Friday, October 20, 2023

In the booth, on the field | Rockets in College Football

From The Crittenden Press Oct 12, 2023

Former Rocket Dylan Yates isn’t having much trouble finding his way around the football program at Kentucky Wesleyan College and his love of the game has been parlayed into something new – the broadcast booth.

Yates, a 2022 graduate of Crittenden County High School, is a 6-1, 240-pound redshirt freshman who played sparingly in his first season in 2022, but is getting more time this fall on special teams and at defensive tackle. He’s hoping to earn a starting role at defensive end by next fall. His on-the-field success is no surprise based on his career as a Crittenden County High School football player who was a multi-year all-conference player. He is the all-time sacks leader at his alma mater and part of three district championships. 

What’s been surprising, even to himself, is his natural evolution as a broadcaster. Yates and a teammate host a weekly podcast produced by the on-campus radio station. 

Although he’s majoring in criminal justice, Yates has found a love for work in college media. He gets paid as part of a work-study program to write news, record segments and DJ for the radio. Now, he’s producing a regular podcast, which features personal insights, football Xs and Os and discussions with guests such with players, coaches and others from the Panther football program.

“It’s interesting having conversations with other athletes, getting different perspectives,” Yates said. “Broadcasting has been something different for me. As a player you just focus on getting better every day and helping your team. Behind the mic, it’s sort of the same, but it’s helping your teammates in a different way. We talk about their lives, about their journey, about things they might be going through. I have to take a step back and look at football like a broadcaster would and not as a player.”

The podcasts also delve into the guests’ walk with God. 

Yates took the work-study job at the radio station as a freshman and is growing to love broadcasting. He’s even considering adding it as a second minor.

He and his football Panthers lost last weekend to former teammate Luke Crider’s Thomas More team, but Wesleyan is having a good season. The team is 3-3 after winning only two games all of last year.

Kentucky Wesleyan, as a private Christian college, has strong ties to the local religious community. It has partnerships with 12 churches of various denominations as well as on-campus services and religious organizations.

•Zech McGahan is a sophomore at Midway University, a private Christian institution between Frankfort and Lexington, where he plays offensive line for the Eagles football team, which is 1-3 this season. 

Midway plays sprint football, which is a full-contact, intercollegiate, varsity sport and has the same rules as regular college football, except that all players must weigh 178 pounds or less. 

McGahan has played in every game this year and appeared in all six last season as a freshman. He graduated from Crittenden County High School in 2021 and is majoring in health sciences. 

•Tyler Boone, a 2021 CCHS graduate, is an inside linebacker at Murray State where he’s played mostly on special teams this season and has participated in every game.

The career tackles leader in high school at Crittenden County, Boone is a redshirt sophomore at MSU. He was part of three district championships as a Rocket linebacker, but the going has been less lucrative at Murray where the Racers have won just four games over the past two seasons. MSU was 2-9 last fall in its final season in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Racers are 2-3 this season. 

Boone, 5-11, 227 pounds, is the first CCHS athlete to play Division I football since Brad Hart played at the University of Kentucky from 2006-2009.

Murray State is a first-year member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

•Luke Crider, a 2022 graduate of CCHS, is a redshirt freshman at Thomas More in northern Kentucky’s Greater Cincinnati area. A 6-2, l 185-pound quarterback, Crider has been in a backup role since joining the Saints out of high school. As a three-year starter for Crittenden County High School, Crider racked up multiple passing records and is the team’s only player with 3,000 yards passing and 500 yards rushing. He played in one game as a freshman and completed a pass, but has not seen any action so far this season while the team has gone 4-2.

Crider is a business major.

Thomas More is a private Roman Catholic university in Crestview Hills, Ky., that serves about 2,000 full- and part-time students.

The football team joined the Division II Great Midwest Athletic Conference last season, the same division as Kentucky Wesleyan.