Too many weapons.
After watching Fairview’s Elijah King and Co. shred Nicholas County for 489 yards rushing in a 48-20 romp Friday night, veteran Bluejackets coach Robert Hopkins shook his head.
The speedy and elusive King bolted for a season-high 236 yards and three touchdowns on only nine carries as the unbeaten Eagles rolled into the Class A quarterfinals.
Fullback Chris Brewer, halfback Devon Turner and receiver Mason Rutherford combined for another 239 yards on just 14 carries, each finding the end zone once.
“They have the offensive stuff to make it to Bowling Green,” Hopkins said of Fairview’s playoff march.
The Eagles (12-0) advanced to the region finals for the third year in a row. They will travel next Friday to Pikeville, a 26-20 overtime winner against Raceland.
“I’m proud of our guys and coaching staff,” Fairview coach Nathan McPeek said. “What an exciting time for our program, and what an exciting time for our community. Hopefully we can continue on this run.”
Nicholas County’s pile-driving running back Austin Allison gave the Eagles’ defense a workout by pounding away for 198 yards and three TDs, but Fairview provided the fireworks.
All seven of the Eagles’ touchdowns in the second-round game covered at least 30 yards, capped by a Brewer 60-yard interception return midway through the fourth quarter.
King, healthy after a week-eight ankle sprain, was off to the races for scoring runs of 75, 57 and 55 yards.
Each time the senior took a snap from center in shotgun formation, it was bad news for the Bluejackets.
“We even knew what was coming and still couldn’t stop it,” Hopkins said. “They’ve got a very potent offense.”
King went 75 yards for Fairview’s first score. Brewer scored from 30 yards out after Nicholas County fumbled the ball away in their own territory on a center exchange and the Eagles converted two-pointers after both touchdowns to make it 16-0 in the opening quarter.
Nicholas County responded with a 71-yard scoring drive that consumed the last seven minutes of the quarter, but King dashed 57 yards to the end zone after taking a snap on the opening play of the second period.
“I read big Anthony (Roark) on what he does,” King said of the big offensive lineman. “Without him and all those guys up front, I couldn’t do anything.”
King’s younger brother, Isaiah, a receiver, made a block far downfield to help get him into the end zone on that play, as well as a 55-yard score in the third quarter to make it 30-13.
“He was out there showing me some love,” Elijah said.
Fairview, which never punted, also got TD runs of 33 yards from Turner and 35 from Rutherford.
“Other teams can’t key on one person,” King said. “It’s an explosive offense. I think we’re kind of hard to defend.”
Hopkins pointed out that Fairview could have a couple of potential track state champions in King and Rutherford, both key additions to the team this season.
“They can run, and are so fluid the way they move,” he said.
Nicholas County (7-5) got scoring runs of 5, 6 and 14 yards from Allison, who carried 35 times.
“He’s a brute, and not only hard-nosed but a coach on the field,” Hopkins said.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-26761.
Too many weapons.
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VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
- Fleming hangs tough to beat Lewis Fleming County locked into another fight against Lewis County, which beat the Panthers earlier this season, before winning 66-58 on Monday in Morehead. Wilder Williams posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who face Ashland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
- GALLERY: Ashland gets by Greenup County, will meet Fleming in region final Ashland's Steven Friley scored 21 points Monday to lead the Tomcats to an 81-61 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region semifinal in Morehead.
Kittens clamoring for more at state
Ashland girls basketball coaches went the extra mile, and a whole bunch more, to get a first-hand scouting report on the Kittens’ opponent for the State Tournament.
Head coach Bill Bradley and assistant Phil Wittich drove all the way to Henderson — 5 hours, 20 minutes one way Bradley said on the way home — to take in Sunday’s Second Region championship game.
Henderson County, playing on its home floor, defeated University Heights 67-54. The Lady Colonels went unbeaten in their region this season and are 24-5 overall.
EKC hands out hardware
The Eastern Kentucky Conference handed out its 2014 awards on Monday afternoon at a luncheon at Carter Caves.
Barracudas earn kudos from coach
Ashland Area YMCA swimmers impressed coach Ryan Ferguson from start to finish in the three-day Kentucky Y Competitive Swim League State Meet.
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- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights