Archive for August, 2010

Friday football digest, week 2

It’s bowl week in the Advoplex, time to pack a sack lunch and head to Lincoln County tonight and to Danville tomorrow for the annual early-season doubleheaders.

The games — and the gates — are enhanced by the presence of each host team’s natural rival in the opposite game, but the matchups on this year’s local bowl schedule are mostly unfamiliar:

  • Death Valley Bowl at Lincoln County: Rowan County vs. Lincoln County, 6 p.m.; East Jessamine vs. Garrard County, 8:30 p.m.
  • Bob Allen Pigskin Classic at Danville: Franklin County vs. Boyle County, 5:30 p.m.; Rockcastle County vs. Danville, 8 p.m.

It’s possible that only one of the above games matches two teams that have played each other before. We know that Rowan and Lincoln have never played, likewise East Jessamine and Garrard. And the Advocate’s records don’t show any previous games between Boyle and Franklin, though those records are incomplete.

That leaves Rockcastle and Danville, who will play for the sixth time Saturday. The Rockets haven’t beaten Danville in any of the previous five meetings — and haven’t scored a single point in the last three, the most recent of which was at the same bowl in 2005, when Danville won 34-0.

* * *

Speaking of Danville, the Admirals are one of two local teams that turned our heads with their week 1 successes. Their win over Mason County was an impressive showing against a quality opponent, the kind of showing that I thought Danville would have in it later in the season, but not on opening night and not against that kind of team.

The other team is Mercer County, which got its season off on the right foot with a win over LaRue County in Campbellsville’s bowl. Some of the Titans indicated to me last Friday that they thought I undersold them when I picked them to go 2-8, and I told them I’d be happy to see them prove me wrong. Their win over LaRue was a good start, and they’ve got a decent shot to go 2-0 with a win over Paul Dunbar on Saturday.

* * *

The Danville and Mercer wins left me with a 3-2 record for my first week of predictions, but I can live with that. Here are the week 2 picks:

  • Rowan County over Lincoln County.
  • East Jessamine over Garrard County.
  • Perry County Central over Casey County.
  • Boyle County over Franklin County (Saturday).
  • Danville over Rockcastle County (Saturday).
  • Mercer County over Paul Dunbar (Saturday).
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Rebels’ rug is ready

It may be fake grass, but it’s a real big deal at Boyle County, where there won’t be any more poor field conditions at Rebel Stadium for the forseeable future.

The installation of artificial turf has been completed, and the field is already being put to good use. Practices began on the field Monday, and the boys soccer team played the first two contests on the new surface Tuesday and Thursday.

The stadium will host games by Boyle’s football, soccer and softball teams. It’s the first high school stadium in our area to have artificial turf, and the first in central Kentucky outside Lexington.

Boyle’s girls soccer team will play its first home game on turf Monday against Mercer County. The Boyle football team will get its chance Sept. 17, also against Mercer.

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Saturday morning game stories return to amnews.com

Once again this season, the Advocate sports staff’s coverage of Friday night football can be found online Saturday mornings at amnews.com.

Stories from the games we staff will be available on Saturday mornings thanks to the tireless work of webmaster Gary Moyers. (Sleep when you’re dead, Gary!) This has grown into a popular feature of our website over the past couple of years, and we hope you’ll make it so again in 2010.

Before the games, look for weekly previews of Casey County, Garrard County, Lincoln County and Mercer County games on Wednesdays, while previews for Boyle County and Danville games will appear on Thursdays.

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Harp gets 300th victory

Danville coach Sam Harp earned his 300th career victory tonight when the Admirals opened their season with a 21-14 win over Mason County at Admiral Stadium.

Harp became only the sixth Kentucky coach to win 300 games. His career record is now 300-94, one game into his 31st season. Here is the updated list of the state’s winningest coaches:

  • 345 — Bob Schneider, Newport Central Catholic, 44 seasons.
  • 333 — Dudley Hilton, Bell County/Bourbon County, 35 seasons.
  • 327 — Phillip Haywood, Belfry, 36 seasons.
  • 317 — Bob Redman, Male, 35 seasons.
  • 310 — Mike Glaser, St. Xavier, 28 seasons.
  • 300 — Sam Harp, Calloway County/Anderson County/Danville, 31 seasons.

See amnews.com and Sunday’s Advocate for full coverage of Harp’s milestone victory.

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Friday football digest, week 1

It’s kickoff time at last, as another season of high school football gets under way only a few hours from now. Four of the six Advocate-area teams launch their seasons tonight and another gets started Saturday.

Last year marked the first time in decades that such a large percentage of local teams had a losing record, as five of the six teams finished under .500. It also marked the first time since 2003 that a local team won a state championship, as Boyle County won the Class 4A championship.

The myriad of questions surrounding this season will be answered over the next 2 1/2 months, but for now we’ll kick off with a few notes from close to home and a little farther away:

  • In case you missed the bitter ending to Danville’s 2009 season or the Advocate’s special section on coach Sam Harp this week, Harp needs only one win to become the sixth coach to win 300 games in Kentucky. My guess is the Admirals won’t make him wait long.
  • Boyle County will become the first area team to play its home games on artificial turf, which has been installed at Rebel Stadium. The Rebels held a preseason scrimmage on the turf at Centre College’s Farris Stadium, but their field will be ready in plenty of time for their home opener Sept. 17 against Mercer County. In fact, it’s expected to be ready for the Boyle soccer teams, which will once again share the facility with the football team, beginning next week.
  • Mercer County will play almost as many games as Boyle on turf, as the Titans will play four of their first five games on fake grass, including their bowl game Saturday at Campbellsville, two games in Lexington and the game at Boyle.
  • Garrard County has opened a new school, but football fans will be watching the Golden Lions at the same address where they’ve played since the 1960s. Dyehouse Stadium, which sits on the campus of what is now Garrard Middle School, will continue to host Garrard games and practices for the next few years.
  • Casey County games weren’t broadcast on local radio last season, but they will be broadcast online for the first time this season. The games can be heard on www.radiolibertyky.com, an Internet-only station that recently went online. Former Casey County running back Doug Tarter will do play-by-play, and former Casey County News sports writer and fellow Cincinnati Reds diehard Jeff Bastin will handle color for the games each week.
  • Other area teams will be broadcast on the same outlets where they have been for the last few years: Boyle County, WRNZ-FM (105.1) and hometownlive.net; Danville, WHIR-AM (1230) and hometownlive.net; Garrard County, WRNZ-FM (105.1) and hometownlive.net (Garrard games are delayed on radio until about 10 p.m. when they conflict with a Boyle game, but they’re still live online); Lincoln County, WPBK-FM (102.9) and wpbkfm.com; Mercer County, WHBN-AM (1420) and hometownlive.net.
  • The area’s two bowl doubleheaders will be played next week. Lincoln County’s Death Valley Bowl is Aug. 24 (Rowan County vs. Lincoln, East Jessamine vs. Garrard County), and Danville will host the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic on Aug. 25 (Franklin County vs. Boyle County, Rockcastle County vs. Danville).
  • Former Boyle quarterback Brandon Smith is back in high school football, nearly six years after ending a stellar playing career. Smith is an assistant coach at South Warren, a Warren County school that opened this month and will play a junior varsity scheduled this season before going varsity in 2011.
  • South Warren is one of two new schools you’ll see on score lists this fall. The other is Collins, a new Shelby County school named for former Gov. Martha Layne Collins. Splitting Shelby County, which was previously in Class 6A, left the county with two 4A schools.

Finally, I’ll kick off my season with my predictions for week one:

  • Anderson County over Garrard County.
  • Boyle County over Johnson Central.
  • Casey County over Caverna.
  • Mason County over Danville.
  • LaRue County over Mercer County (Saturday).
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Previews across Kentucky

With football season fast approaching, you need to bone up on your favorite team — or the teams your favorite team will play. With that in mind, I’ve scoured the websites of daily newspapers and other media in search of as many Kentucky high school football previews as I can find.

Sadly, not every newspaper makes its preview easily available online. But I’ve provided links below to the ones that are at least somewhat easy to find, and I’ll add more later if I can find them:

  • The Advocate-Messenger (Boyle County, Casey County, Danville, Garrard County, Lincoln County, Mercer County).
    Bluegrasspreps.com (something for everyone, with at least a few paragraphs about every team in Kentucky; if the Advocate doesn’t cover the team you’re looking for, start here; membership may be required).
    Lexington Herald-Leader (focuses on Lexington schools, with information about other Bluegrass-area teams and overviews of top teams and players in Kentucky).
    The Courier-Journal (focuses on Louisville-area teams, with overviews of top teams and players in Kentucky).
    The Kentucky Enquirer (northern Kentucky teams).
    Commonwealth-Journal (Pulaski County teams; stories archived at this page).
    The Richmond Register (Madison County teams; stories archived at this page).
    Maysville Ledger-Independent (Mason County, Fleming County, Lewis County, Bracken County; .html images of section pages).
    The Gleaner (Henderson County, Union County, Webster County; stories archived on this page).
    The Paducah Sun (Jackson Purchase-area teams including Paducah Tilghman, Lone Oak, Mayfield; stories are archived on this page; subscription required).
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“The Boys of Fall”

A new football season begins Friday with a new anthem, one that is sure to echo through high school stadiums for years to come.

“The Boys of Fall” is the current single by country megastar Kenny Chesney, and it has already struck a chord with current and former high school players and fans of the game in small towns from coast to coast.

Last week, Peter Cooper of The Tennessean in Nashville reported that the song is among the 15 most-played songs on country radio, and it’s sure to be No. 1 on the playlist in locker rooms and on stadium public-address systems beginning Friday night.

The song was written by Dave Turnbull and Casey Beathard, the latter of whom is the son of former NFL general manager Bobby Beathard, who won four Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. “The Boys of Fall” paints a colorful picture of what it means to play football in a small town, where the game means so much and the world revolves around Friday nights. The players are the kings of their school, a band of brothers who bonded in practices under the hot summer sun and who forever have each other’s backs as a result.

In an interview with theboot.com, Beathard said, “It was not so much about football as much as we were talking about life. I always coordinate football with life anyway — leaning on each other and all that stuff you face in life. There’s not a small town — or any town — in this country that doesn’t get it. This is where football came from. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a big song about football until now.

Chesney apparently jumped at the chance to record the song when it was pitched to him, and he made it the first single from his upcoming “Hemingway’s Whiskey” album. He has made a pretty good living over the years singing about better days gone by (“I Go Back” and “Young,” for example), and even though I consider myself well-versed in both kinds of music — country and western — I’m not his biggest fan. In some ways “The Boys of Fall” isn’t much different from his other nostaglic tunes, but the lyrics of this song are mostly strong, the deliver is good, and it’s easy to see why it will resonate with young and old men who have played high school football — and even with those of us on the fringes of the game.

Chesney, who played wide receiver for his high school in east Tennessee, loves him some football, and this isn’t his first song about the high school game. He recorded “Never Gonna Feel That Way Again” on the 2002 album “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem,” though I must admit I haven’t heard that song, which wasn’t released as a single.

This song is a bona fide hit, soaring up the charts and being downloaded and record rates. There is an eight-minute video featuring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, as well as other recognizable gridiron legends from John Madden and Joe Namath to Paul “Bear” Bryant and Steve Spurrier. And soon there will be a Chesney-produced documentary that he told CMT.com will be about the lessons learned from high school football.

But while “The Boys of Fall” will fade out of radio rotation within a few weeks, those of who populate the stadiums on Friday nights are sure to hear it throughout this season and seasons to come until we’re good and sick of it. Every team will play it as “their song,” not realizing that almost every other team is doing the same thing. So I’m asking for is a little moderation. It’s a good song about a game that hasn’t been the subject of many songs, but like a good play, it can be called too many times; here’s hoping we don’t run it until isn’t effective any more.

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Danville soccer team earns preseason ranking

Soccer season opens today with one area team ranked in the preseason boys poll. Danville, which made the state final four for the first time last season, is ranked 15th in the coaches poll. The Admirals went 18-4-3 last season, ending their season with a 2-1 loss to Greenwood in the state semifinals.

The girls coaches did not vote on a preseason poll, but it’s a good bet that Boyle County would be ranked if there was one. The Lady Rebels were the area’s winningest team last year at 19-4-1, and they return a wealth of talent.

Boyle’s girls have an interesting opener Tuesday night against perennial power Woodford County in the first of a three-game round-robin at Henry Clay, while Danville’s boys open their season Saturday at Bourbon County.

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… and we’re back!

The thermometer still screams summer, but the fall sports season is already under way, so it’s time for the blog to come out of hibernation.

Golf season opened last Monday and volleyball gets going this Monday, followed by soccer on Aug. 16, football on Aug. 20 and cross country on Aug. 23. And I’m sure every athlete who is practicing outdoors shares my sentiment that cooler weather can’t get here soon enough. It’s a pretty good bet that some golf matches and football and soccer practices will be affected in the coming week if the forecast proves true.

So I’ll go back to the pup tent I’ve pitched over top of the air conditioning vent in the corner of the living room for a little longer, and I’ll leave you with this list of first-year fall sports coaches at Advocate-area schools:

  • Boyle County: Chris LeMonds, athletic director; Megan Gatewood, volleyball.
  • Casey County: Marshall Forbes, boys golf; Veronica Sengkhamyong, volleyball.
  • Garrard County: Brad Sizemore, cross country.
  • Lincoln County: Lacey Ledford, cross country; Jon Smith, girls soccer.
  • Mercer County: Paul Brooks, girls soccer.
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