By Aaron Snyder - CNHI News Service
Jan. 1, 2014 — Both East and West Carter had players make the Independent’s Small School All-Area team for the efforts in 2013.
West Carter had Braden Brown, who still churned out nearly 900 rushing yards despite playing in just six games because of an ankle injury, Austin Travis (linebacker) and Dallen Dean (defensive back).
East Carter selections were linebacker Jordan Ratcliff and kicker Evan Huddle. Huddle connected on three field goals in the Raiders' defeat of rival West Carter.
The Raiders finished the season 4-6 while the Comets held a 2-8 mark.
While the seasons of Raceland and Lawrence County spun in polar-opposite paths following the Bulldogs' win over the Rams on Sept. 27, two seniors steadily hammered away with no hesitation.
Both Raceland’s Daylin Beach and Lawrence County’s A.J. Cyrus are nailing down a similar goal — playing in college.
Being named The Independent’s Small School All-Area Co-Players of the Year can’t hurt their chances. In a close tally, Beach and Cyrus narrowly edged out Lewis County’s Isaac Weddington for the honor, which is determined by the eight Small School coaches’ votes.
Raceland coach T.J. Maynard earned Coach of the Year after guiding the Rams to their first-ever regional championship in his fourth year at the helm.
Maynard's season-long motto for the 11-3 Rams was “Deserve Victory.”
Raceland never truly celebrated a victory, even including a convincing 36-14 defeat of deep-rooted rival Fairview, until the “14” and “3” flashed onto the scoreboard with no time left against Pikeville. The Class A, Region 4 title belonged to the 2013 Rams.
“They had fun after that one,” Maynard recalled fondly. “I guess that’s what made it fun for coaches, the fact that we had so many different personalities on this team. They’d dance in the locker room, give each other grief — in a good way — on the practice field. It was just fun to see how they reached to each other.”
In all, Raceland racked up nine All-Area selections.
Beach, who believes he could be Morehead State-bound, rushed for 1,388 yards and 15 touchdowns, and amassed more than 300 receiving yards and four TD catches. He also played defensive back in a limited role.
Other All-Area Rams were three-fourths of a menacing defensive line — seniors Alec Risner, Mac Boggs and Austin Manis. Risner tallied more than 120 tackles. Juniors Connor Messer and Rodney Vance represented Raceland as receivers. Nevan Johnson, a senior, gave the Rams an All-Area offensive lineman. Seth Holbrook made the team as a linebacker and Josh Young was a defensive back selection.
Lawrence County garnered six selections, highlighted by Cyrus. The senior ran the triple option offense fluidly and sometimes flawlessly.
Lawrence County won six of its first seven games before dropping four of its final five.
Cyrus, who is currently narrowing a list of small colleges, rushed for 1,303 yards and 18 scores. The right-hander threw for 858 yards and eight touchdowns. He passed for just 521 as a junior. He played safety on defense.
Ricky Goble (1,007 rushing yards), offensive lineman Charlie Bradshaw, defensive lineman Michael Adams, safety Grant Kiser (109 tackles) and cornerback Zach Keesee also represented Lawrence County.
Fairview selections were linebacker Armonde Yetts, 1,000-yard rusher Tanner Dolen, Division-I offensive tackle prospect Cody McPeek, punter Zac Christensen and offensive tackle Anthony Roark, who has a legitimate shot of playing college football.
Lane Daniels, at receiver, and Prater Helton, at offensive line, proudly represented Paintsville following the Tigers' first seven-win season in eight years under the direction of first-year coach Joe Chirico.
Lewis County also had seven wins. All-area selections Tyler Mustard (receiver), Dalton Stamm (defensive line) and Jordan Davis (defensive back) were major reasons why.
Offensive lineman Landon Arnold, defensive lineman Joe Jenkins and defensive back Bronson Korzep made it for Russell.