Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 15, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Rams’ eyes wide open

ASHLAND — Ever stop and stare at one of those 3D illusion posters on display in a store or mall?

Sometimes it takes walking away for a few minutes before returning to give it a second look for your eyes to fully capture the image.

After your brain registers the subject, it pops out like a shark in a tuna tank every time you take a peek.

A duplicate picture is plastered directly in front of Raceland’s football players this postseason. Smack dab in the middle of the scene lies another regional semifinal matchup against a team the Rams are supposed to beat.

Last year, they squinted, they closed their eyes, they shook their heads and tried to refocus, but they never saw it. Pikeville shocked Raceland in front of the Panthers’ home fans, keeping Raceland out of the regional final round for the third straight season.

This year, the second-round opponent is Paintsville — a deceptively worthy one that can’t be overlooked, just like Pikeville a year ago.

This time, though, the image is crystal clear —  a game against Pikeville in the region finals at Rams Stadium next Friday.

Most teams would like to think they approach every game the same. After last year’s season-ending disappointment, that has held true for the experienced Rams in 2013.

As senior quarterback Adam Elkins said following Raceland’s win over Fairview on Oct. 18, “Every week we prepare the same. We might be more pumped up for certain games, but we prepare the same way every week.”

Elkins had to be referring, at least in part, to last year’s letdown in Pikeville when he uttered his next few words.

 “Whenever bad things happen to us, we don’t dwell on it,” he said. “Whenever good things happen to us, we don’t celebrate for too long.”

While that’s a true sign of an experienced group, the Rams’ actions will still have to back up Elkins’s speech tonight.

Playoff Week 2

Highlands 48, Ashland 17: If Ashland is without Quinton Baker “The Touchdown Maker,” where will the scores come from? Ashland has embraced the “next man up” philosophy under first-year coach Tony Love, and that will continue. Even if Baker, who is questionable after suffering an ankle injury against Holmes, is sidelined, the Tomcats don’t back down a bit, but the mighty Bluebirds prevail with their prolific passing attack.

Johnson Central 48, Covington Catholic 14: Every time Johnson Central has entered a game that has the potential makings of a close one, it shattered that notion in a matter of minutes. This Golden Eagles team is legitimate, and they begin to truly reveal that tonight.

Belfry 34, Lawrence County 14: This was a 35-12 win for the Pirates during the regular season, and I don’t expect much different here. The Bulldogs wind up a nice season tonight.

Raceland 42, Paintsville 18: The Rams are too powerful and too polished for Paintsville.

Bourbon County 38, Russell 14: If this score proves correct, it would be the closest any opponent has played with the Colonels this season. That’s how good Bourbon County is.

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

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