For The Independent
Raceland stung the Phelps Hornets early and often in the opening round of the KHSAA Class A playoffs.
Six different players scored for the Rams and Carson Christian rushed for 117 yards to help Raceland cruise to 62-14 win Friday night at Rams Stadium.
Raceland's postseason run got off to a shaky start. Adam Elkins’ pass was intercepted on the Rams’ first offensive play.
A couple of possessions later, Phelps quarterback Davon Smith broke a couple of tackles and streaked down the sideline 80 yards for a TD to give the Hornets a 8-7 lead midway through the first quarter.
Christian scored his second touchdown of the night from 15 yards out less than a minute later and the Rams never looked back.
“I thought our focus wasn’t quite as sharp as I would have liked,” Raceland coach T.J. Maynard said. “Once we got started, we felt like we could run the ball like we wanted.
“We still have things we need to work on, but we will take the victory and move on in the playoffs.”
Christian has battled back from an injury that occurred before the season on the first night of the Rams team camp. Maynard says the sophomore rusher is rounding into form at just the right time.
“Carson is an unknown factor for us,” Maynard said. “At the beginning of the year, he was supposed to be our No. 3 back before he got hurt. He is a tough kid with a lot of ability so it was nice to get him more reps.”
After the slow start, Raceland started to pile on the points.
Talented running back Daylin Beach scored twice. The senior shredded numerous tacklers for a 38-yard touchdown run and caught a 30-yard pass from Elkins for a score.
Rodney Vance also found the end zone twice on a 1-yard pass from quarterback Josh Young and a 10-yard plunge at the end of the first half to give the Rams a 43-8 halftime advantage.
Connor Messer tallied a touchdown pass when he connected with Elkins on a crossing pattern for 36 yards early in the second half. The score resulted in a running clock.
With the game well in hand, Maynard wanted to give his younger player some much-needed playoff experience.
“We spent more time this week with our younger players individually working with the older guys and polish them up,” Maynard said. “We wanted an opportunity to let those guys play. They play on our scout team all year and don't the recognition on Friday nights.
“They played the entire second half because they deserve it,” he added. “I am proud of them and I thought they did some good things for us.”
Freshmen Nathaniel Davidson and Trey Mills were recipients of touchdown passes from Matt Preston in the fourth quarter.
Davidson and Mills both ran in screen passes of 37 and 15 yards, respectively.
Raceland (9-2) will stay home next week and battle Paintsville in the next round. The Rams beat the Tigers 32-10 two weeks ago.
Maynard wants his team to keep its focus and not have a repeat of last year.
“We stressed that in the locker room. At this time of the year, it's win or go home,” Maynard said. “We were in the same situation last year and we fell short of our goal. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen this year.”