Fairview used a rare game-opening trick play, a big night from Devon Turner and a heavy dose of defense down the stretch to beat Raceland in a matchup of two of Kentucky’s top Class A teams Friday night.
Turner rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns, and also made a big defensive hit as the undefeated and third-ranked Eagles won 40-27 in the showdown for the top spot in District 7.
An estimated crowd of 4,000 watched the teams put on a dazzling offensive battle early, then trade turnovers for most of the second half.
Turner, a senior, did most of his damage in the first half with TD runs of 3, 66 and 4 yards.
“I’m so thankful to have a line like we have,” Turner said. “They blocked their butts off.”
Turner picked up the slack for teammate Elijah King, who was nursing a sore ankle and never got on track against a tough Raceland defense.
“I just wanted to do my part with him not 100 percent,” Turner said. “I knew I had to do more.”
With the score tied at 21, Turner took a pitch going right, then cut inside for a 4-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left in the half to to put the Eagles in front to stay.
“I thought Devon Turner had a great game for them,” Raceland coach T.J. Maynard said. “Going in, we were worried about King, but I thought we bottled him up pretty good. Turner, to me, was the difference.”
Fairview’s defense set up the go-ahead score. Raceland tried a trick play from punt formation, but sophomore Armonde Yetts tackled Connor Messer at midfield for a 9-yard loss with 1:25 to go.
Earlier in the series, Turner came up from his defensive back positon and leveled Raceland standout running back Daylin Beach after a 7-yard gain. Beach carried once more before halftime, but sat out the entire second half with neck spasms according to Maynard.
“I could hear the crowd’s reaction,” Turner said. “He is such a good player. I’m sure in the playoffs he will be back 100 percent.”
Beach ran for 62 yards on 10 carries. Without him, Raceland had to lean on its passing attack. Fairview’s pass rush gave Rams quarterback Adam Elkins little time in the second half after he threw three TD passes before the intermission.
“Obviously we lost one of our main weapons right there,” Maynard said. “It hurt us, not only on offense, but defensively too. You lose a kid the quality of Daylin, you just hope that somebody else steps up and makes a play.”
The second half featured six turnovers along with a blocked punt.
Early in the third quarter, Fairview forced a sack-fumble deep in Raceland territory. Chris Perkins recovered for the Eagles and two plays later Chris Brewer scored from two yards out for a 33-21 lead.
On the Rams’ next possession, Caleb McKnight blocked a punt. Yetts picked up the loose ball and carried it 21 yards to the end zone.
“Caleb made a great play,” Yetts said. “I was just in the right position. The defense really came on and it was exciting to see all the support from our fans.”
McKnight also helped spearhead the defensive effort.
“We made adjustments in the second half and everybody stepped up,” he said.
Raceland (6-2) pulled to within 40-27 on Zack Litteral’s 11-yard run, but Fairview sealed the win on an Isaiah King interception with 3:02 remaining.
“In the second half we did a good job pressuring them,” Fairview coach Nathan McPeek said. “I thought our offensive and defensive lines won the game in the second half.”
Fairview (8-0) opened the game with Elijah King throwing a halfback pass 56 yards to Mason Rutherford for a score.
“We’ve been repping that since Monday,” McPeek said. “We’ve never run a trick play in three years.”
Raceland’s Elkins threw two TD passes to Messer and another to Rodney Vance in the back-and-forth first half.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2671.