RACELAND It took Raceland 15 seconds to secure a rematch with Paintsville next Friday night at Memorial Field.
Will Nichols dropped Betsy Layne quarterback Chase Mims in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage. What followed was nothing less than an all-out onslaught by the Rams in a 77-0 win over the Bobcats in the opening round of the Class A playoffs.
The Rams needed little time to find the scoreboard from the offensive side of the ball behind a Seth Mills-directed drive that featured five totes for 58 yards, with the final 23 earning a touchdown.
“Seth has gotten better every week and tonight, that first drive was his drive and that was our goal,” Raceland coach Michael Salmons said. “We wanted to get him established and let him take care of business and I really thought he did that well. He’s become a more physical runner.”
Raceland tallied five rushing touchdowns, four passing touchdowns, a Michael Meade 20-yard pick-six and a Gunnur Lewis 67-yard punt return for a score. Altogether, nine different Rams visited the end zone in the rout.
“A lot of guys got involved tonight,” Salmons said, “and I know we didn’t get to run very many plays — 39 plays were more than we actually expected to run — but just glad we could survive and advance to move on.”
Raceland racked up 371 total yards of offense while holding Betsy Layne to 13. The Bobcats were in negative yardage until three minutes to play in the game.
“Betsy Layne was obviously a bit undermanned tonight but so proud of those kids and coach (Scotty) McCoy for what he’s done,” Salmons said. “They battled and did the best they could with what they had. I think they dressed 20 kids tonight.”
One of the biggest plays of the night for the Rams came just before the half on a juggling catch by Nathaniel Bonzo for a score. Bonzo’s first catch of the night nearly went to the house before being shoved out of bounds. After a catch and fumble near the goal line, Salmons called his number once more and the senior secured a ball he tipped in the air three times before corralling it for the score.
“I kidded him after that catch that he was trying to play the wrong sport,” Salmons said. “It looked like he was playing volleyball. He said, ‘Well, my sister was pretty good.’ Nathaniel is a program kid. He’s been bought into our program since day one and has worked and waited his turn. Really proud of him and his resilience because he is what Raceland football is all about.”
Now the Rams look down U.S. 23 for a familiar route to its ultimate destination, playing at Kroger Field on Dec. 6.
“This is no different territory, just a week earlier,” Salmons said of the Paintsville rematch. “We both feel like we are pretty good Class A teams but unfortunately, one of us will have to go home next week. They’ve kind of had our number over the years, so hopefully we can do a better job of preparing and compete next week and try to find a way to play seven more days.
“I told my guys there’s 28 days left in Class A football and the way you get them is seven at a time. We’ve been blessed to get seven more and we will go back to work tonight and get ready for Paintsville.”
B. LAYNE 0 0 0 0 — 0
RACELAND 43 14 14 6 — 77
R—Will Nichols Safety, 11:45
R—Seth Mills 23 run (Caleb Rowsey kick), 10:19
R—Gunnur Lewis 1 run (Michael Meade conversion), 8:56
R—Lewis 67 punt return (Rowsey kick), 7:01
R—Jacob Wallace 12 pass from Jake Heighton (Rowsey kick), 4:37
R—Rowsey 16 run (Rowsey kick fails), 3:57
R—Wallace 13 pass from Heighton (Rowsey kick fails), :01
R—Meade 20 interception return (Peyton Ison kick), 9:14
R—Nathaniel Bonzo 6 pass from Heighton (Ison kick), 1:08
R—Landyn Newman 45 run (Ison kick), 11:00
R—Connor Hughes 46 run (Ison kick), 6:41
R—Parker Gallion 15 pass from Hughes (conversion fails), 9:14
First Downs 1 17
Rushes-Yards 20-10 21-220
Comp-Att-Int 2-11-3 11-18-0
Passing Yards 3 151
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-0
Punts-Avg. 5-6.2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-15 2-20
Betsy Layne rushing: Mims 4-(minus 9), Tackett 13-26, M. Hall 1-2, Hamilton 2-(minus 9).
Raceland rushing: Mills 5-58, Hughes 3-40, Lewis 1-1, Rowsey 2-43, Meade 2-10, Pullin 1-(minus 1), Newman 1-45, Waugh 4-6, Conlon 2-18.
Betsy Layne passing: Mims 2 of 11 for 3 yards.
Raceland passing: Heighton 8 of 13 for 106 yards, Hughes 3 of 5 for 45 yards.
Betsy Layne receiving: Hamilton 1-4, D. Hall 1-(minus 1).
Raceland receiving: Wallace 3-47, Lewis 1-11, Bonzo 3-42, Hughes 1-6, Gallion 1-15, Pullin 1-7, Conlon 1-23.