One last time.
While it will be the 55th meeting between Russell and Raceland in the Rail Cities Bowl, tonight’s game will be the last between the teams in the foreseeable future.
Both teams have decided to call off the series and have already moved on to schedule different opponents in that spot on the schedule.
With the series coming to an end, many think the preparation and anticipation would be high for the teams. But, according to Raceland coach T.J. Maynard, preparation has been nothing short of normal.
“It’s just another rivalry game,” Maynard said. “They’ve come to work every day this week...It’s another ballgame. It’s another last game of the (regular) season. It’s important to the kids and they’ve approached it that way.”
Russell has the overall series advantage with a 28-19-7 record.
But for the past four seasons the Rams have dominated the Rail Cities Bowl, including last year’s 36-21 home win.
“We have to find some way to stop them because it is difficult to stop them,” Russell coach Ivan McGlone said of his team’s strategy. “We didn’t do a good job the past few years so we have to be prepared to stop what they do offensively.”
Last season’s game is still fresh in McGlone’s mind, especially all the mistakes and misplays that cost his team points.
“The last couple of years we would just make mistakes on the offensive side of the ball against them,” McGlone said. “Defensively they had two onside kicks they got back and they completed a pass on fourth down from a punt formation and there were a couple of times where we stopped a yard short.
“We normally take care of those mistakes, but when you don’t, you get hurt.”
Raceland’s ability to run and pass puts pressure on opponents.
The Rams’ running game focus has been on Zack Litteral (746 yards) and Daylin Beach (713 yards). Raceland quarterback Adam Elkins has thrown for 1,235 yards and 17 touchdowns in eight games.
But McGlone points out while they have a lot of skill players, it all starts up front for the Rams.
“That’s what they do, they like to spread you out,” McGlone said. “They like to spread you out and run the ball, then they like to get the ball to their skilled wide receivers. It all starts with their strength up front, then they can get it to their skill players to score.”
Last week against Paintsville, Beach, Elkins and team leader in catches Rodney Vance all sat out.
All three will play tonight and Maynard said all three could have played against Paintsville. It’s just a matter of resting the weary.
“All three would have been playing if it was the last game or had playoff implications,” Maynard said. “Everyone is kind of banged up so we have to keep our postseason goals in mind and rest up while, at the same time, it sets up other guys to have opportunity to see what they can do.”
While Raceland’s offense has been the story this season, it’s been up to the defense to keep them in the game.
And after years of knowing they have to stop the run when they play Russell, Maynard knows the importance of new Red Devils quarterback Lance Evans.
“He’s given them the option to throw the ball down the field,” Maynard said. “We have to be prepared to come up and stop the run, but with his arm and he has the capabilities to stop that now.”
In 2007 the two teams decided to rekindle a rivalry that had been stagnant since 1974. And tonight the rivalry will be stagnant once again.
But for Maynard, a former Red Devil who played under McGlone from 1984-87, the past six years have been a privilege for him to matchup against his old coach.
“I have upmost respect for Ivan McGlone,” Maynard said. “He demands respect and these games have been a chance match wits with one of the game’s best. It’s a one-game stretch you want to beat him; the rest of the year you root like heck for him.”
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.
Russell, Raceland bring finality to end of season
One last time.
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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.
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.
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