Nov. 11—RACELAND — After the first 50 seconds of Friday's game, you might think a shootout was at hand.
But looks can be deceiving.
Despite both teams scoring in under a minute to start the contest, Raceland quickly turned it into a lopsided affair to take the 61-19 win over Frankfort to officially kick off the playoffs on senior night no less.
"We were hungry," Raceland coach Michael Salmons said. "It'd been 14 days since we'd been here and it left a sour taste. We had our seniors play their last game here tonight. We made some mistakes tonight, but by and large we came out and took care of business. At this stage of the game, it's about surviving and advancing. We survived and now we have seven more days."
The loss brings an end to Frankfort's season at 4-8. The Panthers beat Nicholas County last week in the opening round of the playoffs.
"Our kids are tough, great young men," Frankfort coach Stephen Davis said. "I think we made strides in terms of culture and building that championship culture. Because that culture is what wins at the end of the day. I think we laid the foundation for that here this year."
The Rams came into the game off a 14-day layoff thanks to a forfeit in the first round of the state tournament. Salmons had voiced some concern earlier in the week to The Daily Independent about the possibility of his team feeling some "sluggish" effects from the time off.
Those concerns weren't necessary.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Noah Wallace let loose a 56-yard run that immediately put Raceland at Frankfort's 10-yard line.
Jaxon Heighton punched it in from there on the next play to put the Rams up 7-0 following Talon Stanley's extra point just 37 seconds into the game.
The Panthers didn't seem to blink after the score. As soon as they got the ball, the first play from scrimmage was an 88-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Smith to Dakyo Washington.
A blocked PAT kept Raceland up by one. Both teams had found paydirt in just 48 seconds of play.
The Rams wasted no time on its next possession, getting the ball at Frankfort's 39-yard line thanks to a 49-yard kickoff return by Jonah Arnett.
Three plays later, Logan Lundy found Noah Wallace open for a 17-yard touchdown pass to extend to a 14-6 lead.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, its ability to respond vanished from there.
Three plays into the ensuing drive, Parker Fannin was able to intercept Smith to get the ball back for the Rams.
On the next play, Fannin pulled off a 54-yard catch and run from Lundy to make it a 21-6 affair following the PAT.
Frankfort could only muster a three-and-out on the next drive and had to punt from under the goalpost.
The Rams got the ball at their opponent's 36-yard line and quickly found the end zone again, capped off by a 1-yard run from Isaac Browning.
Three plays later, Fannin secured another interception for Raceland.
From there, the Rams put together the longest drive of the game for the home team, going 74 yards in 10 plays to go up 35-6. Wallace recorded the score from 7 yards out.
"We had some things tonight that we wanted to specifically work on, whether it be the run game or the pass game," Salmons said. "I think our guys executed well in all facets of the game. They were dialed into what we wanted to do. I feel like our guys bought into that. We executed under pressure and hit some explosive plays, which always helps."
Frankfort's next three possessions ended in punts, while the Rams' next three possessions ended in scores — though the third score was for the other team.
On the first drive, Raceland went 47 yards in three plays before Parker Ison took it to the house following a 29-yard pass from Lundy.
The second saw Heighton pick up his second rushing touchdown of the night from the 2-yard line.
That score made it 48-6, which officially put the game in running-clock territory.
Despite the running clock, the Panthers were still showing some fight.
On the third drive, it was Frankfort's Kamarion Carter who took a Lundy pass to the house. Carter returned the interception 70 yards to get the touchdown.
"That's how it's been the last couple of weeks," Davis said. "Our last game of the regular season we got down at the half 34-14 and we fought back and lost by just one possession. and last week Nicholas County got up on us early and we were able to regain control of that game. They just fight."
The Rams got seven more on the board as the first half ended, with Isaac Browning rushing one in from a yard out.
With Raceland up 55-13 at the half, the running clock moved things along quickly in the second half.
Raceland had turned to their bench by this point, while Frankfort was still showing that they weren't going to just roll over.
After the Panthers had to punt on the first possession, the visiting squad forced a Raceland fumble on its first play of the half, which was recovered by Frankfort's Aiden Monroe.
The Panthers converted that fumble into a score on its next play. Zavian Knuckles connected with Kamarion Carter for a 46-yard touchdown pass.
In the waning moments of the game, Raceland's younger crew got into the end zone one final time.
"I'm proud of our young guys," Salmons said. "We have a tremendous JV and freshmen season. They've had a lot of success. So we really work at it with our young guys. They're important to us and this isn't a goof-off period. It's a time for them to get better and they buy into that."
Eli Evans bowled over a multitude of Panther defenders on a 34-yard catch and run to complete the scoring.
The Rams now look towards Sayre. They will travel to meet the Spartans in the third round of the Class A playoffs on Friday.
"I don't know much about them," Salmons said. "They're 12-0 after tonight. I'll be getting in the film room this weekend to study what they're all about. But for us, we need to be our best when our best is required. You prepare and put guys in position, but at the end of the day, it's about playing to your ability and trying to be the best you are. We feel like if we play to our potential and control the things we can control, when the scoreboard is at zero, we'll be happy with the outcome."
FRANKFORT 6 7 6 0 — 19
RACELAND 28 27 0 6 — 61
R — Jaxon Heighton 10 run (Talon Stanley kick), 11:23
F — Dakyo Washington 88 pass from Jonathan Smith (no kick), 11:12
R — Noah Wallace 17 pass from Logan Lundy (Stanley kick), 10:08
R — Parker Fannin 54 pass from Lundy (Stanley kick), 8:23
R — Isaac Browning 1 run (Stanley kick), 4:52
R — Wallace 7 run (Stanley kick), 11:50
R — Parker Ison 29 pass from Lundy (no kick), 10:06
R — Heighton 2 run (Stanley kick), 6:50
F — Kamarion Carter intercepts Lundy (William Coblin kick), 1:28
R — Bryson Rowsey 32 pass from Lundy (Stanley kick), 0:32
F — Kamarion Carter 46 pass from Zavian Knuckles (run failed), 6:23
R — Eli Evans 34 pass from Jacob Waller (pass failed), 4:10
First Downs 3 17
Rushes-Yards 93 224
Comp-Att-Int 4-11-3 19-28-0
Passing Yards 126 314
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Punts-Avg. 5-25 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-65 7-55
Frankfort rushing: Dakyo Washington 5-42, Jonathan Smith 1-35, Zavian Knuckles 5-10, Grayson Fisher 1-6, Kendrick Chadwell 2-0.
Raceland rushing: Noah Wallace 5-80, Jaxon Heighton 6-65, Cameron Brewer 3-39, Isaac Browning 3-21, Logan Lundy 1-7, Parker Ison 1-5, Jacob Waller 1-5, Jackson Winters 1-5, Landon Bloss 1-(-3).
Frankfort passing: Jonathan Smith 3 of 7 for 80 yards and 2 interceptions, Zavian Knuckles 1 of 4 for 46 yards and 1 interception.
Raceland passing: Logan Lundy 11 of 15 for 229 yards, Jacob Waller 8 of 13 for 85 yards.
Frankfort receiving: Dakyo Washington 3-80, Kamarion Carter 1-46, Kendrick Chadwell 1-(-6).
Raceland receiving: Parker Fannin 5-94, Bryson Rowsey 2-48, Eli Evans 2-45, Landyn Goodall 4-41, Parker Ison 1-29, Cameron Bell 1-25, Noah Wallace 1-17, Scout Wilks 1-15, Landon Bloss 1-0.
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