Sept. 21, 2012 — Last week’s 21-20 loss at West Jessamine may have put Rowan County below the .500 mark at 2-3, but it also served as somewhat of a reassurance that the Vikings have one thing … depth.
After sophomore quarterback Justin Graham went down with a high-ankle sprain, freshman quarterback Devin Helvey eliminated the worried looks from Viking fans in the stands, doing so with flare and poise by helping to lead the Rowan offense to a near come-from-behind victory.
Fast forward to tonight, a game which kicks off district play for the green and white against the likes of an old foe in Ashland Blazer. As of yesterday evening, Graham was still questionable, meaning Helvey’s freshman heroics of the week before may have been a precursor to a bigger stage against the district’s toughest opponent.
The Tomcats will be primed and ready come 7:30 p.m., after falling just shy of a near big-time upset of Ironton last Friday.
So what are this week’s keys to Valhalla? Well, they can pretty much be summed up in one word, control.
If the Vikings are to defeat 4-1 Ashland, they must control the line of scrimmage and contain freshman running back Quinton Baker who has rushed for more than 600 yards this season, while tallying nine scores.
A team that favors the run, the Viking front four need to show strength and resiliency, while its linebacking core and secondary must contain the big play.
With Graham either being out or hobbled, offensively much of the load will fall on the shoulders of Chris Baker and Keontae Moore. Both Moore and Baker are coming off another week of solid performances with their thunder and lightning approach, and there is no doubt that their presence is needed this week perhaps more than it has all season.
But make no mistake about it; even with an offense averaging 30 points a game, in order to win tonight, the green jerseys need to create havoc for the Tomcat offense, because a scoring match is something Rowan County needs to steer clear of.
The Morehead News will have more on the Vikings vs. The Tomcats in next Tuesday’s edition of sports.
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.