Pineville has won their past two meetings with the Tigers, winning 62-6 last year at Paintsville and 38-21 at home in 2009. The series began following the Lions 14-11 loss at Paintsville in the first round of the 2008 playoffs.
While the two teams have the same record after four games, the Mountain Lions have gone up against stiffer competition with games at 5A North Laurel (a 45-6 loss) and at home against 3A McCreary Central (a 20-14 win) in addition to a 40-0 loss to Williamsburg in the City/County Bowl and a 24-21 win at Lynn Camp in their last game before last week’s open date.
Paintsville opened the season with a 34-12 win at Paris followed by a 27-6 loss at home versus Magoffin County. They got past Jenkins 15-12 at home two weeks ago and are coming off a 30-25 loss at Allen Central last Friday.
The Tigers feature a bit more balanced offense than Pineville with 635 rushing yards on the year and 389 through the air.
Sophomore back Mark Fannin is their primary weapon with 66 carries for 389 yards and seven touchdowns. Another sophomore Dakota Ray has gained 101 yards on 35 carries with one score and sophomore fullback Prater Helton has scored three touchdowns on just seven caries and 54 yards.
Junior Matt Daniels is the Tiger quarterback and he’s completed 23-of-58 passes for 394 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions.
Paintsville’s top receivers are junior Adam Plumley with seven catches for 127 yards and freshman Peyton Smith with seven for 102. Sophomore Brandon Haight has four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Tackle statistics weren’t available for Paintsville, but the Tigers have held their opponents to 448 rushing yards and 212 passing yards through four games. They’ve also forced eight turnovers (six fumbles, two interceptions) on the year.
On big key for the Mountain Lions will be taking care of the ball.
Balance for Pineville so far this season has consisted of running the ball equal times to the left, to the right and up the middle. But that has led to success against Lynn Camp and McCreary — two teams that compare closely to Paintsville.
Pineville should have an advantage in size and experience up front with seniors Gary Hurst, Tyler Carroll, Joey Patterson and Jeremie Bartells along with junior Jacob McGeorge.
That group has helped pave the way for junior running back Andrew Douglas to run for over 300 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Sophomore Conner Ford gives the Lions an explosive option in the backfield and has run for over 150 yards in three starts at running back.
Junior quarterback Jamie Roan has run for over 100 yards and a pair of scores and is making strides in the passing game with a new set of receivers.
Rumor has it the Lions could get a boost this week from the return of junior Byron David Asher, who has missed the first four games with a knee injury. Plans going in to the season were for Asher to see time at receiver, tight end and in the backfield and he’ll give the Lions another dynamic play-maker.
Tonight’s game kicks off at 8 p.m.