RIP Todd Garvin: Such a sad, sad day

This is a tough one. The shocking news of Todd Garvin’s death took my breath away. It was like a punch in the gut.

I saw it on a Facebook post. I reread the post hoping I had read it wrong. I hadn’t. Then I went over to Todd’s page and saw many more posts confirming it. My heart sunk. It was true. And it was so heartbreaking.

Todd (we called him Fish) was one of many who I was able to teach and impact through the sports department at The Independent over the years. He was fun-loving and quite the character and that was putting it mildly. When it was time to work, he worked. When it was time to play, anything might happen.

He broke into journalism roaring like a lion. That was fitting because the big guy also liked the theater. And there has never been a better Cowardly Lion than Todd Garvin’s portrayal on the Ashland stage. Ask anybody who saw him. He was perfect.

Todd could light up a room and he was strong as an ox. He was also an outstanding coach for the Ashland Junior Football League. He was a Boyd County alum and played football for the Lions on some good teams in the mid-1980s, but he sure helped prepare and propel some great Tomcats through the JFL experience.

My son was JFL age during the time Todd was coaching and he wanted so badly for him to play. He watched Stephen pitch in Little League and thought he had some quarterback potential. Stephen never budged. Football wasn’t for him. So to make sure I came to his games, he got my daughter Sally on the Panthers’ cheerleading squad.

I watched him during the JFL games and he was intense but he loved on those players like they were his own. That was him. He had a heart bigger than all outdoors, He had a love and zeal for life like few others I’ve ever been around.

He worked hard for me as a sportswriter and opportunities came for him because of it, eventually leading him to a position in Myrtle Beach, which was one of his life goals. I was so happy for him and so proud of him. He was living at the beach up until his death this morning. His “Coffee with Todd” posts were legendary for his friends on Facebook. Just more fun from the man who brought so much to life until his big kind heart simply wore out. What a sad, sad day.

I’m so sad for the Garvin family, too. His sisters adored him. Everybody did. How could you not like him? He was able to watch his nephew, Jonny Stevens, play baseball for Boyd County only 10 days ago. Jonny had no bigger fan than his uncle.

Giovanni’s Pizza would always do a little more business when Todd came to town. It was his favorite place to eat without question.

I know this much: He would have done anything for me. He was that kind of friend. We kept in touch via Facebook and as recently as Tuesday he commented on a post. Todd Garvin was one of my boys and I’ll cherish the memories I made with him. It’s hard. RIP my dear friend. You were a one-of-a-kind superstar.

AP honors 10 Tomcat players, Love named Co-Coach of Year

ASHLAND – Ashland was well-represented on the Kentucky AP All-State football team following its 11-0 state championship season.

Tony Love was selected as Co-Coach of the Year with Bryan Station’s Phillip Hawkins.

Ten Tomcats were named to different levels on the team starting with Zane Christian, a first-team defensive lineman. Keontae Pittman (running back) and JT Garrett (wide receiver) were second-team selections.

Honorable mention choices went to Jackson Foutch (offensive line), Kolby Coburn (defensive line), Caleb Tackett (linebacker), Hunter Gillum (defensive back), Jack Alley (defensive back), SJ Lycans (kicker) and Calyx Holmes (punter).

Quarterback: Cameron Hergott, Beechwood.

Running backs: Leetavious Cline, West Carter; Braedon Sloan, Wayne County.

Wide receivers: Jordan Dingle, Bowling Green; Dane Key, Frederick Douglass; Fred Farrier, Franklin County.

Offensive linemen: Jager Burton, Frederick Douglass; Alex Moore, Louisville Trinity; Grant Bingham, Johnson Central; William Long II, Breathitt County; Zach Mason, Boyle County; Evan Brown, Louisville Saint Xavier.
Kicker: Jackson Smith, Boyle County.


Linemen: Selah Brown, Louisville Male; Tommy Ziesmer, Boyle County; William Long II, Breathitt County; Darion Dearinger, Anderson County; DeAnthony Perry, Louisville Trinity; Zane Christian, Ashland Blazer; Phillip Peiffer, Franklin County; Michael Lunz, North Hardin; Jack Dingle, Louisville Trinity; Charlie Ely, Louisville Trinity; Austin Gough, Owensboro.

Defensive backs: Jantzen Dunn, South Warren; Nick Coates, Louisville Male; Roman White, Louisville Trinity; Jordan Lovett, North Hardin; Dylan Echols, Bowling Green.

Punter: Bennett Boehnlein, Louisville Saint Xavier.


Quarterback: Gavin Wimsatt, Owensboro.

Running backs: La’Vell Wright, North Hardin; Keontae Pittman, Ashland Blazer; Will McDaniel, Boyle County.

Wide receivers: Dekel Crowdus, Frederick Douglass; JT Garrett, Ashland Blazer; Vinny Anthony, Louisville Male.

Linemen: Gavin Malott, Louisville Trinity; Sam Turley, Lexington Paul Laurence Dunbar; John Blackburn, Paintsville; Jon Nalley, Daviess County; Ben Dickhaus, Covington Catholic; Jonathan Berry, Scott County; Julian Boley, South Warren; Owen LeMaster, Johnson Central.

Kicker: Andrew Dobbs, Lexington Christian.


Linemen: Romarion Warner, Frederick Douglass; Terran Hearn, Louisville Ballard; Alton Jefferson, Louisville Trinity; Jadairion Smith, Louisville Ballard.

Linebackers: Tristan Cox, Pulaski County; Malachi Williams, Louisville Central; Caden Johnson, Frederick Douglass; Zach Claudio, Franklin County.

Defensive backs: Ty Bryant, Frederick Douglass; Damin Green, Lexington Bryan Station; Campton Martin, Scott County; Blake Ruffin, Louisville Trinity.

Punter: Franklin Rogers, Ryle.

Mr. Football: Cameron Hergott, Beechwood; Jager Burton, Frederick Douglass.

Coach of the Year: Phillip Hawkins, Lexington Bryan Station; Tony Love, Ashland Blazer.


Quarterbacks: Clay Games, Elizabethtown; Kaiya Sheron, Somerset; Nick Broyles, Franklin County; Jake Hyden, Paintsville; Sydney Bowen, Williamsburg; Jagger Gillis, Boyle County.

Running backs: Dylan Preston, Johnson Central; Isaac Dixon, Belfry; Xavier Brown, Lexington Christian; Braxton Newborn, Ludlow; Cole Wallace, Rowan County; Jaylin Bross, Louisville Male; Hunter Scott, Glasgow; Nathan Conley, Russell; Seth Mills, Corbin; Clint McKee, Graves County; Will McDanniel, Boyle County; Darius Neal, Frederick Douglass; Azariah Israel, George Rogers Clark.

Wide receivers: Marcus Harris, North Hardin; Mason Moore, Lexington Christian; Jackson Corbett, Lexington Catholic; Kenyon Goodin, Collins; Zach Russell, Johnson Central; Reece Jesse, Jr, Hopkinsville; Baren Wells, Caldwell County; Camden Williams, Elizabethtown; Jackson Green, West Jessamine; Ben Gloyd, Mayfield; Gavon Thomas, Williamsburg; Trey Dennis, Sayre; Trevon Tinsley, Owensboro.

Offensive linemen: Dylan Hoskins, Knox Central; Jackson Foutch, Ashland Blazer; Ryan Pyles, Elizabethtown; Jake Hester, Boyle County; Tad Shelton, Glasgow; Anthony Johns, Lexington Christian; Ethan Goforth, Corbin; Blakley Miller, McCracken County; Caleb Edmiston, Boyle County; Brenden Lester, Williamsburg; Brandon Fiechter, North Laurel; Briar Buzanis, Graves County; Davis Pike, Union County; Chandler McDonald, Paducah Tilghman; Quentin Duffy, Lexington Catholic; Braden Ferguson, Lexington Bryan Station; Jaiden Campbell,
East Jessamine; Logan Weedman, Apollo; Justin Millay, Owensboro; Parker Bates, Apollo.

Kickers: Trey Gronotte, Covington Catholic; Jacob Baker, Corbin; SJ Lycans, Ashland Blazer; Blake Vivrette, Caldwell County

Defensive linemen: Kolby Coburn, Ashland Blazer; Malachi Lawrence, Louisville DuPont Manual; VaShawn Anderson, Louisville Central; Brayden Reynolds, Corbin; Josiah Brown, Lexington Paul Laurence Dunbar; John Law, Lexington Paul Laurence Dunbar; Ben Dickhaus, Covington Catholic; Yedi Sledge, Lexington Bryan Station; Sebastian Lawrence, Murray; Dylan Yates, Crittenden County; Bryce McCullah-Creekmore, Williamsburg; Dillon Rookstool, Allen County-Scottsville; Dawson Catlett, Walton-Verona; Layton Fletcher, Henderson County; Joe Vormbrock, Simon Kenton; Tre Arnold, Mayfield.

Linebackers: Caleb Tackett, Ashland Blazer; Luke Burton, South Warren; Chris Howard, Williamsburg; Justice Thompson, Louisville Ballard; Gabe Savage, Ryle; Jayce Hacker, North Laurel; Mason Lovely, Paintsville; Braeden Babin, Louisville Christian Academy; Dawson Fore, Corbin; Mattie Lebryk, Lexington Christian; Nick Surley, John Hardin; Rece Jones, Bowling Green; Arian Brown, Rowan County.

Defensive backs: Kalib Perry, Great Crossing ; Treyveon Longmire, Corbin; JD Woodall, Lexington Catholic; Kel Hawkins, Dixie Heights; Eli Blakey, Louisville DuPont Manual; Tayquan Calloway, Holmes; Tripp Branch, Caldwell County; Hunter GIllum, Ashland Blazer; Jack Alley, Ashland Blazer; Abe Brock, Knox Central; Chevis Elliott, Russellville; Parker Scott, Greenwood; Spencer Gilbert, Lynn Camp; Daisjuan Mercer, Hopkinsville; Avrin Bell, South Warren; Keiron Perez, McCracken County; Camdon Marshall, Paducah Tilghman.

Punters: Calyx Holmes, Ashland Blazer; Braxton Winders, Crittenden County; Jacob Baker, Corbin; Noah Davis, Mercer County.


Just so it’s on people’s radar who could be affected in the South Ashland neighborhood and may not have heard, the Ashland Board of Zoning will have a public meeting Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the commissioner’s chambers concerning a change that would allow a package liquor store to go in the lots beside Giovanni’s and all the way to the corner of 29th Street.

That would put it near Ashland Middle School and across the street from two churches, Unity Baptist and Grace Nazarene. Those optics alone make this look like a bad idea. But there’s more. The text amendment being asked to be approved not only possibly puts a liquor store in that space but would make the area from Holt Street to Main on 29th Street available for package liquor stores too.

While they say that’s not likely to happen, who ever thought we’d be debating the merits of having package liquor stores locating in residential areas of Ashland? That’s certainly not how it was painted when Ashland went “moist” in downtown precincts only some four decades ago.

Understanding that Boyd County, including Ashland, voted wet last fall, there’s no stopping more alcohol from coming. But with zoning ordinances that are in place, we still have a say as to where package liquor stores can locate. At least for now.

The South Ashland neighborhood doesn’t need it. Our youth have enough obstacles in that part of town including single-parent homes, poverty, and parents already addicted to alcohol and drugs. Bringing in a package liquor store will not fix any of that and could well exasperate the problem. It’s not a solution to the desperate situation that many of these young children are facing. They must be considered.

If recommended by the zoning board and approved by the commission, it would be a precedent-setting decision since none of the other package liquor stores in Ashland are anywhere close to schools or churches. Any buffer zone would be gone. A package liquor store in that location next to Giovanni’s would be near the middle school and relatively close to three elementary schools. Many young children would be walking by it daily. Is that something parents want? Is that something anybody wants?

Does a liquor store in a South Ashland residential area near the middle school have any benefit to the city?

Does it benefit Ashland at all? There’s a row of liquor stores a mile down the road on 13th Street. Only so much beer and liquor are going to be consumed. The tax base isn’t growing much, if at all, from adding another store and it’s not bringing in more than a few jobs with it. How is that progress?

Does it benefit your home value if you live in the neighborhood? I’ll answer that question with a question: Would you want to buy a house near the liquor store?

Could it bring an undesired element to the area? Panhandlers will surely follow where a liquor store is within sight. Better keep those windows rolled up at the stop light.

Traffic at that intersection of 29th and Blackburn is already daring. Does adding a liquor store that will have a drive-thru window dumping traffic off and onto Blackburn Avenue all day and night help that situation? It could be a traffic nightmare.

If you live in the South Ashland neighborhood and are opposed to having it changed to allow package liquor stores, then let your voice be heard. Or be silent and live with the dire results that could come from it now and years down the road.

The youth in that area deserve a chance. This only pushes them further down.


Final Fours in the Sweet Sixteen are euphoric or heartbreaking. Ashland has been on both sides of it through 15 previous appearances.

The Tomcats are 8-7 in those trips, including seven since 1954. Eight others were between 1920 and 1940. The last one was 25 years ago in 1996. But now, here they are again, with a date against Fort Thomas Highlands in Rupp Arena on Saturday.

Here are how these semifinal games have played out and what followed the eight victories (and even one loss).

1920: Ashland 33, Anderson County 33-15. Finals: Henry Clay 56, Ashland 13.

1924: Highlands 13, Ashland 11.

1926: Danville 19, Ashland 16.

1927: Covington Holmes 15, Ashland 13.

1928: Ashland 22, Covington Holmes 13. Finals: Ashland 13, Carr Creek 11, 4 OTs

1933: Ashland 21, Danville 20. Finals: Ashland 33, Horse Cave 25

1934: Ashland 18, Hazel Green 15. Finals: Ashland 26, Danville 13

1940: Ashland 31, Williamsburg 23. Finals: Hazel Green 35, Ashland 29

1954: Newport 73, Ashland 69. Consolation: Ashland 72, Adair County 66

1960: Maysville 61, Ashland 58.

1961: Ashland 91, Wheelwright 80. Finals: Ashland 69, Dunbar 50

1962: Ashland 73, Caneyville 49. Finals: St. Xavier 62, Ashland 58

1969: Ohio County 82, Ashland 80

1977: Valley 59, Ashland 45

1996: Ashland 64, Henderson County 58. Finals: Paintsville 71, Ashland 53

2021: ????????