By now, it’s the matchup that everybody wants to see.
Actually, after Friday, there are two clashes (maybe more) worth clamoring for.
Regional finals week could provide area fans with a pair of doozies — Johnson Central at Highlands and Pikeville at Raceland.
Is this the Golden Eagles’ year to knock off the mighty Bluebirds?
Most “experts” (and yes, that includes myself) believe the winner of that showdown will hoist the state champion crown.
In 2010, the Golden Eagles were excruciatingly close to tackling the improbable feat of toppling Highlands. Who knows? Maybe ‘13 is Central's lucky number …
Speaking of numbers, did you see the Highlands-Warren Central score? The Bluebirds won 71-69!
Pikeville piled up a few points of its own, slinging 56 onto the scoreboard at Russell. If that performance is any indication, the Rams — if Raceland and the Panthers advance that far — will have their work cut out for them on Nov. 22.
OK, so we’ve mentioned crowns and gone over possible state and region kings … that brings us to the annual presentation of the QB's “Helmet Sticker King.”
The coveted title has been claimed by a top player in the area since 2009. Comprising the group of winners, in chronological order: Shane Pack (Lawrence County), Corey Lyle (Greenup County), Sam Hunter (Ashland) and Quinton Baker (Ashland).
In 2013, a total of exactly 100 players and/or offensive line or defensive line units received a sticker-slap on the noggin.
Let’s count down the top 10, along with their amount …
10. Daymion Belcher (Johnson Central) 13; t9. Jordan Young (Johnson Central) 14; t9. Daylin Beach (Raceland) 14; 7. Nick Conley (Russell) 15; 6. Ryan Byrd (Greenup County) 16; t5. Armonde Yetts (Fairview) 17; t5. A.J. Cyrus (Lawrence County) 17; 3. Isaac Weddington (Lewis County) 18; 2. Connor Messer (Raceland) 22; and…
Drumroll please …
1. Quinton Baker (Ashland) 25.
Baker becomes the first ever back-to-back “Helmet Sticker King” and also the first repeat winner. Congratulations to Quinton Baker “The Touchdown Maker,” an Ashland sophomore.
Got Any “Since?”
‰Lewis County achieved just its second seven-win regular season since … 1988. The Lions went 8-2 in 2011 before falling in the first round of the playoffs. In all, Lewis County has now recorded seven regular seasons consisting of at least seven wins since 1973. Three of those came in the 1970s.
‰Paintsville accomplished its first seven-win campaign since … 2005. The Tigers went 10-3, including two playoff victories, under the direction of Bill Mike Runyon. In his first year, Joe Chirico has his players’ attention, apparently.
‰Raceland became the first northeastern Kentucky football program to the 500-win mark since … Paintsville in 2005.
Northeastern Kentucky’s 500-win football programs: Ashland (652), Russell (566), Paintsville (547) and Raceland (501).
Four: Maverick Dixon (Raceland), Jordan Young (Johnson Central), Isaac Weddington (Lewis County), Tyler Mustard (Lewis County).
Dixon spearheaded Raceland's superb defensive effort in a shutout of Ironton on Friday. The junior swiped three balls from the Fighting Tigers, all in the form of interceptions.
Young’s stat line: 26 carries, 249 yards, five TDs. Those kinds of numbers never get old.
Weddington is a back-to-back four-sticker recipient following a 461-yard passing outburst to go with five total touchdowns — four were through the air.
Mustard caught nine of Weddington’s 22 completions for 262 yards and two scores.
Looks like the Monday Morning Quarterback is trying to make up for something, huh? Why doesn’t he go ahead and send an apologetic bouquet the way of the Lions?
Nah, I’ll just give them stickers and come out smelling like roses.
Of course, they deserve them anyway.
Three: Raceland defensive line, Matt Lawson (Greenup County).
Two: Kane Snyder (Raceland), Nick Conley (Russell), Chase Parker (Lewis County), Connor Messer (Raceland), Jason Smith (Boyd County), Billy McCoy (Boyd County), Lane Daniels (Paintsville).
One: Jacob McKee (Russell), Bronson Korzep (Russell), Adam Elkins (Raceland), Cole McClain (East Carter), Daymion Belcher (Johnson Central), Jordan Ratcliff (East Carter), Mark Fannin (Paintsville), Kent Phelps (Paintsville).
‰The QB didn’t receive statistics from Fairview.
1. Johnson Central (10-0)
2. Raceland (8-2)
3. Ashland (7-3)
4. Fairview (5-5)*
5. Russell (6-4)
6. Lawrence County (7-3)*
7. Lewis County (7-3)
* = Records affected by Friday’s ruling by the KHSAA that Fairview had to vacate four wins this season.
Did you miss it? The following are area scores from Friday: Tolsia (WV) 21, Boyd County 16; Pikeville 56, Russell 28; East Carter 13, Greenup County 12 (OT); Fairview 49, Gamble Montessori 18; Raceland 17, Ironton 0; Johnson Central 54, Belfry 28; Prestonsburg 20, Lawrence County 14; Montgomery County 33, Rowan County 14; Paintsville 48, West Carter 7; Lewis County 49, Magoffin County 33.
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
By now, it’s the matchup that everybody wants to see.
- Local Sports
Pole vaulters conquer wind in Chattin
For obvious reasons, pole vaulting records and windy conditions don’t go together.
Raceland’s Connor Messer and Fairview’s Morgan McIntyre raised the bar anyway at Saturday’s Ernie Chattin Memorial Invitational.
Despite a windy challenge — especially for Messer — on the hilltop at Ashland Athletic Complex, both athletes set new pole vault marks for the 11-year-old meet and received Outstanding Performance awards.
Stock soaring for East eighth-grader Fouts
With a name like Montana, you just have to go big.
Six-foot eighth-grader Montana Fouts isn't a big talker, but when it comes to the business of softball, her skills convey a loud and clear message.
The East Carter pitcher is making herself a can't-pass-up commodity with her flawless throwing form and sizzling speed.
Lewis snaps 4-game skid, beats Ashland, 2-1
Question: What four-game Lewis County losing streak?
Answer: the one the Lions snapped Saturday by knocking off visiting Ashland, 2-0, in the third annual Lewis County Autism Awareness game.
HIGH SCHOOL ROUNDUP: Hensley fires 2nd no-no in 2 days, Kittens split
Ashland junior Megan Hensley no-hit Portsmouth West on Saturday, one day after dealing a perfect game, as the Kittens beat the Lady Senators 16-0 in five innings at the Valley of Thunder at Symmes Valley.
Streak snapped: Comets end 40-game losing streak to Raiders
Nineteen years and 40 games between East Carter and West Carter have passed since the Comets have beaten the Raiders.
Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” was the No. 1 song the last time West got a win over East.
The visiting Comets ended almost 20 years of futility against the Raiders in dominating fashion on Friday night, defeating East Carter, 8-0.
Williams steps down as Lady Vikings coach
Jen Williams did not make this decision lightly.
HIGH SCHOOL ROUNDUP: Hensley spins perfect game
Ashland’s Megan Hensley fired a perfect game and drove in the only runs of the game with a two-run homer as the Kittens topped Upper Arlington (Ohio) 2-0 in the Valley of Thunder at Symmes Valley on Friday night.
One-run fun: Ashland on smiling side of close game vs. East
After opening the season with a 2-1 victory, Ashland has had a hard time cracking the close game code.
Hensley rises, fires as Kittens win big
Johnson Central softball coach Jason Hurt’s already high opinion of Ashland junior Megan Hensley rose to another level Thursday night.
Diller, Mackie spark Raceland
It is time for the 16th Region to take notice of the Raceland softball team.
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