Even on a rainy night, Raceland wasn’t about to slip up on a chance to advance to its first regional football final since 2009.
The Rams scored 28 consecutive points on the way to a 42-12 semifinal victory over Paintsville on Friday night.
“At this point, it’s all about winning and advancing,” Raceland coach T.J. Maynard said. “That’s all you are trying to do. We’re happy to move on.”
Raceland will host Pikeville next Friday night in the Class A quarterfinals.
Daylin Beach ran for 195 yards and three touchdowns as the Rams won their sixth consecutive game and 10th overall this season.
“Raceland’s very good, probably the best team we’ve played all year,” said Paintsville coach Joe Chirico, whose Tigers lost to Pikeville 28-21 on Sept. 6. “Raceland has a great offensive and defensive line. And their skill players just keep coming at you.”
The diverse Rams’ offense stuck mostly to the ground in the wet conditions, gaining 309 yards rushing.
“Our front five has been solid blocking from the start of the season,” Maynard said. “With four seniors and one junior, the guys up there have a lot of experience.”
Quarterback Adam Elkins scored on a 1-yard sneak to start Raceland’s scoring and later connected with wideout Rodney Vance for a 10-yard touchdown.
Beach did most of the leg work, carrying the ball 22 times and going over 1,000 yards on the season. He scored on runs of 2, 1 and 6 yards.
“Daylin has run hard all year,” Maynard said. “Every time he gets the ball, it’s like he’s on a mission. His feet are constantly moving, and he has great athletic ability and vision.”
Paintsville, 2-9 last season, far surpassed expectations this season with eight wins and turned in a gritty effort against Raceland for the second time this season.
“You’ve got to give Paintsville credit,” Maynard said. “Coach Chirico has done just an unbelievable job, and their kids give tremendous effort. Tonight, they did some things defensively early that caused us some trouble. We were able to make adjustments.”
The Tigers got off to a rocky start, fumbling the ball on the first play from scrimmage. Raceland’s Brady Harris came up with the loose ball at Paintsville’s 15.
Elkins ran 14 yards up the middle on the next play, then kept it again for the score.
Paintsville followed Raceland’s lead later in the quarter by taking advantage of a fumble recovery. The Tigers drove 56 yards, with end Bradley Nordin taking a handoff and scoring from 5 yards out to make it 7-6.
Raceland countered with Elkins’ TD pass to Vance in the back of the end zone to start the string of 28 points.
Connor Messer and Beach each had 2-yard scoring runs in the second quarter for a 28-6 halftime lead. Beach added a 6-yard score in the third quarter to extend the margin to 29 points.
Paintsville’s Lane Daniels turned a short pass from quarterback Mark Fannin into a 62-yard touchdown later in the third period before Beach rounded out the scoring by banging into the end zone from 1 yard out.
“Our kids never gave up,” said Chirico, a former Marshall University standout. “I couldn’t be prouder. Nobody expected us to be 8-4. These seniors made a commitment and the rest of the team followed. It’s amazing what they’ve done.”
Fannin, one of those seniors, completed 17 of 29 passes for 175 yards. But Raceland limited the Tigers to 81 yards on the ground. Rams defensive back Maverick Dixon made his seventh interception of the season early in the second half.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at