West Liberty will be hosting a playoff game tonight.
That’s right, starting at 7:30 tonight, Morgan County will host Lawrence County in the first round of the Class 3A postseason.
Some might feel that’s nothing special — because all over the state there will be football games taking place carrying the same stakes as Morgan versus Lawrence.
But most in Kentucky know the story. At the beginning of the season, it was in doubt whether or not Morgan County would host a home game, period, let alone a playoff game.
After tornadoes ravaged the town in March, Morgan County High School’s football field was pretty much obliterated.
At one point, Cougars coach Brian Turner thought his season might consist of an all-away game schedule, or possibly having to hold home games at Morehead State.
But the town, and surrounding towns, banded together to make sure the Friday night lights stayed on in West Liberty.
The Cougars have served their community well. An incredible 8-2 season, including a 4-1 home record, was the regular season result. The only home loss came against the undefeated district champs in Breathitt County.
The Cougars earned the No. 2 seed in District 7 and earned a home playoff game for the second straight season.
As the playoffs quickly approach, it seems the odds have made their way back against the Cougars.
Morgan County is banged up and coming off a 41-18 loss to East Carter, who won only two games this season.
Morgan County has only won one playoff game in school history, a 21-14 win over Mercer County back in 2004.
Morgan County lost to Lawrence County, 21-14, a year ago.
For some reason, I think Morgan County likes being the underdog.
They’ve overcome so much in the past year, I don’t see the bowing out of the playoffs so easily.
No matter the outcome of the game thought, I feel the Cougars, and the rest of West Liberty, have already won.
Game of the Week
‰Holmes at Ashland, 7:30 p.m. kickoff. There are so many storylines to this game, possibly the last in old Putnam Stadium.
It figures to be a good game that will almost surely come down to the fourth quarter. It will contain big plays and emotion. Tonight at Putnum will be a doozy.
Holmes has played some of the best teams in the state, while Ashland has played tough games both in and out of state.
Look for this one to go down to the wire, with the winner having a probable date against Highlands in Fort Thomas next Friday.
Things to know for Playoff Week 1
‰Fort Thomas Highlands owns this area. This isn’t a knock against Boyd County, which travels to Fort Thomas tonight, because Highlands has beaten everyone it’s played from this area.
The last time an area team defeated Highlands was back in 1954, when Ashland defeated the Bluebirds 38-6.
The overall record of area teams that have played against Highlands — Ashland (5-18-1), Boyd County (0-1), Johnson Central (0-4), Rowan County (0-2), Greenup County (0-4), Lawrence County (0-3) and Russell (0-4) — is a scary 5-34-1. All five wins and the tie came from Ashland before 1955.
The only time Boyd County played Highlands was last season’s opening round of the playoffs, a 63-7 Highlands win.
‰The last time Fairview lost a first round playoff game was 2007. Last night’s win over Phelps continues fifth-year coach Nathan McPeek’s first round dominance.
In 2007, under the “Wizard of Westwood” Rex Cooksey, Fairview lost to Raceland 13-0.
‰Russell-Garrard County is a rematch from last year’s playoffs. Last year in Lancaster, Garrard County rocked Russell in a 40-6 win.
The tables are turned this year, with the Red Devils getting home field advantage.
And the last time Russell lost a home playoff game was in 2009 against a Sheldon Clark team who went on to the state semifinals.
Garrard County is on a three-game winning streak heading into tonight’s 3A opening round game.
‰Raceland hasn’t lost a home playoff game since 2008. That was a Class A Region final loss to Lexington Christian.
The Rams look to continue that trend with a home game tonight against Allen Central. The Rebels have two wins on the year.
The first was a 22-20 win over a Phelps team with only 15 players. The next was a season-ending win against Knott County Central.
Raceland has the talent to make noise in the playoffs, and if it deals with Allen Central, look for a lot of interesting matchups down the road.
Follow The Independent’s Quarterback on Twitter, @DindependentQB. He will be tweeting scores and updates from area games tonight. He’ll also be campaigning for his presidential candidate of choice: Ross Perot. I’m kind of thrilled I could work this in here folks.
For your ears only
Tonight’s Radio Coverage
Holmes at Ashland (WBVB 97.1-FM), Garrard County at Russell (WLGC 105.7-FM), Rowan County at Covington Catholic, Saturday (WZZZ 107.5-FM), Fleming County at Bath County (WMOR 106.1-FM), Lewis County at Bourbon County (WKKS 104.9-FM), Lawrence County at Morgan County (WZAQ 92.3-FM), Harrison County at Johnson Central (WSIP 98.9-FM).
West Liberty will be hosting a playoff game tonight.
- Local Sports
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.
If Fairview could have fielded a combined track and field team at Saturday’s Class A State Track and Field Championships, the Eagles and Lady Eagles would have had a record day. Instead, the Fairview girls had to “settle” for fifth, while the boys’ claimed 10th.
Womack eliminated in semifinals
Top-seeded Kennedy Womack was eliminated in the semifinals of the State Tournament on Saturday at the University of Kentucky tennis courts.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- 63rd softball: Greenup leans on bunting, baserunning; Russell wins