They ended it on top last season, so it’s fitting they tip it off in 2013.
The Lawrence County Bulldogs return to Raceland, hoping to make another run at the Derby Classic title this weekend. They take on Fairview tonight at 6:30 at Raceland to begin the four-day event.
The ninth annual tournament comprises two first-round games both today and Friday, with four games on the Saturday and Sunday slates.
-Today: Fairview (1-1) vs. Lawrence County (5-1), 6:30 p.m.; Raceland (2-1) vs. Russell (1-5).
-Friday: Campbell County (4-1) vs. Betsy Layne (6-0); East Carter (2-4) vs. South Floyd (2-3).
-Saturday: Consolation games, 3 p.m. & 4:45 p.m.; Fairview-Lawrence winner vs. Campbell-Betsy winner, 6:30 p.m.; East-Floyd winner vs. Raceland-Russell winner, 8:15 p.m.
-Sunday: Consolation games, 3 p.m., 4:45 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.; Championship game, 8:15 p.m.
Tonight’s matchup between Raceland and Russell will serve as a 63rd District seed contest. Typically, games played between district opponents during an in-season tournament aren’t considered as such.
Raceland hasn’t beaten Russell since Feb. 2, 2009 — the Red Devils have taken the last nine meetings.
The Rams’ regional football championship team will be recognized at halftime of Russell-Raceland.
Campbell County, expected to be a 10th Region contender, and undefeated 15th Region squad Betsy Layne give good reason to come out to watch two out-of-area teams, said tournament organizer Michael Salmons.
“The two out-of-town teams could be the best all-around game (in the first round),” Salmons said.
Betsy Layne comes in off two narrow victories over Louisville Male (46-44) and East Ridge (45-44). Campbell County’s sole loss came against Covington Catholic, which is 3-0.
South Floyd is a Derby Classic staple. East Carter has also been in the field a handful of times.
Virtually all of Lawrence County’s team that won this tournament a year ago is back. The Bulldogs handled Raceland with relative ease, 76-57, on Monday. The Bulldogs outlasted the Rams, 60-56, in last year’s title clash.
Like many tournaments across the Bluegrass, the Derby Classic winds up on Sunday.
“With the way the holiday fell, we didn’t want to finish up on Monday the 23rd because that puts you right into Christmas Eve,” Salmons said. “And everybody is school until Friday, so we could only do two games (today) and Friday.”
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.