Ask any high school football coach or player if he would rather have a home or road game. The answer is predictable.
However, is life on the road the worst scenario?
Twenty-one years after Willie Nelson released “On The Road Again,” the lyrics may well resonate with some athletes.
Take the World Series, for instance. Through four games between the Nationals and Astros, the away squad was unblemished.
So, Raceland’s furious rally falling short at Paintsville and Russell’s Week 9 loss to Ashland may not foreshadow ominous outcomes for the Rams and/or Red Devils.
When a contest involves two evenly matched teams — and rivals, in particular — perhaps home-field “advantage” is an overrated notion.
If all goes as expected in the Class A and 3A postseason once it gets under way next Friday (Nov. 8), Raceland will visit Paintsville and Russell will go to Ashland on Nov. 15 — I know, I know; the QB sees you, East Carter, Greenup County, Fairview and Betsy Layne.
Taking a look, specifically, at Raceland — since there are so many playoff meetings between the Rams and Tigers to serve as a sample size — maybe it is getting exactly what it wants.
After all, Raceland hit the road and eliminated Paintsville in each of the last two seasons — to be fair, Paintsville took care of business at home against the Rams in 2015 and ’16.
Here’s a virtual certainty: It won’t be a blowout. Both games, if they indeed happen, figure to be terrific.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
Three and out
•Do you ever question the strength of football in this area? Perhaps you have legitimate reasons for doing so, but mull over these statistics — while also considering just how important defense is — for a while: Johnson Central has allowed the fewest points in Class 4A with 85. Russell has relented just 78 points, which is best in 3A. Ranked second in 2A is West Carter (86). The Comets are 18 points shy of category leader Breathitt County.
•Betsy Layne’s win over Fairview allowed the Bobcats to snap a 23-game losing skid against district foes. This is the first year the Bobcats have been in this particular district. They toppled the Eagles, 34-14, on Friday night.
•Through 10 weeks, East Carter and West Carter possess a total of 13 wins. That’s the highest combined number of victories for the Carter County schools in one football season since 2005. However, the season isn’t over yet. In 2005, West Carter and East Carter together accumulated 13 wins. The two programs have a baker’s dozen in 2019 — the Comets have seven and the Raiders are at six.
•Russell produced three 100-plus-yard rushers (Charlie Jachimczuk, Malakai Anderson and Nick Conley) on Friday night against East Carter. It was the first time in the T.J. Maynard coaching era, which began in 2014, that had happened. It’s also the first time, if the QB’s research is correct, it’s happened since at least 2008.
•Four: Ethan Jordan (W. Carter).
Jordan became the school’s all-time leading tackler, passing current offensive coordinator Thomas Flannery to capture the top spot. He had nine stops against East Ridge on Friday. He has 436 career tackles.
•Three: Blake Hester (Ashland), Nathan Conley (Russell), Gage Salyers (Ironton), Hunter McCloud (J. Central).
•Two: Austin Evans (Greenup Co.), Reid Carrico (Ironton), Cole Wallace (Rowan Co.), Eian Leadingham (W. Carter), Baden Gillispie (Lawrence Co.), Keontae Pittman (Ashland), John W. Phelps (Paintsville), Charlie Jachimczuk (Russell), Brandon Fitch (Lawrence Co.), Devin Johnson (J. Central).
•One: Jake Gregg (Ashland), James Fraley (Bath Co.), Micah Adams (East Carter), Zach Russell (J. Central), Jacob Wallace (Raceland), Ethan Slone (Ashland), Jake Hyden (Paintsville), Braden Hicks (East Carter), Landon Nichols (W. Carter), Orry Perry (W. Carter), Danny Hall (Lawrence Co.).
•Didn’t report statistics: Fairview, Lewis Co., Fleming Co.
Snyder’s NEKY Super Seven
1. Johnson Central (9-0)
2. Ashland (8-1)
3. Russell (7-2)
4. Paintsville (7-2)
5. Raceland (5-4)
6. East Carter (6-3)
7. West Carter (7-2)
Next two in: Greenup Co., Fleming Co.
Miss it? Here’s a recap of scores involving local teams from this past Friday: Ashland 38, Greenup County 7; Betsy Layne 34, Fairview 14; Rowan County 21, Boyd County 7; West Carter 43, East Ridge 0; Fleming County 61, Lewis County 8; Ironton 52, Gallia Academy 0; Lawrence County 48, Floyd Central 18; Johnson Central 48, Letcher County Central 0; Paintsville 19, Raceland 15; Russell 31, East Carter 7; and Shelby Valley 56, Bath County 14.
What area coach said it would have been a “travesty” if his own team had won the game? Be the first to call, email, Facebook message or tweet the Monday Morning Quarterback. If you’re the first to answer correctly, you’ll pick winners of Week 11 games alongside me, Zack Klemme, Ray Schaefer and TDI Pick ’Em leader Rocky Stanley.
Halftime Prep Talk
Watch “Halftime Prep Talk” at dailyindependent.com or visit the “Halftime Prep Talk” Facebook page. Weekly episodes feature game balls, a “three-point stance” and on-site interviews at various area schools!
Reach AARON SNYDER at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664. Follow @DIndependentQB on Twitter.