Football coaches Jim McKee of Scott County, Joe Morris of Mayfield and Nathan McPeek of Fairview can wake up now.
Their dream regular seasons are over.
Not only did their teams go undefeated, they never trailed in any of their 10 victories. Imagine that. Not once did any of them glance up at the scoreboard and see that his team was behind.
"It's crazy," McPeek said. "I'm hoping I can still say we've never trailed five weeks from now. But I know the time will come when we're down and face adversity. That's when we'll get a true measure of our character."
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When McKee was asked about Scott County never trailing this season, he laughed. "I've been behind so much in my career, I don't think that feeling, that worry, has ever gone away."
Morris didn't realize his Mayfield team never had to play catch-up in its 10 games. "That's a good thing, for sure," he said with a chuckle. "I wasn't aware of it. I just coach the games as they go."
Morris isn't concerned that his defending state champs might panic if and when they fall behind in the playoffs. "We didn't last year. We were down 14-0 to (Louisville) Holy Cross, but the kids just kept playing."
McKee figures his starters, many of whom played a lot last year, remember what it was like battling from behind last season. As for this season, Scott County has jumped to early leads in all of its games. It has outscored its opponents 168-0 in the first quarter. McKee said part of the reason for that is the Cards' sleight-of-hand Wing-T offense. "There's a period of adjustment for most defenses because they don't see that kind of deception very often."
Fairview has also used the Wing-T to flummox foes. Chris Littlejohn and Chris Brewer have each rushed for more than 1,000 yards, and Devon Turner has more than 800. QB Ty Lowe is closing in on 1,000 yards passing. The Eagles can score in a hurry. "At one point this season, we had 23 drives under 55 seconds," McPeek said.
■ Owen County had the first undefeated regular season (10-0) in school history. The closest the Rebels had come to perfection before was a 9-1 record in 1977. "It's been an amazing year," Coach Adam Fowler said. "Our seniors were thrown in the fire as freshmen and lived through a lot of beatings. But they hung in there, worked hard and lifted weights, and this is their reward."
QB Adam Hazlett has thrown for 2,500 yards and 30 TDs. Sawyer Williams, a 6-foot-7 senior, has more than 1,000 yards and 15 TDs receiving. Chris Day has 70 yards. The defense, which has given up only 102 points, is led by Williams, Steven Klette and Cody McDaniel.
Fowler said some people have belittled Owen County's schedule, and predict it will lose its opening-round playoff game to Newport. The Rebels are using that as motivation as they seek their first post-season win in more than 30 years. "The kids want to keep making history," Fowler said.
■ Johnson Central senior running back J.J. Jude goes into Friday's playoff game against Holmes only 124 yards shy of Derek Homer's career state rushing record of 8,224 yards. Johnson Central Coach Jim Matney said he and his staff are reviewing film and video of every game of Jude's career to get an accurate count of his yardage. "This is bigger than us and we want to make sure we get it right," Matney said. Jude has 2,586 yards this year.
The attention on Jude's pursuit of the record overshadowed Johnson Central's 21-14 victory over previously unbeaten Belfry last week. "Any time you go to Belfry and win, it's good for your program," Matney said. It was a little bit of revenge, too. In 2008, Johnson Central was unbeaten going into the regular-season finale, but Belfry knocked off the Golden Eagles. Johnson Central went 24 years without beating the Pirates. Now it has won three years in a row against Belfry.
■ Central senior Anthony Wales ran for 188 yards in a loss to Pleasure Ridge Park last week. That boosted Wales' career total to 7,636 yards, 588 behind Derek Homer's state record. PRP beat Central 32-30 when Yellowjackets QB Tajh Milliken was called for intentional grounding when he threw a pass from his own end zone in the closing seconds, resulting in a safety.
■ Perry Central senior Matthew Robinson had 15 tackles (seven solo) in a 7-3 win over Somerset, giving him a school-record 164 this season. Robinson also led the host Commodores with 76 yards rushing in the mud against Somerset. Perry Central heads into the 5A playoffs with a school-record eight victories.
■ Bourbon County junior Kentayvous Hopkins ran for 225 yards and three TDs against Paris, and set a single-season school record with 2,591 yards in 10 games. That broke the mark of 2,553 set by Tim Perysian in 15 games in the Colonels' run to the 1997 state title. Bourbon County (7-3) has its first winning season since 2002, and Coach Johnny Poynter's young team will return starters at 18 of 22 positions next year.
■ Rivals.com boosted unbeaten Trinity from No. 2 to No. 1 in the nation after it beat Cincinnati Moeller 49-14. Moeller Coach John Rodenberg, who guided Covington Catholic to a state title in 2006, was impressed by the Shamrocks. "Trinity is definitely one of the top five times I've ever seen play, no doubt, and I've played against some pretty good teams," Rodenberg told the Courier-Journal. "Their athleticism is superior." Trinity, in the playoffs for a state-record 40th year in a row, plays Simon Kenton Friday. The last time they met was in the 4A title game in 2008 when the Rocks rolled to a 48-0 victory.
■ Jeffrey Canady, who had all four TDs in Knox Central's 28-0 win over Madison Central, is closing in on 1,000 yards as a rusher and as a receiver this year. The 6-foot, 190-pound junior has run for 988 yards and 16 TDs, and has 39 catches for 900 yards and five TDs. He's eclipsed his numbers last season when he ran for 664 yards and 12 TDs, and had 37 catches for 803 yards and eight TDs.
■ Highlands' 63-14 rout of Ryle pushed its regular-season scoring to 586 points. The 1998 Bluebirds had 567 points in the regular season, then added 234 more on their way to a state title and a record 801 points. The way Highlands' offense is cooking this year, with QB Patrick Towles at the controls, 801 points looks within reach.
■ John Hardin beat Boone County to finish the regular season undefeated and notch the 100th victory in the Bulldogs' 11-year-old program.
■ Bell County ended Harlan County's bid for an unbeaten regular season by beating the Black Bears 25-14. Jonathon Polly ran for 193 yards, including fourth-quarter TDs of 85 and 74 yards, to lead the Bobcats.
■ Covington Catholic junior Blake Bir passed for a school-record 366 yards in a win over Conner. CovCath also set a school record for regular-season points with 438.
■ Corbin's Brady Foley ran 37 times for 365 yards and three TDs in a win over Harlan.
■ Anderson County senior QB Seth Carmichael threw four TD passes in a win over Marion County, giving him a school-record 30 this season.
■ Dustin Powell ran 43 times for 220 yards and three TDs as Southwestern handed Christian County its first loss, 26-13. Christian County was missing several starters who were reportedly benched for disciplinary reasons.
■ Lexington Catholic grad Will Whitman, who has started at offensive tackle as a freshman at Harvard this season, is on the watch list for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award. It will honor the outstanding freshman player in Football Championship Subdivision. Rice was a star at Division I-AA Mississippi Valley State before going on to have an NFL Hall of Fame career.
■ St. Xavier grad Rolandan "Deuce" Finch, Mr. Football in 2008, was the star in Boston College's 28-17 victory over Maryland last week. The sophomore running back carried 39 times for 243 yards and two TDs. Finch rushed for a total of 266 yards in the Eagles' first six games.
■ When Transylvania played UK in an exhibition basketball game this week, seven Transy players revisited Rupp Arena from their high school days when they made it to the Sweet Sixteen: Taylor Botkin (Lexington Catholic), Tate Cox (Knott County Central), Gavin Dunagan (Wayne County), Nick Fudge (Adair County), Jordan Gilbert (Mason County), Ashley Hatfield (Shelby Valley) and Ethan Spurlin (Lincoln County).
■ Region cross country meets will be held Saturday. Lexington's five public high schools will compete in Class 3A, Region 5 at Falling Springs Park and Recreation Center in Woodford County. Lexington Catholic will run in Class 2A, Region 4 at Grant County. Sayre and Lexington Christian Academy will run in the Class A, Region 5 meet, which will be held on LCA's campus. Sayre freshman Maddox Patterson is two-time defending girls' state champ. The state meet is Nov. 12 at the Kentucky Horse Park.