Oct. 5, 2012 — Homecoming. The time of year when alumni are honored, admired and celebrated for making the joys of today possible.
Tonight marks Rowan County Senior High School’s Annual Homecoming game as the 2012 Vikings hope to honor green and white players of the past with a win.
Last Friday’s first district and road win of the season at Greenup County was big, and also saw the Vikes battle through short-handedness.
Speed demon running back Chris Baker will be making his return to the field after missing last week due to injury, and this will be a big boost to the Viking offense.
Though junior fullback Keontae Moore helped carry the Vikings with another 100-plus yard performance, while dragging many Musketeers behind him, Baker’s presence on the field was sorely missed.
The thunder and lightning combo of Baker and Moore is no doubt an essential component to seeing offensive success for Rowan County, and this week, the duo could really prove its worth.
Though the Vikings saw a playoff birth essentially set its roots last Friday, the implications tonight’s matchup against the Boyd County Lions could serve the big green some room to maneuver in the standings.
The Lions are a team amidst a season in which it is trying to rebuild the pieces of a once dominant program, and for the most part, they have been successful in doing so this season.
Despite having three-straight losses to some of the area’s best teams, the 2-5 Lions are a team on the prowl for a playoff birth, as well as an upset this Friday.
So, what do the Vikings need to be aware of come 7:30 p.m. tonight? When looking at the Lions, there is no secret as to what this team likes to do, and its run the ball.
Hard-nosed, smash mouth football is what coach Ray Brook’s team does, and tonight’s homecoming battle will be won on the front lines.
Boyd has a pretty good one-two punch in the backfield with Dylan Harris and Jacob Barnwell, who have combined for several big games this season, including a 280-yard collaborative effort on the ground against East Carter.
While the defensive front for the Vikings must clog up potential running gaps for the Lions, linebacker Zack Kelsey, along with the defensive secondary will have to contain the threat of a big play.
It’s simple, if Rowan can hold down Boyd’s running game; they will win the district contest.
On offense, it’s a matter of doing what the Vikings do best and that’s also run the ball. With Baker back in the mix, it’s possible homecoming fans could be treated to a 200-yard or more running total. Throw in quarterback Justin Graham’s ability to scamper for big yardage, we could see 300-plus from the Rowan County backfield.
Perhaps, the biggest key to Valhalla this week lies in something a little less statistical, and more in the mind. We’re talking about focus.
Homecoming is a big event, but the Vikings mustn’t let the talk of queens and Saturday night shindigs serve as a distraction to the task at hand. Block all of this from the mind and the Vikings stand a very high chance of evening its 2012 record at 4-4.
Be sure to pick up Tuesday’s Morehead News for a complete wrap-up of all tonight’s district action.
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.