Warriors top Maroons in rematch, 17-7

Pulaski County’s Evan Mercer fights for additional yardage in the Maroons game against Southwestern. The Warriors scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in Friday’s Class 5 A playoff game between the two rivals, as Southwestern topped PC for the second time in three weeks with a hard-fought, 17-7 victory.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

Despite the fact Southwestern already owned a victory over its arch-rival Pulaski County — 15-7 in overtime two weeks ago — the Warriors came into Friday night’s Class 5 A playoff opener mired in a three-game losing streak to PC in the playoffs.

However, that all changed thanks to the final 12 minutes in Friday’s clash.

With the two teams knotted up at 7-7 in the fourth period, Max Brainard booted a field goal and Giddeon Brainard added the back breaker, rushing for a huge, big-time touchdown to put this one away for the Warriors, as Southwestern topped Pulaski County for the second time in two weeks with a hard-fought, 17-7 win over the Maroons.



When the two clubs met two weeks ago, the Maroons held a slim, 16-14 advantage over the Warriors all-time in this series.

After Friday night, Southwestern had knotted things up at 16-16 all-time in games between these two fierce rivals, but more importantly, Jason Foley’s club had punched its ticket to next week’s district championship game.

Tanner Wright put the Warriors on the board first in this playoff rematch, thanks to a 15-yard run straight up the gut early in the second frame.

The Warriors took that 7-0 lead into the intermission, thanks in large part to Pulaski County’s struggles on offense.

The Maroons were inside the red-zone on two occasions in the opening half of play, yet came away with ZERO points. And that would come back to haunt Johnny Hines and crew.

Missing its starting quarterback — Drew Polston — along with the top two receiving targets — Jake Sloan and Grant Oaks — the  PC offense struggled for much of the game.

Yet, the Maroons had their chances.

A Tristan Cox 3-yard run for a score late in the third period knotted this one up at 7-7 headed into the fourth period of play.



In that final frame however, thanks to a huge play on special teams, it was a 26-yard field goal from Max Brainard that put Southwestern back out in front of the Maroons at 10-7 early in the final stanza.

Later in the frame, it was Cox picking off a pass from Southwestern quarterback Blake Burton, setting up the Maroons with a first and ten at the Warrior 43-yard line.

However, PC couldn’t punch it in due to yet another missed opportunity inside the red zone.

And, it would be Giddeon Brainard who would make the Maroons pay big-time for their offensive woes.

The Southwestern running back broke through a hole and sped away from the Maroons defense for an 83-yard touchdown scamper late in the contest, that all but put this one away for the Warriors.

PC got the ball back but couldn’t move it, and the Warriors — for the second time in two weeks — had defeated Pulaski County on the Maroons home turf, this time by a final count of 17-7 with the stakes much higher.

With the loss, Pulaski County finished the 2019 season with a 7-4 record, by losing its final three games of the season.

For the Warriors, Southwestern ran its record to 6-5 on the year, and won its fourth game in a row.



Southwestern advances to the district title game with the win, and the Warriors will be on the road again next Friday night playing for a district championship against the Whitley County Colonels in Williamsburg.

Whitley County won its opening round game of the Class 5 A playoffs last night with a 21-20 victory over North Laurel.



Warriors blow out Madison Central 37-6

Southwestern’s Mason Hibbard hauls in one of his three receptions on Friday night, which included a touchdown. The Warriors ran their winning streak to three games in a row, with a 37-6 win over Madison Central. On Friday night, Southwestern will have a much-anticipated rematch with arch-rival Pulaski County in the opening round of the Class 5 A playoffs.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

Most all football coaches will tell you they want their team to be playing its best when the playoffs begin.

Well, mission accomplished for the Southwestern Warriors.

Almost a month ago, Jason Foley’s club was hip deep in a sea of mediocrity with a sub-par 2-5 record.



Today as the post season is getting set to get underway, the blue and orange Warriors are red-hot.

Southwestern won its third game in a row last Friday night, with an impressive, 37-6 beatdown over visiting Madison Central.

And, it was a complete team effort.

Quarterback Blake Burton connected on 8-13 passes for 115 yards, which included a TD pass to wide out Mason Hibbard.

Tanner Wright scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, gaining 129 yards on only 5 carries.

Austin Barnes and Chase Doan also scored TD’s on the ground, while Hibbard led the Warriors in receiving with 3 catches for 74 yards and a TD.

This week, the Warriors will open the Class 5 A playoffs and will seek to win their fourth game in a row, but it won’t be easy.

Southwestern will travel across town to take on arch-rival Pulaski County — a Maroon team that Foley and crew just defeated less than a couple of weeks ago in overtime by a final score of 15-7.



PC leads the all-time series over the Warriors at 16-15, and the Maroons are 3-1 all-time against Southwestern in the playoffs, taking down Southwestern in 2014, ’16, and ’18 in regional title games.

Can the Warriors make it four wins in a row and end their playoff skid against PC, or will the Maroons continue their dominance over Southwestern in the post season?

Stay tuned Friday night for the answers to the above questions in what should be a great playoff game between two outstanding teams.

If you can’t make it to the game at PC Field, tune in to iHeartRadio of Somerset on LAKE 102.3 FM, as yours truly and Adam Bray will have all of the coverage, beginning with our pregame show beginning at 7:15 p.m.



Warriors pull off upset, take down PC 15-7 in overtime

Southwestern head coach Jason Foley sends in a play to Xavier Streeter during a game earlier this season. On Friday night, Streeter hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Burton. The Warriors upset arch-rival Pulaski County last Friday, defeating the Maroons 15-7 in overtime.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

It’s been called one of the most — if not the best — high school football rivalries in the state of Kentucky, and that was never more apparent than last Friday night.

Southwestern and Pulaski County added another historic chapter in this most compelling rivalry in a game that was an instant classic.

This one had a little bit of everything, but when the dust had settled, it was Jason Foley’s Southwestern team upending and upsetting homestanding Pulaski County by a final count of 15-7 in overtime.



This one turned out to be a defensive struggle, with both teams having their fair share of difficulties inside the red zone.

Southwestern drew first blood in this one, thanks to a 34-yard TD pass from quarterback Blake Burton to senior wide receiver Xavier Streeter on the first drive of the football game.

Devin Tolson would help PC fight back, scoring on a 5-yard run late in the first period tying this one up at 7-7, and that would be it for scoring in this one until overtime.

In that extra session, Tanner Wright’s 1-yard run on fourth and goal gave the Warriors a 13-7 lead, and Giddeon Brainard followed that up with a two-point conversion run for a 15-7 lead.

At that point, the Warrior ‘D’ stepped up, holding PC on downs on a fourth and goal pass from Kaleb Adams intended for Jake Sloan that fell to the ground.

At that point, a wild celebration ensued for a Southwestern team that improved to 4-5 on the year with the win, while PC had its seven-game winning streak snapped, as the Maroons fell to 7-2 on the year with the gut-wrenching defeat.

PC quarterback Drew Polston was knocked out of the contest late in the first half, but he completed 6-9 passes through the air for 74 yards before leaving the contest.

Adams led PC with 32 yards rushing on six attempts, while Grant Oaks — who also left the game with an injury — led the Maroons with 3 catches for 46 yards.



Meanwhile, the Warriors were led on the ground by Wright, who rushed for a game-high 96 yards on 13 carries and a TD, which turned out to be the game winner.

Burton meanwhile connected on 10-16 pass attempts through the air for 109 yards and a TD pass.

With the win, Southwestern closed the gap with Pulaski County in the all-time series, with the Maroons still holding a slim, 16-15 advantage over the Warriors in 31 games between the two.

The Warriors will close out the regular season on Friday night at home against Madison Central, while the Maroons will host Tates Creek in their regular season finale.

Both games are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the PC–Tates creek game, tune in to LAKE 102.3 FM, as yours truly and Adam Bray will have the call, beginning with the pregame show at 7:15 p.m.



Warriors, Maroons renew a great rivalry

Southwestern running back Chase Doan leads the Warriors with 634 yards rushing and seven TD’s this season. He is seen here running for a big gain in a game against South Laurel last week. On Friday night, Doan and the Warriors will face arch-rival Pulaski County — 7-1 on the season — on the Maroons home turf.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

One of the best rivalries in the state of Kentucky in high school football renews on Friday night at PC Field, as the homestanding 7-1 Pulaski County Maroons will square off against arch-rival Southwestern.

The Warriors are 3-5 on the season, but are coming into tomorrow night’s contest with some much-needed momentum, coming off of last week’s 38-20 win over South Laurel.

This has been a great rivalry throughout the years, as PC has won 9 of the last 13 meetings, including last season’s win at Southwestern, and the regional title game at Pulaski County.



Thanks to those two wins by the Maroons last year, Pulaski County leads the all-time series over Southwestern by a 16-14 margin heading into this week’s game.

Warrior head coach Jason Foley — his first year as a head coach in this rivalry — says he knows ahead of time just how big a challenge Friday night’s game with Pulaski County is going to be for his team.

“Pulaski County has a very solid veteran and senior laden team,” stated Foley.

“They have had a good year up to this point, and they have won some tight games,” added the Warrior head coach. “Defensively, they are strong in the box with their ‘D’ line and linebackers leading the way. Offensively, their passing game is strong, with long, tall receivers that can make plays vertically and across the middle of the field as well.”

The Maroons have had the best in this series of late over Southwestern, knocking off the Warriors in regional championship games in 2014, 2016, and again last season in 2018.

In 2014, Southwestern defeated Pulaski County in the regular season, but the Maroons avenged that loss five weeks later in the regional title game on their way to a Class 5 A State Football Championship.

PC head coach Johnny Hines is 13-11 all-time as the Maroons head coach in this series, and he says when these two get together, one thing is for certain — throw the records out the proverbial window.

“Alabama and Auburn have ‘The Iron Bowl’, Michigan has Ohio State, USC has Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas have ‘The Red River War’, and the ‘Sunshine State’ has Florida verses Florida State,” pointed out coach Hines. “This game is all of that and more in south central Kentucky.”



“This game is always the game of the year,” Hines continued. “Southwestern is an immensely talented team, and they always are. The have great players and they will come over here on Friday night planning on winning this game. This is one of the greatest high school football rivalries around, and it’s been great to have been part of it for the past 25 years.”

Kickoff for the Pulaski County — Southwestern football game is slated to get underway from PC Field on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the game, yours truly and Adam Bray will have all of the coverage on LAKE 102.3 FM, with our pregame coverage getting underway at 7:15 p.m.



Southwestern’s Cundiff signs with Lindsey Wilson

Southwestern senior Regi Cundiff, front row second from left, signed Monday morning to play her collegiate basketball at Lindsey Wilson College next year. Pictured front row left to right are Cundiff’s mother Tish, Cundiff, father Mark Cundiff, and brother Payton Cundiff. Back row left to right are current Southwestern head coach Junior Molden, Lindsey Wilson head women’s coach John Wethington, and former Lady Warrior head coach and current Southwestern assistant principal Stephen Butcher.
Photo by David Rogers

By DOUG EADS

The 2019-’20 girl’s high school basketball season is still almost two months away, but current Southwestern senior Regi Cundiff has already taken care of some business, albeit off the court.

On Monday morning in front of friends, family, and teammates, Cundiff signed her name to an official letter of intent and will be playing her collegiate basketball for Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky next season.

Lady Raiders head coach John Wethington — a good friend of mine and a former classmate from Casey County High School — couldn’t hold back his enthusiasm when talking about Cundiff, and what her signing means to his outstanding program.



“Regi’s just a great talent, and anyone with the athleticism that she has — that’s the thing that really enticed us to want to sign her,” pointed out the long-time Lindsey Wilson head coach.

“You can play her at two or three different spots, and she can shoot the ball from the outside,” Wethington added. “She can go down and post up, but we like her to fit in with our style of play which is run and gun.”

Cundiff is coming off a great junior season — a season that saw her help Southwestern to a 12th Regional championship and a runner-up finish in the Girl’s Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament last March at Rupp Arena, helping the Lady Warriors to a 27-6 season.

Cundiff led Southwestern in both scoring and rebounding last year, averaging 14.4 points per contest, while averaging 5.4 rebounds per game.

She shot 51.2 percent from the field, connecting on 154 of 301 field goal attempts, making her one of the top players in the 12th Region last season as a junior.

For Cundiff, going to Lindsey Wilson was a no-brainer, considering the fact that her older brother Payton Cundiff will be playing for the Blue Raiders later this season as a red-shirt freshman.

“I knew I wanted to be close to home, and I wanted to be at a tight-knit college,” pointed out Cundiff.

“They really have a family type energy, and it seems that all their athletes are just really close,” added the Southwestern senior. “My brother Payton is my best friend, and I love being around him. We get along all the time now — it used to wasn’t that way. It would have definitely been weird not going to school with him.”



As for the new Southwestern head basketball coach, Junior Molden is getting ready to take over the helm of the Lady Warrior basketball program for Stephen Butcher, who left after taking the Lady Warriors to the state tourney finals last season to move into administration at Southwestern as an assistant principal.

Despite being a new head coach at Southwestern, Molden is very familiar with Cundiff and what she can do on the basketball court.

Molden has worked with the Southwestern senior for several years, dating all the way back to her early days in middle school, and the first-year Lady Warrior head coach says he believes Lindsey Wilson got an absolute steal with Cundiff’s signing on Monday.

“She had a great summer, and we really hit it off together really well, and I expect her to have a big senior season — I really do,” stated Molden.

“She’s focused every day in conditioning, and I think a lot of Regi, and I’ve been around the family for many years,” added the Lady Warrior head coach. “She’s going to be an outstanding player in the years to come for Lindsey Wilson.”

Cundiff and the Lady Warriors will tip off the 2019-’20 high school season playing on the road at North Laurel on December 5th.



Warriors will try to bounce back at Clark County

Southwestern first-year head coach Jason Foley gives instructions to quarterback Xavier Streeter during the Warriors 44-6 loss last Friday night to Wayne County. The Warriors — now 1-3 on the season — will try to bounce back this week at George Rogers Clark.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

By DOUG EADS

Southwestern head football coach Jason Foley stated earlier last week that his club was going through its first real bout of adversity this season, with several key players out last week in the Warriors game against Wayne County.

Now, that adversity has even grown even stronger.

The visiting Cardinals rolled into The Reservation last Friday night and dump-trucked the Warriors, taking down Southwestern by a 44-6 margin.



Quarterback Brody Weaver completed 9-15 pass attempts for 160 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Braedon Sloan made a huge impact for Wayne County, rushing for 127 yards and three TD’s in the rout of the Warriors.

And, it doesn’t get any easier for Southwestern this week.

The Warriors travel to Winchester on Friday evening to take on another set of Cardinals — in George Rogers Clark.

George Rogers Clark is 2-1 on the year, and is coming off of last week’s impressive, 42-22 win at Montgomery County, giving the Cards a modest, two-game winning streak.

Southwestern meanwhile — with running backs Austin Barnes, Connor Crisp, and Korbyn Goff on the shelf last week — struggled mightily against Wayne County to get anything going offensively.

Chase Doan ran for 25 yards on 10 carries, and his 23-yard TD pass from quarterback Xavier Streeter inside the game’s final minute was the only thing that kept the Warriors from being shutout by Wayne County.

The Warriors need a win desperately, and their next chance comes this Friday evening in Winchester against another set of Cardinals.

Kickoff for the game is slated to get underway at 7:30 p.m.





Warriors fall to Knox Central 22-7

Freshman running back Korbyn Goff looks for an open space as he runs downfield in last Friday night’s game at Knox Central. The homestanding Panthers notched their first win of the season at Southwestern’s expense, running past the Warriors for a 22-7 victory.
Photo by Nick Hibbard

Early on, things looked pretty good for Southwestern last Friday night.

The Warriors led homestanding and winless Knox Central by an early, 7-0 margin, but that’s when all that was good went south, and in a hurry for Jason Foley and company.

One of Southwestern’s leaders — Austin Barnes — was ejected during the first drive of the game, and that would be a tell-tale sign of things to come for the blue and orange.

The Warriors only managed 111 yards rushing in this one, and that lone score early would come on a 27-yard strike from quarterback Blake Burton to Xavier Streeter.



After that, this one was all Knox Central.

The Panthers would rally to score 22 unanswered points the rest of the way, and as a result, Southwestern would leave Barbourville with a 1-2 season record in a very disappointing loss.

For the game, running back Chase Doan led the Southwestern rushing attack with 71 yards, while Burton would hit on 11-19 pass attempts for 79 yards, but it would not be enough on this night.

Southwestern will return home this Friday night, but the task at hand will not be any easier by no means.

The Wayne County Cardinals — 2-1 on the season, and coming off a 62-27 pounding over Rockcastle County last Friday night — will invade The Reservation this Friday evening for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

If you can’t make it out to the game, you can join me and Melanie Hines for the Don Franklin Family of Dealerships Game of the Week on LAKE 102.3 FM.

Our pregame show will get underway at 7:15 p.m., with kickoff slated from Southwestern High School at 7:30 p.m.