What do the next 16 Fridays (and occasional Saturdays) hold in store? A whole lot of memories.
In a few months, we’ll have a collection of six more championship teams ready to take their rightful place among the hundreds who’ve come before them. By December, fans and media will have poured out thousands of words about these deserving squads.
As the 2016 season unfolds, let’s not forget to pay mind to the teams and players the record books may not: All the 0-9 teams looking for a win in a “lost” season. All the overlooked linemen whose hometown fans swear could suit up at UK. All the teary-eyed seniors wishing they could play just one more snap.
Champions aren’t just crowned; they’re forged on brand-new turf as well as mud-ridden fields. So enjoy the ride, whether you’re watching from the press box, the bleachers or the sidelines.
Because you’re about to see something special.
▪ The KHSAA Board of Control approved the state finals dates and times for the Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl during its first meeting of the 2016-17 season, held in late July.
Kentucky’s six football championship games will be played at Houchens Industries/L.T. Smith Stadium at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. The schedule is (all times eastern):
Friday, Dec 2: Class A finals 2 p.m.; Class 4A finals 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3: Class 3A finals 2 p.m.; Class 6A finals 6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4: Class 2A finals 2 p.m.; Class 5A finals 6 p.m.
Ex-Cat Dennis Johnson entering second season at Woodford Co.
Former University of Kentucky star Dennis Johnson is entering his second year as head coach of the Yellowjackets and he isn’t shy about setting high goals for his squad after a 3-8 campaign in 2015.
“We need to get in the hunt for a district championship,” he said. “That’s the first step in our process to change our program around and change our culture.
“This year, fans are gonna see a team that plays with pride. I think that’s a word that gets lost a lot. They’re gonna play with pride and come out and play hard.”
The Yellowjackets will turn to quarterback Ryan Duke to lead the offense. Though the sophomore threw just three passes as a freshman, Johnson said he’s the clear choice to take the reins.
“I really like Ryan. He’s still young and has a little ways to go but I really like his football IQ,” he said. “He’s dedicated to the game, he watches a lot of film and asks the right questions.”
Johnson said Duke will be helped along by the presence of senior wide receivers Malik Richards and Domynik Johnson. Richards was an honorable-mention All-State selection last year and Johnson is expected to spend some time at running back after adding about 15 pounds of muscle during the offseason.
“If we can stay in big games until the fourth quarter we have enough playmakers that we’ll give ourselves a chance to win,” said Johnson.
Big-time transfer ruled ineligible
▪ Rondale Moore, a junior wide receiver with offers from UK, Indiana and Central Michigan, was ruled ineligible by the KHSAA after transferring from New Albany (Ind.) to Trinity. The Courier-Journal reported that Moore’s family is appealing the decision. Shamrocks Coach Bob Beatty informed reporters during the CJ’s High School Football Media Day that Moore wasn’t with the team during the preseason.
“It’s not something we worry about,” Beatty said during the event. “That’s between the KHSAA and his family. We coach what we have between the white lines, and he’s not with us right now.”
Stephen Herron, also a New Albany transfer, was ruled eligible. The sophomore defensive end has offers from UK, Louisville and Tennessee.
▪ Logan County brings the state’s longest losing streak into 2016. The Cougars have lost 33 straight games dating to 2012. Their most recent brush with glory came on Sept. 25, 2015, when they dropped a 13-12 game at Hopkins County Central (which brought a 37-game losing streak into last season before defeating Webster County in the season opener).
▪ Trinity, which won 50 consecutive games during a stretch from 1988 to 1991, owns the record for most consecutive wins in state history. Both Male and South Warren enter this season with 15-game win streaks, the longest active runs.
Coaches: Please call in
or email your results
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2016 High school football preview