By DOUG EADS
Both the Pulaski County Maroons and Southwestern Warriors come into the 2019 high school football season with a ton of aspirations, with each club being bonafide district and regional title contenders.
On Friday night in the annual Don Franklin Bowl, both Johnny Hines and Jason Foley will know exactly where their clubs stand at the end of the night real fast, as the Maroons and Warriors have two outstanding opponents waiting in the wins to kick off the ’19 high school football season.
Simply, to say that both the Maroons and Warriors have stern tests awaiting them in their season openers would be a gross understatement.
In game one on Friday night at Southwestern’s Reservation, Hines and the Pulaski County Maroons will take on Lexington Catholic and one of the top quarterbacks in all of America (Class of 2020) in Beau Allen — a University of Kentucky football commit.
In game two in the nightcap, the Jason Foley era gets underway at Southwestern, as the Warriors new coach will line his team up against a perennial powerhouse from mountains in the Belfry Pirates.
Wow, what a bowl game doubleheader to kick off the 2019 high school football season.
In game one, Hines and crew will be tested right out of the gate by the Knights and Allen, while life without All-State quarterback Wiley Cain begins for PC, as newcomer — sophomore quarterback Drew Polston — will take over the controls of the Maroon offense.
“Lexington Catholic is a perennial football powerhouse, and they’ve won several state championships over the years,” stated Hines earlier this week.
“They’re one of the favorites in Class 4 A this year as well, and in quarterback Beau Allen, you’ve got the number one candidate for Mr. Football as we go into this season, so they’ve got a lot of things going for them headed into this year,” added the PC head coach.
As for Foley, he returns to the area after a very successful two-year stint as the head coach at Taylor County.
Before that, he was the head coach at Northern Middle School — the feeder school into Pulaski County High School — where he led the Maroons to four middle school state titles.
In facing a team like Belfry and a coach like Philip Haywood, Foley says he and his players fully understand just what a tall order is standing in front of them on Friday evening.
“We’re excited to get this first game going, and we’ve definitely got a very tough opponent right out of the gate,” Foley pointed out.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Belfry and coach (Philip) Haywood and their program,” added the Southwestern head coach. “We know that it’s going to be a big challenge, but we’re ready to get the season started.”
As for the Don Franklin Family of Dealerships is concerned, General Manager of the Chevrolet-GM store in Somerset — Joe Cummins — says the dealership is very proud to sponsor such a high quality bowl, and this is just another venue that his company loves to be involved with, in an effort to keep reaching out to our local community in any way possible.
“To see the magnitude of this bowl game, and to see the kind of teams that are coming in to play in our bowl game is just awesome,” stated Cummins.
“You talk about Lexington Catholic and you talk about Belfry, and those are just two powerhouse schools as we all know,” Cummins added. “We hope that our schools here locally come out victorious in these games and get the season off to a good start. I mean this is like the Daytona 500 for us race fans, in that the NASCAR season starts off with their super bowl in that race. To start the high school football season off with a pair of games like this is to me at least, it’s like starting the season off with a pair of championship games.”
You can listen to your only local source on the radio of Pulaski County and Southwestern this season, as yours truly and Melanie Hines will be bringing you all of the exciting action of both games from the Don Franklin Bowl this Friday evening on THE LAKE, LAKE 102.3 FM.
Kickoff for game one — PC vs. Lexington Catholic — is set to get underway at 6 p.m., and our coverage will get underway at 5:45 p.m. with our pregame show.