Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 22, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Both have fire, but which has power?

RACELAND — Losing to Pikeville in the second round last season had a lasting effect on this Raceland group.

It instilled in them the need to put complete focus on only one opposing team in a given week.

Falling to Fairview in last year’s regional final made an impact on Pikeville.

Senior Panthers Chase Hall, Gage Morrison and Austin Black immediately dedicated themselves to working diligently in the offseason to return to this juncture.

Now, both have arrived to this point: Rams Stadium, the site of tonight’s Class A, Region 4 final at 7:30.

“We’re just ready to forget all the worrying and whatever throughout the week and just play,” said Pikeville coach Chris McNamee.

It’ll be decided on the field, as the cliche says, but it’s an eye-popper on paper. These teams are even Steven.

For example, check this out: Raceland has outgained others 4,934 yards to 2,986; Pikeville 4,808-3,467. Raceland has rushed for 3,211 yards; Pikeville 3,212.

Rams coach T.J. Maynard said, “Pikeville is the best offensive team we will have seen all year. They’re the most dangerous and most balanced.”

McNamee pointed to Raceland’s size as a concern. “The obvious difference is Raceland's size compared to ours,” he said. “They’re huge up front, both offensively and defensively.

Several questions will be answered tonight, but one is out of the teams’ control: Will it rain?

According to weather.com, a resounding “yes” is the reply. There’s an 80-percent chance.

That’s why my score is a little lower than some may predict ...

Let’s break down the matchup.

Quarterbacks

Pikeville: Austin Charles (75 of 115 passing for 1,571 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs; 648 rushing yards, 6 TDs).

Raceland: Adam Elkins (102 of 169 passing for 1,408 yards, 18 TDs, 7 INTs; 369 rushing yards, 5 TDs).

Elkins is a right-handed senior, Charles a lefty junior.

Both have been solid, and both can run and pass. McNamee has been pleased with Charles’ improvement from his sophomore to junior year.

“Last year he was wanting to get rid of the ball regardless,” said Pikeville’s coach. “He’s more intelligent in his decisions.”

Running backs

Pikeville: Chase Hall (1,529 yards, 27 TDs); Austin Black (257 yards, 7 TDs); Ben Maynard (238 yards, 5 TDs).

Raceland: Daylin Beach (1,181 yards, 14 TDs); Kane Snyder (709 yards, 8 TDs); Carson Christian (320 yards, 2 TDs).

T.J. Maynard called each team’s premiere back — Hall and Beach — “special.”

McNamee said Hall is right around 4,400 yards for his career, calling him a “tremendous worker” who “doesn’t say a whole lot, but does what he needs to do.”

Wide receivers

Pikeville: Cody Estep (39 catches, 1,016 yards, 15 TDs).

Raceland: Connor Messer (32 catches, 706 yards, 10 TDs); Rodney Vance (33 catches, 309 yards, 7 TDs).

Maynard said he notices several similarities in Estep and Messer, both teams’ all-purpose master. One of the few differences is the height differential, with Estep being about 5-foot-9 and Messer 6-3.

Added Maynard about Estep: “He can take it to the house any time.”

Offensive line

Pikeville: Gage Morrison, Caleb Campoy, Logan Coleman, Isaac Lucas, Larry David Keene.

Raceland: Nevan Johnson, Mac Boggs, Alec Risner, Lucas Bradley, Austin Manis.

McNamee is happy with his line’s progression but he knows they’ll be undersized compared to the Rams’ front line.

“Those guys will tower over some of our guys,” he said.

Morrison and Keene offer the most size for Pikeville. Keene missed most of last season with a fractured ankle.

Defensive line

Pikeville: Quinton Little, Gage Morrison, Caleb Campoy, Larry David Keene.

Raceland: Mac Boggs, Alec Risner, Isaac Wallace, Austin Manis.

Coleman, for Pikeville, and Johnson, for Raceland, will rotate in frequently.

“What makes (Raceland) go is that front five or front four,” McNamee said.

Linebackers

Pikeville: Austin Black, Ben Maynard, Blake Charles, Austin Salyer.

Raceland: Timmy McComas, Kane Snyder, Seth Holbrook.

Black has dealt with two separate knee injuries this season. His status is questionable for tonight’s game.

McComas’ 83 regular-season tackles put him in second place on the team, behind Alec Risner’s 108.

Secondary

Pikeville: Cody Estep, Cody Stephens, Cody Charles.

Raceland: Josh Young, Connor Messer, Brady Harris, Maverick Dixon.

Dixon leads the Rams with seven picks, while Messer has three.

Estep has tallied 12 takeaways (seven fumble recoveries, five interceptions).

“There have been several times on film that I’ve seen (Estep) just rip the ball out of someone’s hands as they’re trying to score,” Maynard said. “Defensively, he’s just as valuable as he is offensively, like Connor to us.”

Special Teams

Pikeville: Cody Estep, punter; L.J. Allara, placekicker; Estep and Ben Maynard, kick returners; Estep and Chase Hall, punt returners.

Raceland: Connor Messer, punter; David Pennington, placekicker; Kane Snyder and Daylin Beach, kick returners; Messer, punt returner.

Messer has one return for a touchdown this season.

Drumroll please...

Snyder says: Raceland 23, Pikeville 21. The rain plays a role and Raceland’s front line presents too much power in the trenches. A key turnover or gamebreaking defensive play will account for the difference.

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

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0729kypgaJr0034.jpg Golfers go out with an encore

    Evan Goble said he “wasn’t completely ready for a playoff” on Monday.
    That didn’t stop him from holing two pressure-packed playoff putts to win the 13-14-year-old division of the final event of the summer on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour at Bellefonte Country Club.
     

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • EKC Grid-O-Rama set for Aug. 15-16

    The annual Eastern Kentucky Conference football scrimmage contests are set for Aug. 15-16 at Fleming County and Raceland.

    July 29, 2014

  • Holliday embraces high expectations

    As Marshall football prepares to return to the gridiron to begin fall practice Aug. 4, this season the program finds itself labeled something that it has not been in many years: a favorite.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mobley, Jude key for EKU

    Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood has revamped the Colonels’ defense in hopes of containing OVC opponents’ spread offenses.

    July 29, 2014

  • ZACK KLEMME: Punchless Reds wasting solid pitching

    The last nine days have been an exercise in understanding just how slim the margin for error is for baseball teams — even good ones — that can’t score.

    July 27, 2014

  • 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