What makes the NFL so stinkin’ popular?
The fact that nobody stinks! (Except for the Jaguars).
Sure, the razzle-dazzle playmaking, the mind-numbing hitting and fantasy-point tracking make for spellbinding Sunday afternoons, but the NFL wouldn't be near as enticing if every game was 40-20.
Margins are inching closer and closer every game, it seems.
Of the nine 1 p.m. kickoffs on Sunday, eight of them resulted in a one-possession outcome. That's what keeps you watching.
On Friday night, local teams served up quite a display of gutwrenchers.
Five area games were decided by six points or fewer, with the closest being a one-point nailbiter at Russell’s Henry R. Evans Stadium. Meanwhile, another took so many quick twists and turns that even the fans in the seats sensed motion sickness. Fairview-Bellevue had a chance to go either way until the Eagles created some late separation for a 12-point win.
Who knows? This coming Friday may hold even more close-game excitement. I know the Monday Morning Quarterback hopes so.
A different sort of excitement struck Grayson, when an electrical fire in the concession stand caused a power outage. No one was injured, thank goodness, and the game was moved to Sunday, when East Carter won 38-21.
Got any since?
‰Friday night marked the lowest-scoring Ashland-Russell game since … 1987. The Tomcats were 7-3 winners 26 years ago.
‰Fairview hasn't been involved in such a high-scoring contest since … ever. Second place in that department is last year’s 69-29 meeting with Casey County. On Friday, Fairview and Bellevue combined for 972 total yards of offense on 130 plays. There were 43 total first downs and 16 touchdowns.
‰West Carter hadn’t won back-to-back games since ... 2010. The Comets finished that regular season with defeats of Lewis County and Powell County. On a related note, Lewis County is 3-0 for the first time since 2005.
Four stickers: Tyler Pack (Johnson Central), Tanner Dolen (Fairview), Raceland O-line, Fairview O-line, Isaac Lee (Rowan County), Lane Daniels (Paintsville).
Johnson Central sophomore Tyler Pack tied a state record with a stunning 58-yard field goal during Friday’s Golden Eagles win over Perry County Central.
The smallest schools have two of the most physical offensive fronts in the area. Raceland’s front five (Alec Risner, Mac Boggs, Austin Manis, Nevan Johnson and Lucas Bradley) boosted the Rams to 479 yards of offense, while Fairview’s group (Cody McPeek, Anthony Roark, Clay Goble, Dan Metzler and Tanner Young) opened seams for a 510-yard rushing night.
Dolen’s career-high 200 rushing yards were huge, but the timing of his two touchdowns were even bigger on Friday night. He helped the Eagles punch right back during a third-quarter scoring frenzy. Bellevue cut Fairview’s lead to 43-42 with 3:32 left in the third, but Dolen found the end zone just 19 seconds later for his second score.
Rowan County’s Isaac Lee sped for 240 yards on 15 carries. He added a TD in the Vikings’ victory over Fleming County.
Daniels recorded 79 yards on six receptions, 45 yards on six carries, two rushing touchdowns, a pair of two-point conversions and 15 tackles. One of those two TDs was a game winner as the Tigers beat Shelby Valley, 44-38, in overtime.
Three: A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County), Isaiah King (Fairview), Daylin Beach (Raceland), Drew O'Bryan (Ashland), Braden Brown (West Carter), Kent Phelps (Paintsville).
Two: Billy McCoy (Boyd County), Nick Conley (Russell), Adam Elkins (Raceland), Connor Messer (Raceland), Rusty Wells (Greenup County), Derek Ferguson (Lawrence County), Cole McClain (East Carter).
One: Hunter Prince (Ashland), Jason Smith (Boyd County), Noah Lambert (Rowan County), Jordan McCann (Lewis County), Cody Tackett (Boyd County), Armonde Yetts (Fairview), Logan Thovson (Fairview), Kane Snyder (Raceland), Patrick Soucy (Russell), Tyler Mustard (Lewis County), Jordan Ratcliff (East Carter).
1. Johnson Central (3-0)
2. Fairview (3-0)
3. Ashland (2-2)
4. Raceland (3-1)
5. Lawrence County (3-1)
6. Paintsville (3-1)
7. Lewis County (3-0)
Did you miss it? The following are local scores from the*xz weekend: Ashland 7, Russell 6; Raceland 55, Greenup County 18; Fairview 62, Bellevue 50; South Point 23, Boyd County 19; Johnson Central 53, Perry County Central 7; Lawrence County 48, Breathitt County 26; Rowan County 44, Fleming County 29; West Carter 30, Morgan County 25; Lewis County 36, Nicholas County 0; Paintsville 44, Shelby Valley 38; Ironton 14, Amanda-Clearcreek 7, East Carter 38, Bath County 21.
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.