Scott County’s goal is to be good in November. It’s a goal the Cardinals have achieved with great frequency lately.
In the last 10 seasons, Scott County reached at least the regional championship eight times. That stretch includes a victory in the 2013 state finals, the only such win in the state’s biggest division of play by a non-Louisville school in the last 20 years.
That’s a feat this year’s squad could be capable of matching. The Cards return eight defensive starters from a team that was one two-point conversion stop away from playing in the state finals last season. Five starters are back on offense.
Among the two-way returnees is Glenn Covington, a senior cornerback and wide receiver who was huge on both sides of the ball in Scott County’s regional win over previously-undefeated Ryle in 2016. He scored the go-ahead two-point conversion and grabbed the clinching interception in the end zone with about 20 seconds left in that contest.
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Bryan Hudson is another seasoned Cardinal who will play both ways on the line. The junior’s being recruiting as an offensive tackle and has over a dozen scholarship offers, including UK, Louisville, Alabama, Florida, LSU and Ohio State.
Hudson is the only returning starter on the offensive line but he suspects newcomers won’t have a lot of trouble maturing.
“Our defense is gonna be really, really good,” Hudson said. “We’re solid right now in practice so far. I think towards the end of this season our offensive line’s gonna be really good.”
Josh Davis, a senior in his third season as Scott County’s starting quarterback, agreed with that assessment.
“Once they get that first or second game under their belts they’re gonna be fine,” said Davis, who completed 57 of 97 pass attempts last year for 1,223 yards. He threw 14 touchdowns and only one interception.
Brice Fryman led Scott County in rushing (1,014 yards) and scoring (19 total TDs) last year. The senior, who likely will play college baseball, is excited to play Lafayette in Lexington on Aug. 25; it was the Generals who ended Scott County’s season last November.
The Cards open with North Bullitt at home before taking on Lafayette. They’ll host Highlands and Cincinnati Moeller the next two weeks before traveling to Cincinnati La Salle on Sept. 15. District opponents — Bryan Station, Henry Clay, Frederick Douglass and Paul Laurence Dunbar — await after that before the regular season finishes at Pleasure Ridge Park on Oct. 20.
Coach Jim McKee, now in his 21st season with the program, doesn’t think it’s fair to isolate any single non-district game as must-see because “if I did that obviously it would be unfair to any game I didn’t mark.” Using them to prepare for the district slate is what’s most important, he said.
Scott County has swept Class 6A, District 7 each of the last two seasons and has lost one district game in the previous seven seasons. If the wealth of experience coming back for the Cardinals isn’t enough reason to pick them to win another district title, the redistribution of talent in Lexington with the addition of Douglass is another.
Coaches tabbed Scott County as the No. 3 team in Class 6A coming into the season. If it were to reach the state semifinals again, it’s likely that one of either Male, PRP or St. Xavier will loom. It’s an assumed lock that defending champion Trinity will be waiting in the finals for whoever comes out of the “east.”
Whichever team that ends up being will be one of the first to battle for a championship in Lexington since 1976. That trip is much shorter from Georgetown than the trip to Bowling Green, where the finals were held for the last eight seasons.
And to some, the Wildcats’ turf just means more.
“Whenever you’re down there on the field, looking up into the stands it’s like, ‘Holy crap, where am I even at?’” Davis said of UK’s Kroger Field. “So getting a chance to play there would be a dream come true for a Kentucky kid growing up.”
(All times p.m.; home games in capital letters)
Aug. 18: NORTH BULLITT, 7:30
Aug. 25: at Lafayette, 9
Sept. 1: HIGHLANDS, 7:30
Sept. 8: CINCINNATI MOELLER, 7:30
Sept. 15: At Cincinnati La Salle, 7:30
Sept. 22: BRYAN STATION, 7:30
Sept. 29: at Henry Clay, 7:30
Oct. 6: FREDERICK DOUGLASS, 7:30
Oct. 13: at Paul Laurence Dunbar, 7:30
Oct. 20: at Pleasure Ridge Park, 7:30