RACELAND Michael Salmons said before the game it’s the time of year for teams to put up or shut up — and it was time for Raceland to put up.
The Rams obliged with 50-21 defeat of Lawrence County on Senior Night at Rams Stadium despite the Bulldogs holding the ball for nearly 33 minutes in the contest.
“Overall we were pretty efficient,” Salmons said. “We didn’t have the ball very much. That’s what (Lawrence) does. We scored quick when we had the ball, so credit to our offense for being able to score and getting the running clock.”
Raceland’s defense dug in after Lawrence County marched 31 yards on five plays into Rams’ territory before being forced to punt away the football. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, SJ Lycans’s punt took a short bounce in front of Ethan Cox. After fielding the ball from the hop, Cox found a seam near the Rams’ bench and raced 85 yards for the score and a 7-0 lead.
“(Lawrence) had the ball for over six minutes in the first quarter before having to punt it to us and one of our guys made a prolific play,” Salmons said. “It’s tough when you get a quick score like that because you have to turn around after playing six minutes of defense and play more defense. We got caught a couple times in that situation tonight, but at the end of the day we took care of business on Senior Night and was able to close our home schedule on a positive note.”
Lawrence County answered after the Raceland score on an Andrew Tackett 70-yard kickoff return to tie the affair at 7-7 with 6:31 to play in the frame. What transpired next was nothing less than a Raceland offensive explosion.
Jake Heighton found Gunnur Lewis for touchdowns of 64, 69 and 21 yards and hooked up with Landyn Newman from 33 yards out for a 34-7 lead at break despite having the ball for only 4:15 in the half.
Cox opened the second half with a 62-yard scamper that included a jump-cut, two cutbacks and a pirouette spin at the 30-yard line before racing into the end zone for his second score.
“He’s just explosive,” Salmons said of Cox. “Him and Gunnur both. Those guys get in the open field and they are just electric. They were electric last week, and they are going to have to be electric in November and the next 14 days if we get our way back to Paintsville and hopefully flip the outcome down there.”
Cox, who is also the leading rusher for the team, ran for 103 yards on four totes, a statistic about which Salmons was reluctant to brag.
“I’m somewhat embarrassed to say this, but that’s our first 100-yard rusher this season,” Salmons said. “Seth Mills ran the ball better tonight. So proud of Seth. That one drive he ran the ball all the way down the field and just couldn’t punch it in. I hated that for him.”
Mills tallied 60 yards on seven carries.
Raceland’s final score came on a 6-yard toss to Jacob Wallace from Heighton. The junior threw for 217 yards and five touchdowns while eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Lawrence County added a pair of late rushing scores by Baden Gillispie and Blue Fletcher. Gillespie led the Bulldogs’ rushing attack with 99 yards on 17 carries.
Much like the turn of the calendar to a new month, Raceland turns its attention to a philosophy used over the past several years: live to play another seven days.
“I think we’ve faced adversity and been in adverse conditions all year long,” Salmons said. “We’ve faced different types of players and schemes and I think we are prepared for postseason football. We’ve done everything in our power to be that way and we haven’t taken the easy road with our schedule. Now is the fun time.”
LAWRENCE CO. 7 0 0 14 — 21
RACELAND 21 13 9 7 — 50
R — Ethan Cox 85 punt return, (Caleb Rowsey kick), 6:42.
L — Andrew Tackett 70 kickoff return (SJ Lycans kick), 6:31.
R — Gunnur Lewis 64 pass from Jake Heighton (Rowsey kick), 4:35.
R — Landyn Newman 33 pass from Heighton (Rowsey kick), 1:24.
R — Lewis 69 pass from Heighton (Rowsey kick), 4:44.
R — Lewis 21 pass from Heighton (kick fails), 0:26.
R — Cox 62 run (Rowsey kick), 11:40.
R — Team safety, 3:45.
R — Jacob Wallace 6 pass from Heighton (Rowsey kick), 10:57.
L — Baden Gillispie 29 run (Lycans kick), 7:10.
L — Blue Fletcher 16 run (Lycans kick), 1:36.
First Downs 15 13
Rushes-Yards 48-314 24-161
Comp-Att-Int 1-6-0 8-15-1
Passing Yards 8 217
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Punts-Avg. 2-21.5 0-0
Penalties-Yards 13-109 8-70
Lawrence County rushing: Gillispie 17-99, Fletcher 10-74, Young 9-54, Fitch 3-(minus 1), Tackett 5-93, Ferguson 2-(minus 7), Davis 2-2.
Raceland rushing: Mills 7-60, Hughes 1-(minus 5), Lewis 2-4, Cox 4-103, Meade 2-3, Rowsey 1-0, Bonzo 1-(minus 3), Newman 1-3.
Lawrence County passing: Gillispie 1 of 6 for 8 yards.
Raceland passing: Heighton 8 of 14 for 217 yards, Hughes 0 of 1 for 0 yards.
Lawrence County receiving: Hall 1-8.
Raceland receiving: Wallace 1-6, Lewis 4-168, Hughes 1-6, Bonzo 1-4, Newman 1-33.