After more than eight years of digging for photos, tracking down rosters and seeking out former athletes who starred at Henry Clay, Becky Bushong and her team are ready to unveil the school's Wall of Fame on Saturday.
The project has been a labor of love for Bushong, a former athletic director at the school. She gave ample credit to the committee with which she worked, which sacrificed hundreds of hours in order to give glory to former Blue Devils greats.
"Hard work has allowed us to take stock on the athletic history at Henry Clay," Bushong said. "We have learned some unforgettable lessons."
Henry Clay owns 39 state team titles, including baseball in 1973, football in 1981, boys' basketball in 1983 and girls' basketball in 1990. Its most recent additions came last season, when the lacrosse and boys' bowling teams won state championships.
Seventeen of those titles, including its two in lacrosse, are in sports not sanctioned by the KHSAA.
There are 141 individual champions who will be honored. The wall will also showcase professional athletes and collegiate champions who attended Henry Clay.
Steve Miller, a member of the 1983 boys' basketball team who went on to win Mr. Basketball the following season, will be attending the by-invitation-only event Saturday. He's eager to see which of his former teammates will show up and said the highlight will be catching up with old friends.
Miller, who won the award in 1984, remains the most recent Mr. Basketball recipient from Lexington. He said it takes a lot of things to come together team-wise for an individual to earn that honor
"When I was fortunate enough to get it, we had a whale of a basketball team with superior coaching," Miller said. "It goes hand in hand. Getting that exposure to go to state helps out a lot.
An Olympian will also be attending the Wall of Fame ceremony. Megan Kleine Morris, a former Henry Clay swimmer who won gold as part of the women's 4-by-100-meter medley relay team in the 1992 Olympics, will be making the trip to Lexington from Houston, where she now lives with her husband and two daughters.
"I went to the Olympics a long time ago," Morris said. "My swimming career happened a long time ago. But it is still very nice to be honored.
"I'm excited to see what they have put together for all of the people from Henry Clay."
'You better score 10'
The biggest football bout in Lexington this week — on paper, at least — is No. 19 Lafayette at No. 14 Henry Clay. As far as metrics go, they're about as even as it gets.
Both team are averaging 42 points a game. They're each giving up 35 per game. If this one turns into a shootout — like the Blue Devils' 70-64 win over Tates Creek on Sept. 11 or the Generals' 65-46 loss to Scott County last week — few will be surprised.
Joquise Buford, the leading rusher in the state last season, has only played in the Blue Devils' previous two games but is averaging 191 yards. Austin Bledsoe leads Henry Clay and is fifth in Class 6A with an average of 119 rushing yards per game.
The Tates Creek game was Buford's first back in action. Buford described a wild lead-up to that evening.
"It was a normal day for me but then once I went through school, people were like 'How many touchdowns you gonna score?," Buford said with a laugh. "They were like 'You better score 10, I want five.' I was like, 'Man, that's a lot of pressure.'"
His peers had to settle for a 321-yard, five-TD night. Not bad for someone who hadn't suited up since Nov. 7, 2014.
Rockets firing away
Shelby County is off to its first 5-0 start since 2005, when the Rockets began 7-0 before finishing on a four-game losing streak (they were then in a district with Trinity, Ballard and Fern Creek).
The Rockets are one of three teams to cross the 200-point mark in Class 4A. They travel to one of the others, Franklin County (also 5-0), for a district matchup Friday.
"Our district is where we're going to find out how good we are," Rockets Coach Todd Shipley said.
The five teams that comprise Class 4A, District 4 — Collins, Franklin County, North Oldham, Shelby County and Spencer County — are all in the top 15 of the 4A Cantrall Ratings.
"I feel good about what we've been doing," said Shipley, who thinks his team's defense has been overshadowed. The Rockets have allowed just 51 points this season. Only Johnson Central (34) and South Warren (51) have allowed fewer.
■ Bourbon County's Clay Bolin set a school record for passing yards in the Colonels' 42-35 win at Clark County last Friday. Bolin went 34-for-51 for 425 yards and four touchdowns.
Bolin is second in passing behind Cameron Dukes of Bullitt Central, but has played four games to Dukes' five. He is the younger brother of University of Louisville quarterback Kyle Bolin, who starred at Lexington Catholic.
■ Four running backs are averaging more than 200 yards midway through the season: Jaylyn Williams, Letcher County Central (254); Myles Hurst, Jackson County (234); Quinton Baker, Ashland Blazer (224) and Brody Johnson, East Ridge (210). Williams and Hurst have played five games while Baker and Johnson have played four.
■ Highlands had appeared — either in the top 10 or receiving votes — in every round of Kentucky Associated Press polling since at least October 1996 until this Monday's Class 5A poll was released. The Bluebirds (1-4) did not receive a single vote.
All "A" soccer in Frankfort
An All "A" champion will be decided in boys' and girls' soccer this weekend at Capital View Park in Frankfort.
The girls' quarterfinals get underway Saturday at 9 a.m. Lexington Christian will play Prestonsburg for a spot in the semifinals, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The boys take the field at 1 p.m. Sayre meets Glasgow, winners of seven straight games, at 3 p.m. The Spartans are unbeaten on the year at 5-0-3. The boys' semifinals will be played at 8 p.m.
The girls' championship game is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, with the boys' contest to follow at 1 p.m.
■ Marion County boys' soccer coach Greg Conley earned his 200th victory on Sept. 12 in a 6-1 win over Christian County.
Before taking over at Marion in 2006, Conley coached at Lafayette, Boyle County and St. Catharine College.
■ Former Tates Creek star Mallory Eubanks was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week in soccer last week. Eubanks, a sophomore, had the game-winning goal in Mississippi State's 2-1 win at Arkansas. It was MSU's first road victory over the Razorbacks and snapped a 23-game losing streak in SEC play.
■ The National Soccer Coaches Association of America named its recipients of the Team Academic Award this week. Lafayette's and Danville's boys' and girls' programs were among 49 schools nationwide to have both teams earn the recognition.
Paul Laurence Dunbar's and Tates Creek's volleyball programs will host the Kentucky Challenge this weekend, a nine-team tournament featuring six schools ranked in the top 20.
The teams will go through two rounds of pool play — one on Friday night and one Saturday morning — before championship and consolation matches are played Saturday afternoon at Dunbar.
Saturday morning's pool play will be based upon results from Friday's results and will get underway at 8 a.m. at Dunbar.
Henry Clay, No. 5 in the latest coaches poll, is in a pool with No. 17 Scott and Lexington Christian. No. 7 Dunbar is pooled with No. 12 Cooper and Boone County. No. 10 Tates Creek is paired with No. 6 Ryle and Bullitt East.
A complete schedule of Friday's games can be found on B2.
■ Assumption, ranked No. 15 in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, won the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas last Saturday.
The Rockets beat No. 20 Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) in the quarterfinals and San Diego Torrey Pines (Calif.) in the semifinals before giving Santa Margarita (Calif.) its first loss of the season in the championship game.
The boys' and girls' regional tournaments will be played early next week across the state.
The 12 boys' regionals will take place on Monday. The 10 girls' regionals are scheduled for Tuesday.
The boys' 9th Region, which includes every Lexington school, will be played at Kearney Hill Golf Links. Play gets underway at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
The girls' 7th Region — comprised of every Lexington school and several others from surrounding counties — will be contested at Keene Run Golf Club in Nicholasville beginning at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
WKU baseball picks up two
Western Kentucky picked up two in-state baseball commitments this week, both from small private schools.
Aidan Ellis, a Sayre senior, batted .407 his junior season and went 7-4 with a 3.40 ERA.
Ray Zuberer, a standout quarterback in football at Owensboro Catholic as well, batted .442 with 18 RBI as a junior.