Do you remember 2003?
Dwyane Wade and Marquette upset what might have been Tubby Smith's best Kentucky team in the Elite Eight. In Da Club by 50 Cent was the No. 1 song of the year. Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as governator of California.
It was also the last time Boyle County and Danville won football titles in the same year, ending a stretch in which the neighboring schools combined for eight titles in five seasons. Hence the name "Titletown."
Through seven games in 2003, the Central Kentucky powerhouses were a combined 13-1 — the one loss Boyle County's 45-26 win over the Admirals.
Never miss a local story.
Through seven games this season, the Central Kentucky powerhouses are a combined 13-1 — the one loss Boyle County's 42-20 win over the Admirals.
As the late Yogi Berra might say, it's déjà vu all over again.
Legendary coach Chuck Smith has Boyle County purring again in the second year of his second stint at the school. Danville is off to its best start yet in Clay Clevenger's third year.
Boyle County puts its undefeated season on the line when Lexington Catholic visits this week. Smith said the Knights present a lot of problems.
In his past three games against LexCath, Smith is 0-3. That dates to a 43-42 loss in his first stint with the school and two losses last season by a combined 14 points. All of those games were in Lexington.
"When you go up against a team as balanced as Lexington Catholic, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense," said Smith. They're especially talented in their receiving corps, he said.
Josiah Robbins has stood out at quarterback for the Rebels. Smith said he's throwing the ball better than last season and stepped up as a leader.
"He's really understanding what we want and how we've got to get it done," Smith said.
Danville is the presumed favorite against 1-6 Middlesboro this week. It should come to Lexington Christian next Friday with a blemish-free record aside from the Boyle County letdown.
Should LCA get past Somerset this week, next week's battle will outright decide the top seed in Class 2A, District 7.
The Ads edged the Eagles 58-57 last year.
In Clevenger's mind, though, the next game on the schedule is always the biggest one.
"We've had some lapses throughout the year where we don't look like a very good football team," Clevenger said. "We have to understand that if we don't bring it every day and every game, we can be very average pretty easily."
He lauded a senior class that's worked hard under his watch and is seeing some fruits from its labor. That group includes leading rusher Stephen Ray, who has a team-high 11 touchdowns this season.
Sophomore D'maruriae VanCleave leads the Ads in receiving and is their second-leading rusher. Quarterback Zack Dampier is a junior who has thrown for more than 1,300 yards and 16 TDs.
"We don't really have a superstar so to speak," Clevenger said. "Any given game we've had a guy lead us in receiving, lead us in rushing. The defense is playing really good football right now. ...
"There's still a lot of football to be played as far as whether or not we get back to maybe what it was in the early 2000s."
Whether the two schools can pull off what they did in 2003 remains to be seen. But the enthusiasm is as rich as it's ever been.
"This community just loves football," Smith said. "I think that's the thing that we're known for statewide. The football from this community is just big."
Between his first stint, at Boyle County from 1992 through 2004, and this one Smith said there's a difference in the kids. That's attributable to them having more options for things to do now.
One thing hasn't changed, though.
"A Boyle County kid will work all day long," Smith said, "and he'll come back and ask for more. That's what I love about 'em."
Paris vs. Bishop Brossart
It's been a while since the Paris Greyhounds were undefeated this deep into a season.
Try 1983, when Paris went 11-0 before having its 38-game win streak snapped at Russellville in the state semifinals. It had won its second title in a row and posted its second straight undefeated season the year before.
The 2015 edition looks startlingly similar to that last title team.
The father of senior running back James Clark, also named James, was a running back on that team. Aaron Maggard, quarterback for the current Paris squad, is the son of Robert Maggard, who quarterbacked those teams.
"We're getting players from parents that were a part of those runs back then," Coach Brian Washington said. "Those kids are coming through now, which is a tremendous feat in itself."
Washington began his second go-round at Paris in 2012, when his son was a junior. He previously coached the Greyhounds from 2005-07.
"We've been building it up to this point," said Washington, who's coached Paris to back-to-back 9-3 seasons. "We're getting our experienced players to varsity level. They're older now. Instead of freshmen and sophomores they're a strong junior and senior class."
The Greyhounds (8-0) host fellow unbeaten Bishop Brossart (7-0) in a de facto battle for the No. 1 seed in Class A, District 5 on Friday.
Students upend mentor
East Jessamine's 26-14 win over Taylor County last week Thursday wasn't just the Jaguars' first district win in almost a year. It was also Coach Mike Bowlin's first time facing former boss Dudley Hilton.
Bowlin coached under Hilton at Bell County in 1995. The pupil said Hilton employs many of the same plays and formations, which he thought gave the Jags a small advantage.
"Coach Hilton, he's not a big flash and smoke guy," Bowlin said. "He's not going to try to trick you a lot. He's just gonna try to run right at ya."
It was East Jessamine that did most of the running. More precisely, it was Justin McIntyre, who had 153 yards for the Jaguars (5-3).
Jordan Marcum, East Jessamine's defensive coordinator, played under Hilton at Bell County. Bowlin said Marcum was "extremely motivated" heading into last week's game.
"This was the biggest game on the schedule for us this year," Bowlin said. "You don't want to be shown up by the guy who gave you a job or coached ya."
East Jessamine honored its 2003 football team during the game. The '03 Jags went 10-2, ending with a loss in the second round to eventual state runner-up Highlands.
Hilton, the state's second winningest coach all-time, has Taylor County off to a 3-4 start.
An All-American Rose
Matt Rose, who ended his career at Lexington Christian as the school's second-leading scorer in boys' basketball, recently was named a second team All-American by the National Christian School Athletic Association.
Rose is a freshman at Samford. He's not the only Bulldog with a Kentucky connection.
The head coach is former St. Xavier/University of Kentucky player Scott Padgett, entering his second season guiding the Bulldogs. Darius Jones-Gibson (Tates Creek) and Christen Cunningham (Henry Clay/Cordia) also play at Samford.
The Bulldogs open their season at Louisville on Nov. 13.
Udoka Azubuike — a class of 2016 center out of Florida who sports a host of offers including ones from UK, Duke and Kansas — also was named to the second team.
Jake Damron, a freshman at Ashland Blazer, will represent the Lexington Shriners Hospital in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open next weekend in Las Vegas.
Damron is one of 18 ambassadors who will carry the scores for professional groups during the PGA Tour event.
"I am beyond excited to watch some of the best golfers in the world compete in the game I love to play," Damron said in a news release.
Damron has Erb's palsy, a paralysis of the arm. At 12, he underwent surgery to elongate a tendon in his arm.
He has defied doctors' expectations and played several sports at Blazer, including golf.
"I really didn't think of myself as any different," Damron said in the release. "My arm just isn't an issue to me."
■ The Army will present Lafayette's Landon Young with his All-American Bowl jersey on Oct. 26.
The jersey presentation will be held in conjunction with the school's fall sports pep rally. It is not open to the public.
■ Surveys were emailed to boys' and girls' basketball coaches this week. Please return those in a timely fashion so we can provide comprehensive coverage of your teams and get an accurate snapshot of the forthcoming season.
■ Due to mandatory systems training at the Herald-Leader, there will not be a high school notebook next week.
I encourage you to bookmark my blog and/or Twitter page so you don't miss anything significant over the next week.
Editor's note: The original version of this story reported 1982 as the last time Paris went undefeated deep into a season. The 1983 team started 11-0. This change is reflected in this version of the story. The original text is below.
"Try 1983, when Paris went 11-0 before having its 38-game win streak snapped at Russellville in the state semifinals. It had won its second title in a row and posted its second straight undefeated season the year before.
The 2015 edition looks startlingly similar to that last title team."