Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 23, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Time to get pick party started

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — Well, your guess is as good as mine, but you better believe I’m back to give this thing a shot.

It’s Week 1 (or Week 0, depending on who’s counting) and I don’t have a clue what to expect. Part of that is because my brain is zapped after piecing together the 56-page all-encompassing preview that you had in your hands yesterday. The other part of the equation? No one has been able to prove anything on the field yet.

That’s the beauty of opening night. Several of the questions that have been piling up throughout the preseason will be answered.

For instance:

‰How will Ashland, Boyd County and Paintsville look under the direction of new coaches?

‰Will Greenup County avoid becoming the first area team to have suffered back-to-back-to-back winless seasons?

‰Can Fairview live up to the gargantuan expectations it has created after last season’s state runner-up run?

‰Can yours truly predict a score right on the dot, just as I did for last season’s regional championship between Pikeville and Fairview?

‰How are we going to truly get our football fix with such a light first Friday night?

With just four area games on tap for tonight, local fans will be able to gradually ease into the season. An odd Saturday lineup features two local affairs.

Let’s get to the pickin’s.

Newport Central Catholic 26, Ashland 20: One’s coming off a state championship (NewCath, Class 2A) and the other a fine 9-3 season. Both lost a ton to graduation. Both have new coaches on the sideline. It appears it could be a squeaker on paper. I’ll give the edge to the home squad. Quinton Baker will be tough for the Thoroughbreds to contain, but they do just enough to start out 1-0.

Lawrence County 30, Boyd County 17: Boyd County is one of the most enticing teams to me heading into the season, as the Lions represent somewhat of an enigma. The mystery will be solved soon enough. It’ll be interesting to see how the Lions respond to a tough road environment right off the bat. I’ll take the Bulldogs, who are more experienced in key areas.

Greenup County 20, Lewis County 14: The monkey jumps off Mullins’s back! Chris Mullins, Greenup County’s head coach, that is. The third-year head man has 20 losses to no wins so far, but this season presents a different picture. More players, including more quality players, are suiting up for the Musketeers. Lewis County has some skill, but Greenup County seals the deal.

Paintsville 18, Pineville 12: Um, well, just because.

Saturday’s Games

Raceland 40, East Carter 14: The offensively gifted Rams get off to a hot start, pumped up after Raceland inducts its first members into its new Hall of Fame. East Carter has a tough gig, having to face two of this year’s Class A powers (Raceland, Fairview) before September.

George Rogers Clark 28, Rowan County 20: Both are much more experience than last season. GRC always plays a rigorous schedule — nothing further showed that than when it downed the Vikings 44-26 last year for its only win all season. Rowan County will hang with the Cardinals, but the Vikings run out of juice at the end.

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