This time of year is sad for so many football teams around the state. As the old cliche goes, "There's only six teams in Kentucky that end their season with a win." That may be true and though this year's Eagles had their eyes on the ultimate prize - the 2A State Title - the team had an amazing season. And this group of seniors leave a lasting legacy that will be felt at LCA for many years to come.
Fresh off the 8th grade state championship, the bulk of this senior group entered high school on the heels of a 1-10 varsity season that saw the Eagles' ravaged by injuries causing them to dress only 25 players in the final game, a loss to Prestonsburg in the first round of the playoffs. A new young coach was brought in, with a number of new staff members to help turn the program back into state title contenders.
Many of these seniors were thrust into either starting or very important roles very early, probably earlier than most of them would have liked. But they stood strong and combined with the upper classmen to steady the LCA ship, finishing 6-6 on the season and laying the groundwork for what was to come.
In 2015 (their sophomore year) they were a little more experienced and continued to grow together and trust the process en route to a terrific 8-5 season that saw them reach the regional finals for the first time in several years, putting LCA firmly back on the map.
2016 saw the squad take a giant leap forward to the school's first-ever undefeated regular season, including a road win over the Danville Admirals to win LCA's first-ever 2A District Title. They were 10-0 heading into the post season, that saw them lose a heart-breaker in a rematch with the Admirals in the regional final. They finished 12-1 and widely considered one of the best teams in the state, regardless of class.
This season, the Eagles continued to ascend, as they finished the regular season 9-1, including wins over Pikeville in the Pike County Bowl and the school's first-ever win over arch rival Lexington Catholic in impressive fashion 56-36 (CLICK HERE for a link to the game broadcast.) Through a season of injuries that saw no less than 4 seniors go down with serious injuries, this squad battled through it all and only lost to Danville. Storming through the playoffs early, the squad just couldnt get over the Danville hump. They finished the season 11-2, winners of 23 of their final 26 games.
But this year's senior class cannot and should not be measured solely by wins and losses. This class, along with the hard work of Ethan Atchley, other players and coaches brought LCA football back to state prominence. As they walk off the LCA campus, the football program has as many kids playing as at any time in school history and the pipeline is as big as it ever has been, with more than 120 kids in the program from 3rd grade on up. They have been inspired by the coaches and the high school players to come out and build the program.
That is a quite a legacy for the 2017 football senior class. And for that, everyone at LCA says "Thank You."