As the NCAA is wrapping up their bowl season and the NFL is getting ready for the playoffs, It is time for me to look back of two football teams who had their best football seasons in their program’s history. The neat thing about it, is that both teams played in the same town of Williamsburg, Kentucky.
First we have the city’s high school team, the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets.
Over the last few years, coach Jerry Herron and his Jackets had become a team, with its high powered offense and emerging defense, that was capable of making long runs in the 1A state playoffs in he state of Kentucky. The only problem was that they had to always meet up with 1A power Hazard in recent years.
In both 2011 and 2012, the Yellow Jackets’ season came to an end at the hands of the Bulldogs in the Regional Championship of the playoffs. The game last year (a 7-0 loss in the last minutes of the game), was a hard pill to swallow for Williamsburg who had only 1 loss on the season up to that point. From the night of that tough loss, it was the goal of Williamsburg of getting back to a 3rd Regional Championship game and get over that hump.
With big goals in mind and the core of their team returning, the Jackets set out on their task for 2013. Deciding to play a tougher schedule, the boys from Williamsburg set out to accomplish that goal. The Jackets made it through the regular season with just 2 losses, plus beating some good teams along the way. It came down to meeting Hazard for a third year in a row. This year, the Jackets were not to be denied, as they were the better team that night and finally got over the hump and beat Hazard for the Regional crowd (first in school history).
Williamsburg got to play all of their playoff games at home and the community rallied around this team by “painting the town ORANGE”. After the big win over Hazard, they secured their spot in the state finals by taking care of business against Raceland. Everyone was riding high, as Williamsburg was headed to Bowling Green and the State Title Game vs. Mayfield.
Of course, not all stories have the happy “Hollywood” ending, as Mayfield took care of business for the state title, but that does not take away from the magical ride this team experienced on 2013. The city of Williamsburg can have nothing but pride in their school. With most of their key players returning, this team can shoot for bigger and better things in 2014!!!
Now those games are played on Friday nights. There was another school in town who played their games on Saturday afternoons who was in the process of making memories themselves.
Since football was brought back to the school in the mid 1980’s, Cumberland College (now the University of the Cumberlands), was making strides in their football program as well. In the last eight years of the program, Coach Jon Bland has built a program that won several division titles and made several appearances in the NAIA Playoffs. While Williamsburg has it’s Hazard, The Cumberlands had Georgetown.
The Patriots had many of the key pieces in place for the 2013 season. Many felt that this was a team that come run the table in the NAIA. With it’s high powered offense and tough defense, they did just that. With key wins against Lindsey Wilson and Faulkner, the Patriots finally got over the hump with a key win vs. Georgetown.
What followed, was the famous #HomeTilRome, as they took care of business in the playoffs (including the semi-final overtime win over NAIA power Carroll College). #HomeTilRome then turned into #WinInRome.
Just like Williamsburg, the magical ride ended in a loss in the finals to Grand View College of Iowa, but it doesn’t take away from the thrills that the Patriots gave their fans during the 2013 season. With the talent on this team, the Patriots will look for another magical ride to the championship in 2014.
Of course, we play the games to try to win championships, but not everyone can win. That does not take away from of trying. Both Williamsburg high school and the University of the Cumberlands definitely had fun in the trying in the Fall of 2013. That fun made the city of Williamsburg and its football fans a great place to be in 2013.
Congrats to both schools on a great 2013. Here is to a bigger and better 2014!!!
Have a great week!!!!