Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 3, 2013

Fairview-Lawrence, Part II

Area schools faced off throughout 1970s, 80s

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — The last time Fairview and Lawrence County set foot onto the same football field was in September of 1989.

Just so happens that the title “Back to the Future Part II,” a hit movie that year, fits what the Bulldogs are trying to do.

Maybe what their future held then — 10 straight seasons of at least eight wins from 1990-99 — is what their future holds now. At least that’s the hope in Louisa.

By revisiting an old rival, which also happens to present a great challenge, perhaps Lawrence County can spark something special.

Days before Friday’s home meeting with the Eagles, Bulldogs coach Joe Cecil isn’t interested in making any magnificent predictions. After all, the 2013 season has just begun, but his team has jumped out to a 2-0 start in impressive fashion.

Lawrence County poured 56 points onto Boyd County before throttling Rowan County, 50-27. The Bulldogs totaled 497 and 558 yards of offense in their first two contests, respectively.

“That just validated some of our thoughts that we had a chance to be pretty decent,” Cecil said.

Cecil said he didn’t know much about the history of the rivalry, which began in 1971 with Fairview and Louisa. By 1990, the two schools (Louisa became Lawrence County in 1977) tallied 19 consecutive years of meetings — the last was an apparent forfeit by the Eagles.

“I really don’t,” Cecil answered when asked if he had knowledge of the showdowns of the 1970s and 80s. “I know their recent history is that they’re pretty good.”

Fairview heads into Louisa with a 22-game regular season winning streak to its name. The defending Class A state runners-up opened their season with a 27-6 win over East Carter last Friday.

Eagles coach Nathan McPeek knows his defense must be fully prepared this Friday. The game plan will revolve around senior quarterback A.J. Cyrus.

“He’s a stud football player,” McPeek said. “He’s probably one of the better players we’ve faced in a while. He reads the belly and option game really well, knows the intricacies of it. He knows when to pitch it, when to keep it.”

One play from the Lawrence County-Rowan County game, in particular, quickly caught McPeek’s attention when watching film.

Cyrus dashed 46 yards for a touchdown on just the Bulldogs’ third play.

“Rowan County was in pretty good position,” McPeek said. “But (Cyrus) read it, tucked it up and was gone.”

Throw in running backs Derek Ferguson and Cameron Little, fullback Ricky Goble and receivers Noah Lambert and Timmy Dalton, and the Bulldogs have a rather deep arsenal of offensive weapons in its option scheme.

“They’re not one-dimensional,” McPeek said. “They’ll run, run, run and throw a fade for a touchdown. Or run, run, run and throw a hitch.”

Fairview (1-0) attempted only three passes in its first game, but managed 293 rushing yards on 45 carries. Tanner Dolen led the way with 102 yards.

Cecil said Lawrence County (2-0) added Fairview to its schedule for a tough, close-to-home opponent.

“We’re not going to get any average Joe to play us,” said Cecil. “We’d been going to Letcher (County Central) and Perry (County Central), good teams ... but we wanted to develop an area feel. I think Fairview was kind of in that same boat.”

Cecil coached McPeek for one season at Russell. He said the two are close friends.

Cecil said the community is excited for the Eagles to roll into town.

“It’s a big challenge,” Cecil said. “I just hope our maturation can continue, and we can be the best we’re capable of being.”

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