Class A playoffs
Who: Raceland (7-4) at Paintsville (8-3)
Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Memorial Stadium, Paintsville.
Coaches: Raceland, Michael Salmons. Paintsville, Joe Chirico.
Notes: Raceland rolled past Betsy Layne 77-0 last Friday night, while Paintsville knocked off Fairview 67-0.
In the first meeting just a few weeks ago, Paintsville picked up a 19-15 win over Raceland.
The two teams will run it back, but this time each team’s season is on the line.
Raceland had 292 total yards of offense in the first meeting.
The passing game for the Rams was effective, but three interceptions ultimately doomed Raceland’s chances.
Raceland quarterback Jacob Heighton was 11 for 38 passing in the first game for 217 yards and two TDs with three interceptions.
The Rams only gained 75 yards on the ground.
Paintsville’s defense was excellent.
Even though Raceland had 217 yards through the air, nothing was easy.
Jaylyn Allen and company put pressure on Heighton and didn’t give him time to throw. Allen finished the night with eight total tackles and three sacks. Nick Keeton also had one sack on the night.
That pressure helped the secondary come away with three interceptions. Jake Hyden, Devin Hall and John Walker Phelps each had interceptions.
The Tigers only turned the ball over once.
Hyden threw one interception on offense for the Tigers. Hayden was five for 16 passing for 67 yards and a TD.
John Walker Phelps led the offense with 95 rushing yards on 26 carries. Hayden followed with 56 yards rushing and a TD on 11 carries.
Karsten Poe led the receivers with three catches for 35 yards and a TD. Keeton added two catches for 31 yards.
Next week, the RPI rankings will come in to play in Class A.
Kentucky Country Day is the top ranked Class A team according to the RPI ranking. Country Day will host as long as they’re in the playoffs. Pikeville is the second ranked team and will host as long as they’re in the playoffs.
Next week, the top four teams in the West side of the bracket will face off and the same thing will happen with the top four teams in the East side of the bracket.
After the region championship round, the state semifinals will re-rank based on the top four left and the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will host the No. 4 and No. 3 seeds. The winners advance to the state championship game.
Who 2 Watch: Paintsville’s secondary.
The Tiger defense will be critical once again if Paintsville wants to knock off Raceland for the second time this season.
The defense stepped up and pressured Heighton and that caused three turnovers.
On the season, the Tigers have come up with 16 interceptions.
Hyden leads the team with five picks. Hall and Jonah Porter follow with four each; Hall has returned one for a TD.
John Walker Phelps also has three picks and he returned one for a TD as well.
If the Tigers can cause a couple more turnovers, that might be the difference between advancing to the region championship round and going home.