The Ashland Beacon
BELL COUNTY 16
Ashland’s 2-4 start to the season is nothing more than a distant memory since their fourth loss of the season came to Hazard, 14-7 on Sept. 23.
That was the last night the Tomcats fell in a contest as they had won six straight entering the Class 3A Regional Championship at Bell County. Challenged with slowing the leading rusher in the state, Ashland did one better, they held him out of the end zone for the first time this season as the Tomcats rolled to their seventh consecutive win with a 34-16 defeat of the Bobcats.
Ashland raced out to a 14-0 lead behind touchdown runs from LaBryant Strader and Tay Thomas. Strader had a 1-yard plunge late in the first and Thomas dashed seven yards for his first of three house calls on the night 90 seconds into the second quarter. Bell County answered with a score five minutes before the half, but it was all Ashland after the break.
Braxton Jennings provided the only score of the third quarter with a 9-yard run. Thomas pushed the game out of reach with touchdown runs of one and 22 yards in the fourth. Thomas tallied 41 yards on nine totes, but Jennings led the Tomcats with 153 yards on 24 carries. Strader rushed for 47 yards on eight carries while throwing for 53 yards. Brandon Houston hauled in four passes for 27 yards.
Sawyer Edens led the Tomcats with 14 tackles. Landon Himes added nine. Thomas had eight stops and an interception. Cameron Davis also picked off a pass.
Ashland returns to the Class 3A State Semifinals for the second time in three years. The Tomcats will travel to Louisville Friday night to play top ranked Christian Academy-Louisville for a berth into the State Championship.
Raceland had not trailed in the fourth quarter since falling to Highland, 24-14 in the fourth week of the season.
After taking a 10-0 lead to the locker room and getting the ball to open the second half, Raceland looked poised to impose its power over another opponent. Hazard, however, had a few different ideas. Rather than kicking the ball deep to start the second half, Hazard executed the onside kick to perfection which led to their first score of the night.
Hazard rode that momentum to another third quarter touchdown for a 14-10 lead after three. But the Rams responded on both sides of the ball with a masterful drive to regain the lead, a defensive stand that forced a field goal and a Logan Lundy plunge over the line on fourth-and-1 to secure a 17-14 win over the Bulldogs in the Class A Regional Championship at Ram Stadium.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Bulldogs opening possession, the Rams orchestrated a 14-play, 63-yard drive that stalled out on the Bulldogs 12, but a Peyton Ison 29-yard field goal staked the Rams a 3-0 lead.
Jules Farrow deflected a ball in the endzone and Noah Wallace snagged the Rams state-leading 22nd interception of the season. Logan Lundy tossed a pass to Mason Lykins to set Raceland up on the Hazard two and Wallace finished off the rest with a plunge into the endzone and a 10-0 edge at the half. While Hazard struggled to move the ball on the ground with one of the leading rushers in the state, the Bulldogs went to the air attack for a pair of TDs in the frame.
Raceland’s fourth-quarter deficit was short lived after Lundy followed the left side of his offensive line to paydirt for a 5-yard TD with eight minutes to play. Hazard would touch the ball only one time in the final stanza with a 29-yard field goal attempt to tie the contest at 17-17 sailed wide left. Raceland took over on its own 20 with two minutes to play needing only one first down to secure the win. With 10 seconds to play in the game, Lundy took the fourth down snap, angled right and dove over the top of the line for a 2-yard gain and the Rams 18th first down of the game to send the Rams to the State Semifinals Friday night.
Wallace paced the Rams with 128 yards on 15 carries. It was his second 100-plus rushing game this season and the seventh of his career. Lundy was 5 of 6 for 51 yards. Lykins hauled in three passes for 40 yards including the 28 yarder that set up the Rams first TD of the night.
Raceland welcomes Louisville Holy Cross Friday night at 7:30 p.m. for a berth to Kroger Field and the State Championship on the line.
MASON COUNTY 27
GREENUP COUNTY 14
Greenup County had upset on the mind when the Musketeers traveled to undefeated Mason County for the Class 3A Regional Championship Friday night.
The Royals, however, preferred perfection as they fended off a 14-7 halftime deficit with 20 third quarter points to advance to the Class 3A State Semifinals with a 27-14 victory over the Musketeers.
After a scoreless first, Tyson Sammons provided his first of two touchdowns in the game with a 33-yard run with 9:04 to play in the half and a 7-0 lead. Mason County answered six minutes later to even the affair at 7-7 but Sammons second house call came with 31 ticks to play in the half with an 8-yard scamper.
Mason County evened the contest with 5:38 to play in the third and followed with a pair of scores in just over one minute after Sammons was picked off in the end zone following the go-ahead Mason County score.
Sammons led the Musketeers with 113 yards on 20 carries while throwing for 87 yards. Carson Wireman led Greenup County with 43 yards on four catches.
Greenup County finished the season at 8-5 while racking up the most wins the program had seen since 1998.