Maybe a week's worth of rain is just what Russell needed.
Practicing inside for most of the week, the normal sounds of practice echoed throughout the high school gymnasium. They put out a unique vibe.
"It's been a little different, but the sounds you hear in the gym kind of inspire you a little bit," said Russell coach Ivan McGlone.
McGlone has 43 playoff coaching wins in his 36 seasons at Russell. His 37th season carries on with a home meeting with Garrard County tonight at 7:30.
Russell (6-4) finished second in Class 3A District 6 due to a heartbreaking loss against Mason County in which it led by 18 points in the second half before falling, 32-28.
Just last week, the Red Devils had one of their poorer performances of the season, having had three turnovers and mustering miniscule amounts of effective offense in a 25-14 loss to Raceland.
"If our offense isn't consistent, our defense is going to suffer too," McGlone said.
It's not all been dreary for the Red Devils, though. Their quarterback, Lance Evans, didn't throw an interception until the last game of the season. He has 775 yards through the air. Leading rushers Troy Huffine and Googie Hayes have both battled injuries this season, but they are healthy now.
Evans is comfortable handing off to a number of running backs in the Wing-T offense. Huffine (600, 13 TDs), Hayes (521), Bryant Cathey (470), Gage Stevens (258) and Bronson Korzep (255) have all surpassed 250 yards on the ground.
Garrard County (6-4) is reliant upon its defense. The Golden Lions have allowed just 15.3 points per game, and have not given up more than 28 points in a single contest.
McGlone said the Golden Lions look strong and big on defense. Garrett Caudill leads the team with 72 tackles. Bradley Rector has 67. Overall, Garrard County has accounted for 35 tackles for loss.
Garrard County knocked Russell out of the playoffs in the second round a year ago.
"Their speed killed us," McGlone said.
While Garrard County did lose some of that speed, the Golden Lions didn't diminish too much in the production department.
Noah Williams has paced the ground game with 1,104 yards and six scores. Quarterback Billy Abney is 55 of 108 for 828 yards, seven TDs and two picks.
Russell's last three playoff wins are by 15 total points. McGlone is just fine with that.
"We'll take them by one point," he said. "We may be sweating them out, but we'll take them."
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.
Maybe a week's worth of rain is just what Russell needed.
- Local Sports
63rd District baseball: Greenup County outduels Lewis, 7-3
Lightning delayed the 63rd District Tournament championship game several times following the first inning on Tuesday, creating a late night for Greenup County and Lewis County.
Boyd’s Fraley commits to Herd
Boyd County sophomore basketball player Logan Fraley has announced her commitment to Marshall University.
The 5-foot-11 shooting guard informed Marshall women’s coach Matt Daniel of her decision on Monday morning, which was confirmed by Boyd County coach/father Pete Fraley via text message.
63rd softball: Greenup leans on bunting, baserunning; Russell wins
Immersed in another district contest with little breathing room, Greenup County softball coach Eric Keeton resorted to the strengths of his lineup: bunting and baserunning.
Two bunts and a swinging bunt helped the Lady Musketeers scratch across three runs in the fifth inning of a 6-2 victory over Raceland in the 63rd District Tournament opening round on Monday night at Russell High School. Top-seeded Russell defeated Lewis County, also 6-2, earlier in the evening.
Boyd pounds out 11 hits to go along with Grimm’s shutout, 14-0
Robbie Shivel might be a little sore after Monday night, but it was Fairview that left the game battered and bruised.
Boyd County belted out 11 hits to go along with Dylan Grimm's complete-game gem as the Lions roared past Fairview, 14-0, in the opening round of the 64th District Tournament at Ashland's Alumni Field. The game lasted five innings.
Different look, same results for Lady Lions
A longtime fixture in the 64th District softball championship game, Boyd County looked different this return trip.
The Lady Lions defeated Fairview 10-5 in Monday’s district semifinal, which doubled as an Autism Awareness Night. Boyd County players wore light blue shirts and colorful, jigsaw puzzle socks for the event, which had to be rescheduled more than once due to weather problems.
Musketeers explode in final 2 innings to beat Raceland; good times continue for Lewis
Through the first four innings of its 63rd District Tournament opener, Greenup County found itself hitless. The Musketeers made up for it over the next two innings.
Greenup County scored eight runs on eight hits in the final two innings to defeat Raceland, 9-1, at Russell High School on Monday.
The will to win
Opponents get the same look from Emily Stewart whether it’s softball, basketball or soccer season.
Steely eyed and lips pursed, the Boyd County senior is keenly focused and all business between the lines.
THE WEEKLY CYCLE: Holding the key to upset city?
It takes only one game. Few are more firm believers in that fact than the small schools that find themselves in underdog roles year after year.
Locals struggle to make impact
Some days you are the windshield and some days you are the bug.
It is a saying that proved to be all too true for Rowan County on Friday night at the KHSAA Class 2A State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
Womack eliminated in state semis; Rose Hill, Russell doubles also ousted
Fairview senior Kennedy Womack wasn’t her consistent self in Saturday morning’s state tennis semifinals at the University of Kentucky’s Hilary Boone Tennis Complex.
As a result, the top seed fell to Lexington Sayre sophomore Madeline Rolph 6-1, 6-0.
Womack was obviously disappointed with her finish, especially after losing in last year’s state finals, but she was happy for her good friend Rolph.
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- 63rd District baseball: Greenup County outduels Lewis, 7-3