Just a fair warning … if Fairview and Raceland meet up again in this year's regional finals, whoever I pick is automatically the underdog.
Over the last two seasons, I'm 0 for 2 in predicting this matchup. For some reason, I do myself no favors by going with the away team, too.
So, I annually brace myself for a good lambasting or roasting from the home side.
Friday night had nothing to do with the Monday Morning Quarterback, though. It was all about the Rams, and they made that clear from the get-go.
Sure, Fairview showed some signs of life, but overall it was a dominant (and near flawless) effort by Raceland. The Rams did all their roasting on the field.
Given how heated and how important this rivalry game is year-in and year-out, it's surprising that only one of the previous seven meetings has been decided by fewer than 13 points.
Cars lined up in the grassy area along U.S. 23 and fans encircled the premises — just a typical scene for the Rams and Eagles in Raceland.
Question is, do you want to see it again on Nov. 22?
Here’s what has to happen:
‰Raceland needs a win over Paintsville this Friday to lock up a Class A, District 7 title.
‰Fairview must win its first two playoff games, the second of which likely being a clash with Pikeville at Pikeville. The Panthers, as Raceland witnessed last season, have been tough to beat at home in the postseason.
‰Raceland must also win its first two playoff games, which will both be at home given a win over Paintsville on Friday.
My prediction (which apparently carries little weight): See you in Raceland for the rematch in five weeks.
Both Fairview and Raceland had to deal with significant injuries and, unfortunately for them, the story may be much the same if they meet again on Nov. 22.
Zack Litteral (broken leg) is out for the year for the Rams.
Fairview was missing starting defensive tackles Aaron Fitchpatrick (leg) and Billy Davis (back). They are done for the season. Also out was former starting defensive end Chris Perkins. Perkins, who has been out for the past three weeks, also will not return. According to coach Nathan McPeek, he is off the team due to a violation of team rules.
One question lingers for Fairview, though. Will junior Isaiah King, a defensive back and running back, be healthy in five weeks? He is currently out with a broken collarbone.
Got Any “Since?”
‰Johnson Central and Ashland haven’t played a game decided by fewer than 16 points at Putnam Stadium since … 2005. The series has included recent one-point outcomes (2009, 2012), but both contests were played in Paintsville. Games at Ashland haven’t been near as close since 2005, when the Tomcats prevailed 13-10.
The Class 4A, District 8 rivals do battle at Putnam on Friday.
‰Johnson Central hasn’t scored at this torrid pace since … ever. At 58.3 points per game, the Golden Eagles are putting up ridiculous numbers. They haven't been held under 36 all season, and they've scored 50-plus points seven times in eight games.
They’re also one of three Class 4A teams to have held teams to less than 100 total points this season.
‰Russell has had a 100-yard rusher every week since … Sept. 6 against Ironton. Since then, the Red Devils have produced a 100-yard rusher in six straight games. It's been freshman Nick Conley five of those times, with junior Bronson Korzep accounting for the other. Amazingly enough, Conley has rushed for exactly 100 yards on three occasions.
Four stickers: Connor Messer (Raceland).
Messer plays more roles on a football field than Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor.
One catch was particular nutty for the junior, playing wide receiver at the time.
With the game out of reach for Fairview, a sharply delivered pass from Rams quarterback Adam Elkins appeared out of reach for anyone. That is, until the 6-foot-3 Messer laid out, body parallel to the ground, for a diving snag that he corralled with his fingertips.
That was just the tip of iceberg for Messer, who tallied 93 yards of offense in nine total touches. He rushed five times for 52 yards and a score. He was 1 of 2 passing for 17 yards and a perfectly placed TD throw to Rodney Vance. He caught two balls for 24 yards.
Messer also excelled in the secondary, coming up with key stops and deflections.
Three: Daymion Belcher (Johnson Central), James Queen (Ashland), Jordan Young (Johnson Central).
Two: Armonde Yetts (Fairview), Daylin Beach (Raceland), Quinton Baker (Ashland), Kane Snyder (Raceland), Nick Conley (Russell), Maverick Dixon (Raceland), Isaac Lee (Rowan County), Zack Cathey (East Carter).
One: A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County), Dan Metzler (Fairview), Kurtlen Brown (Fairview), Chase Parker (Lewis County), Adam Elkins (Raceland), Jacob Pennington (Russell), Qua Davis (East Carter), Bryce Workman (Johnson Central), Josh Vaughn (Ashland).
1. Johnson Central (8-0)
2. Raceland (6-2)
3. Fairview (7-1)
4. Ashland (7-2)
5. Lawrence County (6-3)
6. Russell (5-3)
7. Paintsville (6-2)
Did you miss it? The following are local scores from this past weekend: Ashland 35, Greenup County 6; Russell 44, Lewis County 8; Raceland 36, Fairview 14; Johnson Central 59, Rowan County 10; Belfry 35, Lawrence County 12; Bishop Hartley 54, Ironton 0; Fleming County 35, East Carter 23; Mason County 42, West Carter 0; Paintsville 53, Nicholas County 0.
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Need Cats' Pause?
The Cats’ Pause 2013-14 Kentucky Basketball Yearbook is on the shelves at Ashland Sporting Goods. Go grab a copy, which includes college and high school previews. Yours truly even has a few bylines in there.
High school practices officially began last week, and the high school season tips off on Dec. 2.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.