Class A playoffs
Who: Raceland (10-2) at Paintsville (10-2)
Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Memorial Field, Paintsville.
Coaches: Raceland, Michael Salmons. Paintsville, Joe Chirico.
Notes: Raceland knocked off Paris 49-19 last week, while Paintsville picked up a 42-18 win over Nicholas County in the second round of the Class A playoffs.
The two district rivals will be squaring off at Paintsviile for the second straight season with the Class A Region 3 championship at stake.
Last year, Raceland knocked off the Tigers 31-14 to win the region title. The Rams went on to knock off Pikeville in the Class A semifinals before falling to Beechwood in the Class A championship game.
Earlier this season, Paintsville picked up a 6-0 road win over Raceland.
In that game earlier this season, Paintsville held Raceland to 188 total yards in the shutout win. Raceland running back Judd Adkins rushed for 87 yards to lead the Rams. Quarterback Jacob Heighton threw for 42 yards, but also threw an interception.
In the game against Raceland earlier this season, Paintsville quarterback Jake Hyden led the Tigers going 10 for 21 passing for 154 yards and a TD. Hyden also led the Tigers with 56 rushing yards on nine carries.
He threw the game’s only TD to Chris Allen; it was a four-yard score.
On defense, Christian Keeton led the Tigers with 12 tackles.
Jaylyn Allen and Brandon Richmond each came up with sacks.
John Walker Phelps came up with the game’s only interception.
On the season, Raceland quarterback Heighton leads the way. Heighton is 103 for 161 passing for 1,681 yards and 24 TDs with three interceptions. He has added 466 rushing yards and six TDs on 116 carries.
Hunter Lacks leads the running attack with 990 yards and 11 TDs on 146 carries. Judd Adkins follows with 645 yards and six TDs on 107 carries.
Gunnar Lewis leads the receivers with 26 catches for 579 yards and 11 TDs. Dalton Adkins follows with 36 catches for 494 yards and two TDs. Mark Cox has 15 catches for 250 yards and five TDs. Jacob Wallace has 14 catches for 251 yards and three TDs.
Dalton Adkins leads the defense with 92 tackles and three interceptions. Nolan Smith follows with 89 tackles and seven sacks. Marty Helms has 77 tackles and four sacks.
Lewis has a team-high five interceptions.
For Paintsville, Hyden leads the charge on offense. The sophomore quarterback is 78 for 142 passing for 1,166 yards and 18 TDs with four interceptions. He also leads Paintsville in rushing with 590 yards and seven TDs on 99 carries.
Chris Allen follows with 454 yards and four TDs on 98 carries. He also has 12 catches for 175 yards and three TDs. In five games, Seth Williams has 347 yards on the ground and three TDs on 28 carries.
Josh McClurg leads the receivers with 20 catches for 407 yards and seven TDs. McClurg has also rushed for 288 yards and four TDs. James Allen has 18 catches for 235 yards and two TDs. Phelps has 17 catches for 235 yards and three TDs. Karsten Poe has 10 catches for 102 yards and two TDs.
On defense, Keeton leads the Tigers with 122 tackles. Chris Allen and Phelps each follow with 61 tackles each.
Richmond has 46 tackles and two sacks. Jaylyn Allen also has two sacks on the season.
Phelps leads the Tigers with three interceptions and Devin Hall follows with two. Paintsville has nine interceptions as a team.
Who 2 Watch: Paintsville’s Seth Williams.
Williams has started playing after soccer season ended.
His first real impact came in the opening game of the playoffs against Bracken County. Williams rushed for 110 yards and two TDs that game.
He followed that up last week with 145 rushing yards and a TD against Nicholas County.
The Tigers have been searching for a feature running back. McClurg and Chris Allen have both saw significant action and had success running the ball, but they’re athletes who can get out in space and run the ball as well.
With Williams emergence coming in the playoffs, he is rested and can shoulder a big work load.
The biggest question is can he have the same success against Raceland?
Bracken County and Nicholas County aren’t the same type of team as Raceland.
If Williams can continue to run the ball well and take pressure off of Hyden, look for the Tiger offense to open up and be more potent and dynamic against Racleand this time around.
Williams could be the key to a spot in the state semifinal game.