Most everything else was a long shot. This was a sure thing.
This was the 1980 Russia hockey team. Everything else was the United States.
This was Patrick Ewing and powerhouse Georgetown basketball in 1985. Everything else was No. 8-seeded Villanova.
This was Mike Tyson. Everything else? Buster Douglas.
This is now that, and that never happened.
Back on Oct. 12, many of us all but chalked up the Raceland-Fairview matchup inside of a jam-packed Fairview Stadium as Chapter 1 of two, a foregone conclusion that the rivalry would be replayed and crowd replicated, perhaps duplicated once over, come Nov. 16.
Even those directly involved matched outsiders' thoughts.
Raceland coach T.J. Maynard, himself, said the following after his team lost to the Eagles, 40-27, that night: "When we're back here in another month, there will probably be even more (fans). We both know we're on a collision course for a regional championship game."
When, he said, not if.
If it was indeed a collision course, Pikeville represented the oil spill, banana peel or whatever other obstacle one can conjure in this race to a rivalry rematch.
The Panthers put forth a game plan that ended up changing all sorts of reservations. Raceland had a party of thousands set to return to Westwood. Now, they're dining at home alone. Break out the Banquet lasagna and TV trays.
It's unfortunate for Raceland, of course, because a head-turning season ended in unimpressive fashion. It's tough for those eight seniors, led by unsung lineman Devin Thomas.
The fact that there will be no Raceland-Fairview with a state semifinal berth at stake is disappointing to the area, no doubt, because now there is just one team left. After beating Nicholas County, the Eagles must go on the road to Pikeville for the regional championship. (They do come back to Westwood if they beat the Panthers).
But, hey, we certainly can't fault the Rams for not making it happen. There were a couple of bad bounces — Pikeville recovered two onside kicks in the second half — and the Panthers played well in the overtime victory.
Daylin Beach led the Rams with 125 yards rushing to go with one TD on the ground and another on a reception. Adam Elkins was 11 of 13 for 90 yards and two TDs. Connor Messer had a team-high four catches.
Of those three names, none are seniors. And there's plenty more where that came from.
Be on the lookout for the Rams in the coming seasons.
And, with the way the alignment currently is, this Raceland-Fairview thing, well, there is a possibility of a regional final clash every season.
If the QB didn't hoard his helmet sticker collection after the regular season ended, there might be a new Helmet Sticker King by the end of November. Ironically, his last name is King.
Elijah King went all Crazy Horse on the Bluejackets with 236 yards on nine carries, including three TD sprints of more than 50 yards a pop.
The scary thing for opponents is he's just the flash that goes along with the bash (Chris Brewer), and the dash (Mason Rutherford), which opens up all accounts for the cash (Devon Turner) to deposit touchdowns from the backfield. Turner leads the Eagles with 21 TDs on the ground.
Those offensive weapons, which shoot their way through an excellent offensive line, provide enough reason to believe Fairview can punch its first ticket to the state semifinals this season.
However, for the Eagles to win it all, they will likely need to resort to the pass at times. The last three Class A champions (Hazard, Mayfield, Lexington Christian) racked up well over 2,000 passing yards. Fairview has fewer than 800 this season.
Can the Eagles show the throw?
All right QB, time to stash away the Dr. Seuss books.
Ashland's effort against top-ranked Highlands shan't be overlooked.
The Tomcats led the Bluebirds 13-8 after 45 percent of that game was completed. Considering the 'Cats possess about 50 percent the players as Highlands does, there's some real substance to that statistic.
Even though Highlands used a 22-point third-quarter outburst to bust the game open en route to a 52-13 win, it's safe to say Ashland's seniors left their unique mark during a 9-3 season. Evan Yongue's 160-yard rushing performance and Logan Salow's two interceptions highlighted the "old guys'" efforts.
Did you miss it? Here are area playoff scores from Friday night: Highlands 52, Ashland 13; Johnstown-Monroe 42, Ironton 7; Covington Catholic 45, Johnson Central 15; Fairview 48, Nicholas County 20; Pikeville 26, Raceland 20, OT; Belfry 48, Lawrence County 6.
Tweet the QB
Follow the Quarterback, @DindependentQB, for area scores on Friday nights and news throughout the week.
Mason County crushed Fleming County, 40-21, to move on to the Class 3A Region 3 championship game against Bourbon County (12-0) on Friday. Mason County is riding a seven-game winning streak, which includes the dramatic come-from-behind defeat of Russell on Oct. 5 that essentially determined the top seed in District 6.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
Most everything else was a long shot. This was a sure thing.
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Kittens kick switch (includes video)
One saw very little of the court a year ago at this time, and the other wasn't even on the team.
East finds equation (includes video)
Razor-sharp 3-point shooting early and dynamite defense down the stretch.
ZACK KLEMME: If the slipper fits
Even if Cinderella stories are what captivate basketball observers during March, there’s no room to complain with Ashland and East Carter facing off in tonight’s 16thRegion Tournament final, either.
- GALLERY: Kittens beat Fleming in region semifnal Ashland used another nice performance by Haley-Sue Foutch, who led the Kittens with 18 points and 11 rebounds, as it pulled away from Fleming County in the second half. The Kittens won, 57-39, in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals in Morehead. They will face East Carter on Friday at 7 p.m. Mykasa Robinson added a career-high 16 points for the Kittens (23-8).
- East takes down Russell, moves into finals East Carter drilled six 3-pointers in the first half and played solid defense throughout as the Lady Raiders knocked off Russell, 51-38, in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals. Megan Stickler led East Carter (31-2) with 12 points. Haley Hall added 11. Friday night will be East Carter's first finals appearance since 2010.
Updated Girls 16th Region Tournament bracket (through Wed.)
Here is the updated bracket for the Girls 16th Region Tournament after Wednesday night's opening round games. The semifinals will tip off with East Carter and Russell tonight at 6:30 in Morehead.
Girls 16th Region: Grand entrance for Foutch, Kittens (video included)
Ashland junior Haley-Sue Foutch reached the 1,000-point milestone Wednesday night, but with a different destination in mind.
Girls 16th Region: Fleming flies by West (with video)
Video clips from Wednesday’s 16th Region Tournament quarterfinal between Fleming County and West Carter aren’t likely to show up on any offensive instructional videos.
Russell-East tickets available at schools
Tickets for tonight’s Russell-East Carter semifinal game in the Girls 16th Region Tournament will be on sale at Russell High School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lawrence product Porter named an OVC All-Newcomer
Lawrence County product Taylor Porter was named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer Team after a stellar freshman season at Murray State University.
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- Kittens kick switch (includes video)