Male Coach Bob Redman could have jumped from high school football to the college level years ago when then-University of Louisville Coach Howard Schnellenberger offered him a chance to join his staff. But Redman's heart told him to stay in the high school game.
Last Friday, Redman became the fourth football coach in state history to win 300 games when Male beat Christian County. The occasion prompted Redman to reflect on his decision to stick with the high school game.
"Sure, college coaching had its appeal," he said. "The glamor of it and the potential financial gain. But the deciding factor for me was that I had two kids that I wanted to see grow up. I know I made the right decision."
That feeling was driven home in the early 1990s when Redman's son Chris was Male's star quarterback, daughter Natalie was a cheerleader, and wife Pam was the cheerleading sponsor. "I tell you, we had it under control," Redman said with a laugh.
Redman has been at Male the last 17 years and led the Bulldogs to three state titles. Before that he was at Durrett, Ballard and Waggener, where he turned moribund programs into winners.
But Redman said victories and championships aren't the highlights of his 34 years on the sidelines.
"Not a Friday night goes by that guys who played on my teams at Durrett, Ballard, Waggener and Male don't show up with their kids," he said. "There's something those former players got from football that they want to keep in their life. That's what's satisfying to me. Seeing what they've turned into, what they're giving back, and having lifelong friendships with them. That's the most satisfying part of doing this."
■ Simon Kenton junior Miles Simpson is getting noticed. The 6-3, 195-pound tailback rushed 24 times for a school-record 347 yards — including scoring runs of 80, 80, 76 and 30 yards — in a win over Dixie Heights. Simpson had seven tackles playing free safety. He attended Louisville's game against Tennessee Tech last week, and he's been invited to UK's game against Middle Tennessee on Saturday. "People have started to find out about Miles' abilities," Simon Kenton Coach Jeff Marksberry said.
■ North Bullitt senior running back Dalton Cissell had 308 all-purpose yards and four TDs in a victory over Breckinridge County, including an 80-yard kickoff return and 60-yard punt return for scores. Cissell has rushed for 5,260 yards in his career.
■ Boone County junior Charles Quainoo carried 44 times for 340 yards and three TDs in a win over Mason County. He ran for 234 yards in the Rebels' season-opening loss to Scott County.
■ Covington Catholic fell behind Newport Central Catholic 20-0, but rallied to win 38-34 on Zach Isler's 33-yard TD pass to Michael Robinson with 32 seconds left. NewCath can take consolation in knowing that after it lost to CovCath in 2005 and 2006, it went on to win the state title. NewCath beat the Colonels last year, but wound up losing in the state finals.
■ Calloway County quarterback Casey Brockman threw a pair of TD passes to Tyrell Willis in the closing minutes to beat Trigg County 35-28. The game-winning toss came with 52 seconds left.
■ Clay County quarterback Zach Lewis threw for 278 yards and four TDs in limited action in the Tigers' 62-8 romp over Leslie County. Lewis pushed his career passing yardage to 11,159, 1,008 shy of Tim Couch's state record of 12,167
■ Harlan County Central got its first football victory as a new school. The Black Bears, led by Nathaniel Gilliam's 117 yards rushing and three TDs, beat Lynn Camp 41-0. For Harlan County Coach Tom Larkey, who was at Rockcastle County for 23 years, it was his 234th career win.
■ South Laurel senior quarterback Ricky Bowling has completed 74 percent of his passes for 780 yards and nine TDs in two games. He has 105 TD passes in his career. He's also been a standout on defense, with nine tackles and an interception.
■ In the first two weeks of the high school season, I've seen more players go down with cramps than score TDs. It's part of football in late August and early September when the heat is still on. What's a coach to do? I asked an expert — Sheri McNew, director of athletic training services at UK's department of orthopaedic and sports medicine. McNew said conditioning is a key, and that cramps are preventable if players hydrate leading up to Friday night. She recommends they drink V8 vegetable juice during the week and stay away from caffeinated soft drinks. McNew said other variables play into who get cramps. Players who go both ways — on offense and defense — don't get much rest and are more prone to tightening up. And some players are naturally "heavy sweaters" and deplete their potassium and sodium levels more quickly. They especially need to hydrate.
■ DeMarco Phillips, a key player on Bardstown's basketball team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen last season, injured his neck last month in football practice. Tigers basketball coach Gary Goode said it was first feared that Phillips might have a fractured vertebrae, but he didn't. Phillips will be re-examined in a few weeks and Goode is optimistic he will be cleared to play basketball. As a 6-4 junior, Phillips averaged 12 points and six rebounds for Bardstown.
■ Madisonville basketball star Jon Hood, who has committed to UK, is rated the top senior in the state by Rick Bolus' High Potential Recruiting Service. Jacob Jenkins of Manual is No. 2, followed by C.J. Penny of Anderson County, Vee Sanford of Lexington Catholic, Wesley Cox of Ballard and Richie Phares of Scott County. Rounding out the top 12: Greg Johnson of North Hardin, Garrison Collins of June Buchanan, Darren Ballou of Adair County, Leonard Macon of Taylor County, Andrew Donovan of Franklin County and Chase Cox of Taylor County. Bolus rates Manual junior Aaron Cosby as the top underclassmen, followed by Scott County juniors Chad Jackson and Dakotah Euton, and Clark County sophomore Vinny Zollo. Euton and Zollo have also committed to UK.
■ Boone County's Steven McFarland, a 6-5 senior who averaged 11 points, six rebounds and five assists last season, committed to play college hoops at Georgetown.
■ Four-time defending state volleyball champ Assumption was rated No. 2 in the pre-season coaches' poll behind rival Mercy. That perceived slight only motivated the host Rockets to beat Mercy on Tuesday night before a standing-room-only crowd. Before the match, Assumption Coach Ron Kordes was honored for notching his 700th win last week.
■ Dunbar boys' soccer coach Todd Bretz had to wait awhile to get his 300th victory, but he finally got it last weekend at a tournament in Castle, Ind. The Bulldogs won their first game of the season on Aug. 19, then had three losses and a tie after that. Bretz is only the second boys' coach in the state to reach the 300 plateau. John Horton of Covington Catholic finished his career with 433 wins. Bretz also has guided Dunbar to three state titles.
■ Lexington's five public school boys' soccer teams play some of their Louisville counterparts in the annual Lexington-Louisville Challenger at Tates Creek on Saturday. Bryan Station vs. Jeffersontown, 11 a.m.; Lafayette vs. Atherton, 1 p.m.; No. 4 Henry Clay vs. Butler, 3; Tates Creek vs. Eastern, 5; and No. 25 Paul Dunbar vs. Ballard, 7.
■ Dunbar's volleyball team will host its annual "Think Pink" game to benefit breast cancer charities on Sept. 16 against Tates Creek.
■ North Oldham hosts the fifth annual Rumble through the Jungle cross country meet Saturday. St. Xavier, Dunbar and Lexington Christian are among the teams entered. Dunbar's Quinn Lackey and Amanda Hancock are considered contenders in the boys' and girls' competition. Reigning girls' state champ Emma Brink of Sacred Heart heads the field.