Mark Story

They worried Terry Wilson was feeling blue. So some Lexington school kids took action.

Quick hitters from the quarterback infirmary:

21. Terry Wilson. The 2019 season ended for the Kentucky Wildcats starting quarterback in the second game when the Oklahoma City product suffered a torn patellar tendon in his left knee during UK’s 38-17 win over Eastern Michigan.

20. Feeling blue? Subsequently, Angela Rey-Barreau, a kindergarten teacher at Lexington’s Breckinridge Elementary School, was talking with a friend who works for UK Athletics. The subject turned to how difficult it can be for an injured athlete to keep their spirits up.

19. A plea for support. So Rey-Barreau and some of her students decided to try to boost Wilson’s morale. “I didn’t want it to be just kindergarten kids, so I sent an email to the entire (school) staff and just said, ‘Since our starting quarterback just got hurt, I think it would be nice if we sent him some get-well cards to lift his spirits,’” Rey-Barreau said Wednesday.

18. The kids come through. When all was said and done, over 150 students at Breckinridge Elementary, from pre-schoolers through fifth graders, made Wilson get-well cards. “They just loaded me down with them,” Rey-Barreau said.

17. Spirits lifted. Last Thursday, Wilson tweeted out a picture of some of the cards. “Woww (sic) ... Thank you Breckinridge Elementary,” he wrote. “I appreciate the love!”

16. Successful surgery. According to another Wilson tweet, the UK quarterback had surgery on his knee Thursday morning. “New knee, same me baby. Ready to get this rehab rolling!!” Wilson tweeted.

15. Kash Daniel. After “Twisted-Ankle Gate,” the Kentucky middle linebacker is likely going to have to start his presumptive future pro wrestling career as a “heel.”

14. Pile etiquette. I’ve done stories in the past on what goes on inside football piles. The tales of dirty deeds — eye gouging, crotch grabbing, kidney punching — are not pretty.

13. Went too far. Even by the low standards of football pile decorum, the video of Daniel appearing to twist the ankle of prone Florida quarterback Kyle Trask during Saturday night’s UF comeback win over Kentucky was not a great look.

12. Florida heartburn. In this century, Kentucky has now lost three football home games to Florida — 2003, 2017 and 2019 — in which the Wildcats led by double digits in the fourth quarter.

11. UK football worry I. Through three games, Kentucky has turned the football over more often (seven times) than any team in the SEC. The Wildcats turnover margin (minus-1) is 12th of 14 SEC teams.

10. UK football worry II. Through three games, Kentucky ranks 13th of 14 SEC teams in penalty yards (74.7 yards a game) accumulated.

9. Andre Woodson. The star quarterback of Kentucky’s 2006 and 2007 Music City Bowl-winning teams was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame last week.

8. Woodson’s wideouts. It was a very nice touch that former Kentucky wide receivers Keenan Burton, Steve Johnson and Dicky Lyons Jr. all came to Lexington to see their former QB honored.

7. Juan Portela. In last Friday’s newspaper, I told you the story of Portela, the unlikely quarterbacking hero of Kentucky’s 31-3 pasting of Florida in Gainesville in 1979. After a trying life, Portela returned last weekend to Lexington for the first time since his playing days ended in 1980 to see UK play UF.

6. “Crazy how much ... has changed.” “It was just a great reunion, man. It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Portela, a Miami resident, Wednesday. “It’s crazy how much Lexington has changed, the (UK) campus, the medical buildings. And I couldn’t believe the (renovated UK football) stadium.”

5. Old teammates. Chris Jones, Lester Boyd, Dave Lyons, Tommy Griggs and Ben Johnson were just some of the guys Portela played with at Kentucky that he got to see.

Juan Portela passing.JPG
University of Kentucky quarterback Juan Portela threw downfield during the Cats’ 20-14 win over Bowling Green on Nov. 3, 1979, at Commonwealth Stadium. Ron Garrison

4. A place-kicker’s psyche. Entering Saturday’s SEC road opener at Mississippi State, one of Kentucky’s concerns has to be how Chance Poore bounces back. The redshirt freshman missed a 35-yard field goal that would have put UK ahead of Florida inside the final minute last week.

3. Knows the feeling. In the 1979 UK season opener against Miami (Ohio), sophomore Tommy Griggs had a 34-yard field goal to win the game. It missed left.

LEX_190914UKvsFL12280MM.JPG
Kentucky place-kicker Chance Poore (12) missed a 35-yard field goal inside the game’s final minute that would have put the Wildcats ahead of Florida 24-22 last week. Instead, UF beat UK 29-21. Mark Mahan

2. Bouncing back. Griggs never got to attempt another game-winning kick at UK. He did go on to produce a fine career, leading the Wildcats in scoring in both 1980 and ‘81.

1. Advice for Poore. I asked Griggs this week what he would tell the current UK place-kicker about overcoming a crucial miss. “You somehow have to put it behind you,” Griggs said. “It’s not easy. But you just have to concentrate on your next kick.”

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Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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