Lexington Christian Academy Coach Paul Rains remembers when Ray Graham and Mike Meighan were his "two biggest nemeses" in football.
When Rains was at Montgomery County in the mid-1990s, his Indians regularly knocked heads with Graham's Harrison County Thorobreds. After Rains moved to Madison Central, one of his main rivals was Meighan's Paul Dunbar Bulldogs.
Never miss a local story.
"I won't even mention some of the thoughts I used to have about them on Friday night," Rains said with a laugh. "If you'd told me 10 years ago that one day we'd all be coaching together at Lexington Christian, and we'd be a Class A state power, well, you couldn't make up a movie like that."
Meighan, who was head coach at Dunbar for 11 years before retiring after the 2000 season, joined LCA's staff three years ago. "When Paul was at Madison Central, we butted heads a lot," Meighan said. "But this is not the same Paul Rains I coached against. He's become a new person. I'm here because this is where I was needed. It's a growing program that's teaching the right things to kids."
Graham recalled Harrison County having "hard-nosed, knock-down battles" with Rains' Montgomery County teams.
After Rains took over the LCA program in 2003, he thought that Graham, who is a Biblical scholar, would be a perfect fit for LCA. Graham said it took a lot of prayer before he decided in May to leave Harrison County after 28 years. "Paul has rededicated his life to the Lord, and I realized this is where I should be," Graham said.
Rains admits he's a different man than the one who used to compete against Graham and Meighan. "My last year at Madison Central, I started doing things differently, some of my philosophies changed," he said. "I came more in line with what Mike was like as a coach, and Ray had been an influence on me behind the scenes for years."
Rains' former adversaries are now confidants. Together they have more than 80 years experience on the sidelines, 429 victories as head coaches, and newfound friendships. "We still have totally different personalities," Rains said, "but it meshes well because we respect each other, and we have a genuine care and concern for the kids and the game."
■ Most football coaches love it if they can schedule six or seven home games in a 10-game regular season. Jim McKee's Scott County Cardinals have it even better. "We're probably the only high school in the nation with eight home games," McKee said. Scott County was supposed to play Boone County in a season-opening bowl at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. But there was a scheduling problem at the stadium, and Scott County wound up hosting the Rebels, and the teams split the gate. "Typically we'll have five home games one year, and seven the next year," McKee said. "It was just luck that we got an eighth one this year." Scott County will play five at home next season.
■ Franklin-Simpson senior QB Courtney Dalcourt generated more than 400 yards in a loss to Bowling Green last week. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 294 yards and three TDs, and ran for 109 yards and a TD. Dalcourt has thrown for 1,122 yards and 13 TDs and run for 608 yards and seven scores this season.
■ Unbeaten Green County is showing there's still a place in football for a ground-oriented option offense. The Dragons bulldozed Taylor County 78-21 last week, rushing for more than 400 yards, which is their average. RB Zeth Rogers leads Green County with 1,028 rushing yards, and QB Justin Pendleton has run for 685 yards and thrown for 310. Coach Mike Griffithse_SSRq team has won 18 of its last 19 games. The loss was to Metcalfe County in the playoffs last year. Green County visits Metcalfe County Friday night.
■ Aaron Watts returned an interception 102 yards for a TD to help McCreary Central beat Harlan. Watts, a junior, also threw for 136 yards and rushed for 48.
■ Raceland's Robby Logan had a big game in a win over Green-up County. The 6-2, 250-pound senior lineman had six tackles, including three sacks. He also had three quarterback "hurries," and returned a blocked punt for a TD.
■ Middlesboro's Hunter Adams returned the opening kickoff 78 yards for a TD against Clay County, but it was wiped out by a penalty. There was no yellow flag, though, when Adams returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD with 16 seconds left to give Middlesboro a 28-21 win over the Tigers. Adams led the Yellowjackets with 111 yards rushing. He is the son of former UK player Vic Adams, who was an All-State tackle at Middlesboro in 1983 and '84.
■ Bullitt East's Curtis Logsdon carried 36 times for 312 yards and five TDs, including a 98-yard run, but it wasn't enough as the Chargers lost to Fairdale 40-35.
■ David Spence returned an interception 43 yards for the clinching TD as unbeaten Beechwood beat Covington Catholic 35-21. The Tigers' victory tied the series 15-15. CovCath, which lost to Highlands 61-0 two weeks ago, plays Cincinnati Elder on Friday. Elder is rated 20th in the nation by USA Today.
■ A record crowd of 38,872 watched St. Xavier trounce Trinity 30-6 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium last week. Deuce Finch ran for 152 yards to lead the Tigers, who jumped into USA Today's national rankings at No. 25. Trinity had been No. 21 but dropped out of the ratings.
■ North Bullitt's Dalton Cissell ran 35 times for 341 yards and four TDs in a loss to Jeffersontown. He had 409 all-purpose yards.
■ Russell celebrated its homecoming by honoring its 1978 state championship team and inducting Coach Ivan McGlone into the school's Hall of Fame at halftime of Friday's 41-20 victory over Lawrence County.
■ Male star and Mr. Football candidate Justin Green is expected to miss the next three games because of a knee injury. Green has committed to Ohio State,
■ Ashland Blazer blanked Boyd County 35-0, the first time it has shut out its archrival since 1992.
■ Calloway County junior Tyrell Willis ran for 81 yards in limited action against Muhlenberg North, making him the school's all-time leading rusher with 2,135 yards.
■ Undefeated John Hardin beat North Hardin for its 21st consecutive regular-season victory.
■ Defending 2A champ Fort Campbell routed Fort Knox 70-0 in the most lopsided Army Bowl in its 33-year history. The Falcons stretched the state's longest winning streak to 19. Fort Knox has lost 27 in a row.
■ Campbell County junior Austin Johnson rushed for 245 yards in a win over Mason County.
■ Bellevue and Dayton aren't football powers, but they have one of the oldest rivalries in the state. They meet for the 127th time on Friday. Bellevue holds an 82-41-3 advantage in the series, which began in 1926. According to Mike Swauger of Bellevue, the teams played twice a year from 1941-1955 and 1975-2004, usually in the first and last games of the season.
■ Pairings are set for the state volleyball tournament that will be held at Bellarmine University on Oct. 31-Nov. 1. If the bracket plays out according to the ratings, the 11th Region, which includes Lexington's schools, will face the 7th Region in the semifinals. The 7th is home to four-time defending champ Assumption. First-round pairings: 12th vs. 3rd, 11th vs. 15th, 2nd vs. 7th, 16th vs. 14th, 4th vs. 13th, 10th vs. 1st, 8th vs. 9th, and 5th vs. 6th.
■ Henry Clay's girls and Paul Dunbar's boys will try to defend their titles in the Fayette County public schools cross country meet at Masterson Station Park on Wednesday. The top individuals among the girls include Tates Creek's Madelyn Stichnot, Henry Clay's Caroline Smith and Dunbar's trio of Amanda Hancock, Melissa Hurd and Megan Klein. The top boys include Henry Clay's Dan Ritchey, and Dunbar's Rob Wahl, Quinn Lackey and Elliot Rosenberg. The girls run at 5:45 p.m., followed by the boys at 6;15.
■ Bryan Station pitcher Brandon Boling, who was third-team All-City as a junior last spring, has committed to play baseball at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. Boling was also recruited by Marshall, Louisville and Winthrop.