When the final horn sounded last Friday night, it didn’t just mark the end of a Fairview 40-27 win over archrival Raceland.
It was the cumlmination of what had been talked and speculated about for months.
What had been built up was suddenly over, and Raceland coach T.J. Maynard wasn’t quite sure how his team was going to react.
“We gave them Monday off because the game was so physical, and Tuesday’s practice was just so-so,” he said. “But Wednesday was great.”
The play on the practice field carried over to the real thing Friday night as Raceland plowed past Class A district foe Painstville 57-0 to improve to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in district play. The Rams finished second in the district will have a home playoff game in two weeks.
Despite being pleased with practice, Maynard was still worried about the possibility of his team coming out flat against a Tiger squad that came in with a 1-7 record.
Those worries were also put to bed early as the Rams jumped out to a two-touchdown lead after one quarter. Zack Litteral had scoring runs of 3 and 39 yards in the opening 12 minutes. The junior would add another touchdown later to finish with 119 yards on nine carries.
“Coming off a rival game agaisnt Fairveiw, basically for the district championship, you don’t want to come out flat,” Maynard said. “You can’t look at what a team has done in the past or what their record is. Every week is a different opportunity, and you have to make sure you come prepared and let the scoreboard take care of itself.”
Several Rams had the opportunity for an expanded offensive role Friday, as starting quarterback Adam Elkins, running back Daylin Beach and wide receiver Rodney Vance were all held out of action with injuries.
One player who made sure to make the most of his opportunity was Colton Griffith. The senior rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown and also had an 11-yard TD reception.
“Colton was able to step in tonight and give us some big runs out of the tailback position,” Maynard said.
The coach said Griffith embodies what this year’s senior class, which was honored before the game, is all about.
“This group has just been good leaders from the standpoint that they come to work every day,” he said. “Whether they are the most talented, I don’t know. But they give you everything that they have and get the most out of their athletic ability.”
While the likes of Griffith and backup quarterback Josh Young stepped up to fill the void on offense, the Ram defense didn’t really need much help. The Raceland defensive unit scored three touchdowns of its own in the second quarter. Brady Harris and Connor Messer both returned Kash Daniel interceptions for scores. Messer also returnd a fumble 31 yards to paydirt.
“We have played pretty well defensively all year, but we were able to get some big plays there,” said Maynard, whose team forced six turnovers inluding five interceptions. “Any way that we can score we are happy.”
The Rams close the regular season on the road against Russell on Friday.