Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 30, 2013

Ram road meets end

Turnovers, failed fourth downs doom Raceland

WILLIAMSBURG — Rodney Vance zipped across the middle of the field unobstructed.

The play Raceland coaches had just drawn up at halftime was working, seemingly to perfection.

With the Rams trailing 14-7 early in the third quarter, quarterback Adam Elkins eyed his target and released a quick throw that would undoubtedly gain a good chunk of yardage.

That's when the Class A state semifinal game took a decisive turn, one that ultimately led to the end of Raceland's road. Williamsburg pulled away from a tight contest, winning 34-7 with a dominant second-half performance at Rose-Stanfill Stadium.

“We’re disappointed but we’re not crushed,” said Raceland coach T.J. Maynard. “This group knows they’ve accomplished a lot. It’s been a special season.”

Soon after the ball left Elkins’s fingertips, it found others. Williamsburg’s Chris Helton deflected it before teammate Stone Hughett corralled it for an interception.

“That (play) was something we came up with at halftime,” Maynard said. “Rodney was wide open, but (Helton and Hughett) made a play.”

While Raceland’s defense brought up a third-and-14 just five plays later, Dalton Sizemore hooked up with Chase Lowrie for a 15-yard TD pass to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 20-7.

Williamsburg (11-2) took off from there, putting the clamps on the Rams’ offense and following the lead of its big quarterback on its own offense.

Sizemore was 16 of 28 for 191 yards and three touchdowns — Lowrie caught two of those. Sizemore also rushed for 84 yards and a score.

The Yellow Jackets skyrocketed to a 14-0 advantage in the first six minutes. Sizemore was 6 of 6 for 70 yards on the first drive, which ended with a 17-yard Lowrie TD reception.

Following a Raceland three-and-out, Sizemore stormed through a gap for a 52-yard scamper, setting up his 2-yard TD rush.

“They caught us off-guard a little bit, because they're so fast,” Maynard said.

The Rams (11-3) answered by forcing punts on five consecutive Yellow Jacket possessions.

“Personally, I wasn't really worried about (being down 14-0),” said senior lineman Alec Risner. “I know we're a comeback team. We’d been in these situations before. I knew we could come back.”

Sophomore Carson Christian keyed a charge in the running game. He carried three times for 30 yards during an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by a Daylin Beach 10-yard TD run.

Beach finished with a team-high 80 yards on 19 carries. Christian, meanwhile, exited during that drive with a lower leg injury.

"Down 14-7, you're feeling pretty good about yourself," said Maynard. "We settled down and were playing really well, but we couldn't get enough sustained offensively."

Williamsburg's defensive line played a big role in that denial.

Whether it was third-and-2 or fourth-and-1, Helton, Hughett, Collin Lammorie and Ethan Wilson threw up a wall. Several of the stops deterred once-promising possessions.

"You've got to give them a lot of credit," Maynard said. "They're aggressive up front, really quick. We came up short each time."

"Our D-line is just playing phenomenal right now," said Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron, in his 11th year on the staff. "They just loaded up the box and made it hard for them to run the ball all night."

Raceland turned the ball over on downs twice in the second half on failed fourth-and-1 attempts, both run plays up the middle — with one being out of the wildcat formation.

Overall, the Rams had four turnovers on downs and two interceptions.

Williamsburg committed just one turnover — a takeaway by Raceland's Maverick Dixon that marked his eighth interception of the season.

The Yellow Jackets retaliated with a Corey Shelton pick on the very next possession.

Shelton employed three knee-buckling jukes as he took a short pass from Sizemore 24 yards to paydirt. Williamsburg led 27-7 with 8:58 remaining.

Jefferson Patrick accounted for the Yellow Jackets' final score.

Williamsburg will take on Mayfield in the program's first-ever state championship game appearance on Friday in Bowling Green.

"This is an unbelievable night for the school, the town and the program," said Herron, a Williamsburg graduate. "Raceland's a good football team. They're well-coached and they really play hard. Man, they're really big and strong."

Fans, most of whom had to stand because the bleachers filled up quickly, numbered large in support of both schools.

Maynard wasn't surprised with the Raceland contingent.

"We know our community supports football, and they always come out and support the Rams," he said. "We're blessed to have that following. Hopefully we do this again, and hopefully we're in this game each and every year."

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.


Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0726fbPrac0079.jpg Practice rolls on as kickoff approaches in less than 5 weeks

    As high school football teams strap on helmets and prepare for Friday nights next month, the theme of the first couple of weeks of practice for most is simple.
    You gotta work. Hard.
    And if you don’t, it’ll be exposed come Aug. 22.
    “Everybody looks good in helmets,” Ashland coach Tony Love said with a grin. “We’re all undefeated. There’s a lot of work to get done.
    “Our coaches and kids, we all know it, and that’s why they’re here and we’re here, and we’re gonna push hard every day.”

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • kenzie-breaststroke.jpg Pennington makes push for Nationals

    Swimmer Kenzie Pennington had one last chance to make the cut for this year’s YMCA Long Course National Championships.
    The 15-year-old from Ashland didn’t disappoint.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo