Ben Fields: Football season prevails
In the high school sports world it's time for some Friday, and in some cases, Saturday night lights.
Several area Kentucky schools started the prep football season Friday, and Raceland beat East Carter, 40-14, on Saturday night, while in Ohio and West Virginia anticipation is building for the first kick off of the season on Friday, Aug. 30.
Greenup County is still a team searching for its first win in three seasons.
After finishing a combined 0-20 in 2011 and 2012, the Musketeers took on neighboring Lewis County last Friday at home, where they fell 26-20. Greenup County will travel to Henry R. Evans Stadium Aug. 30 to take on rival Russell. For the Red Devils, the Musketeers will be the opening game of the season.
In another case of a Class AAA school taking down a Class 4A program, Boyd County was dismantled in Louisa, Ky., where Lawrence County triumphed 56-15 over the Lions.
The Class 4A Ashland Tomcats also started the season on the road, facing Class AA 2012 state champion Newport Central Catholic.
Tomcats sophomore tailback Quentin Baker picked up right where he left off before a foot injury shortened his season in 2012, rushing for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Fellow running back James Queen also added two scores.
But it wasn't enough to top the Thoroughbreds, as Ashland fell 37-26.
Newport quarterback Mac Franzen threw for more than 100 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.
Ashland had to replace projected starting quarterback senior Aaron Elam, who left the football team to focus more on baseball. First-year head coach Tony Love said junior starter Hunter Prince had worked hard enough in the off season that he would have been battling Elam for the starting job had Elam stayed with the team.
In West Virginia, Cabell Midland gets a jump on everyone in Class AAA by opening Thursday at Riverside. The Knights rode an undefeated record into the state title game last year before falling to Martinsburg.
The action gets heavy Friday in Class AAA, as Huntington High opens on the road against Hurricane.
A Spring Valley team that will be tested after losing top rushers and defenders Elijah Wellman and Ryan George opens up at St. Albans.
Back-to-back Class AA champion Wayne will host inter-county rival Tolsia to open the season. The Pioneers went undefeated in 2012.
Coming this Friday in Ohio is the annual season-opening clash between Ironton and Wheelersburg.
The Pirates came close to defeating Ironton last year at home, eventually falling 32-27.
Senior quarterback Eddie Miller, who finished as Wheelersburg's leading passer and rusher in 2012, will get one more shot at the Fighting Tigers at Tanks Memorial Stadium Friday night.
In the Ohio Valley Conference, the Chesapeake Panthers get to debut the team's new stadium against Oak Hill Friday. The Panthers played every game in 2012 on the road while their home field was completely rebuilt.
Ben Fields is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.