Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 3, 2012

Rams make it look easy

The Independent

RACELAND — Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Raceland racked up its first three touchdowns of the game on its first three offensive snaps.

While the Rams couldn’t quite keep a perfect touchdown-per-play ratio, the Rams had no problem scoring the rest of the game, either, rolling over Allen Central 60-0 on Friday night in the opening round of the KHSAA Class A playoffs.

Connor Messer’s 65-yard run down the sideline on the first play of the game gave the Rams a 6-0 lead just 15 seconds into the contest.

Raceland (9-2) almost didn’t even need a second offensive possession to score points. After the Rams’ defense forced a three-and-out, Messer ran the ensuing Rebel punt back to about the half-yard line before finally being stopped. Daylin Beach walked in untouched on the next play.

Quarterback Adam Elkins kept the streak going on the next possession, when he found Messer streaking down the seam from 39 yards out. A Rebel defender looked to be in perfect position to stop Messer at about the 10-yard line, but the sophomore used a super stiff-arm to shrug off the would-be tackler.

“You worry about games like this. Obviously, on film you think you are better than they are, but you worry about a letdown,” Raceland coach T.J. Maynard said. “I was happy to come out and have a start like we did and put the thing away early, so we could get those guys out and not risk injury and let some young guys have an opportunity.”

The Rams did not completely avoid injury, however. Senior wide receiver John Valencourt suffered a knee injury on a punt return in the first quarter and did not return to the game, but Maynard hopes to have him back next week.

The streak of touchdowns on consecutive touches actually extended to four, when Rodney Vance picked off Rebel quarterback Cameron Hamilton and returned it 68 yards to paydirt.

The offensive play that the Rams failed to score on came with 2:23 in the opening period, when an Elkins pass intended for Beach fell incomplete. The offense got right back on track one play later, when Beach raced 77 yards for the score.

Allen Central (2-9) had the size to hold up with the Ram offensive line, but not the speed to stay with the skill positions.

“Allen Central is very big. They have a lot of big guys but they lack footspeed,” Maynard said. “So we just tried to get our athletes out in space and let them make plays. Obviously they didn’t get a lot of touches because of the score, but when they did they made things happen.”

Messer accounted for 294 yards on just six touches, while Beach had three rushes for three scores and 84 yards.

The lone Ram miscue came late in the second quarter, when Elkins had a pass tipped and intercepted. In the Rams’ two losses this season, they have turned it over a combined 11 times. Maynard knows that can’t happen if Raceland wants to make a deep postseason run.

“We have got to continue to work on timing amd eliminate the turnovers,” he said.

Raceland will take on Pikeville next Friday night. The Rams defeated the Bears 54-14 early in the season, but Maynard doesn’t expect an easy road win for his team.

“We beat them pretty good early in the season, but that was Week 2,” he said. “I’m sure they have gotten a lot better, and hopefully we have gotten a lot better. It will be a different game this time around. Plus we have to go there this time.”