in my mind, was an easy selection to the Freshman All-American Football Team. However, so was Austin Gough.
The lesson may be, going forward, that, as a parent, you need to be aware of which coach on the high school staff is responsible for entering correct data onto the MaxPreps page. Then, periodically, one might check to insure the data being entered is accurate. Otherwise…
This is Fletcher Long reporting for Kentucky Prep Gridiron reminding you statistics are only as good as the statistician and PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!