Rowan County football took a beating in Friday night’s home opener against Raceland.

“They played very physical and they brought it right to us. Like I told the guys, they hit us right in the mouth,” said coach Kelly Ford.

“We knew they were a good football program and we knew they were going to give us a good look of how we need to be down the road. That is why we schedule this game. You can’t win ‘em all, but we’ll go back to work Sunday and get it corrected.”

The Rams pummeled the Vikings, 42-7, behind first time starting quarterback Connor Hughes.

It took a quarter for the Rams to adjust to their backup quarterback. Hughes stepped in for his first varsity appearance during the second week of the season after the Rams starting quarterback Jacob Heighton went out with a broken collar bone.

Hughes completed four of 11 passing attempts in the Rams loss to Russell. He threw two interceptions and a net 21 passing yards.

The sophomore quarterback upped his game against the Vikings completing 11 of 18 passing attempts for 127 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Hughes completed two touchdown passes to Gunner Lewis and Ethan Cox.

Cox turned a short pass from Hughes into a big play for the Rams. Lewis went for 35 yards and the first touchdown early in the second quarter. Cox also caught a 14-yard pass to get the first points on the board in the second half.

Lewis got some elevation for the Rams’ second score as he snagged the catch over Rowan County defenders. He also caught a 24-yard rocket sent by Hughes late in the third quarter that he snatched just before falling out of the back of the end zone to start the running clock.

The notorious passing team did an excellent job moving the ball on the carry. Led by Micheal Meade with 54 rushing yards, the Rams totaled their first 100 rushing yards during a game this season. They totaled 160 yards in 36 touches.

Meade and Caleb Rowsey scored on the carry.

The Vikings were battling an early bout of the injury bug. Lead tackle Dawson Kegley was out for Friday night’s game with a minor shoulder injury. He is expected to return to the line up in a few weeks.

The Vikings were also missing another important member of the line Jacob McDaniels. He was taken out with an ankle injury in the first half. The severity of his injury has yet been determined.

As a team that had been averaging 300 rushing yards in their first two appearances, the Vikings found themselves standing still. The Rams held them to a mere 110 rushing yards and a 61 passing yards.

“Raceland did a great job of coming up and filling. There were running holes there tonight, but they were just there for a second. They were filling and doing a great job. We just need to learn to get to the next level and continue to get in that field,” said Ford.

Cole Wallace led the team with 55 rushing yards. Nick Johnson, having sat out the first half, entered to add 28 yards and the Vikings’ only touchdown. Johnson carried a ball down the right sideline for a 17-dash and the score.

Will Cox completed four of 10 passing attempts. Cox found Devin Davidson for a 14-yard pass after the Rams second touchdown and found Gage Wilder deep for a 40-yard pass nearing the end of the first half.

The Vikings will take on Fleming County this Friday night for their second home game. Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m.

“They put a lot of points up on the board. They like to fling it around, like to throw it a lot. First couple games they played, they are syncing on offense, struggling a little on defense. Hopefully, we get things back in line and win the battle up front. We just have to not let tonight be our season, put it behind us and get ready for the next game,” said Ford.

Fleming County is 1-1 having beat Pendleton County and losing a heartbreaker, 40-36, to Greenup County. They are coming off a 4-7 finish last year. Last year when the Panthers and the Vikings clashed, the Vikings came out on top 39-14.

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