EMS ends football season tied for first in conference

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By Tommie Kendall

The Eminence Middle School Braves finished their 2009 football season at 6-1 with big highlights of tying for first place in District Four and beating a tough Frankfort team mid-season. Larry Montgomery, who has been the head coach for EMS the previous seven years, says this team is possibly the best one he has ever coached at the middle school level.

The one loss came against Gallatin County, who lost to Frankfort during the regular season to leave the teams tied for first place in the district. There is typically a district postseason playoffs but not this year due to circumstances, Montgomery said. District teams are the same as the high school with Eminence in District Four with Frankfort, Gallatin, Trimble County and Bracken County. Eminence was 3-1 against district teams.

“This is probably the best all-around football team I’ve coached at Eminence,” Montgomery said. “We certainly had some good teams in the past with some great players but this particular team was just a really good unit that gave us the opportunity to be competitive every night with any team.”

The big win for the Braves this season came against Frankfort a few weeks ago. Frankfort came into the game sporting a perfect 8-0 record and was the favorite over Eminence. In a twist of events, though, the Braves came away with an 18-12 victory.

“That was our big win for the year. It came against one of the best middle school teams in the state,” said Montgomery, who calls the Frankfort shocker his team’s best performance. “Our boys played beyond their abilities that night. Nobody expected us to win that one. It was just one of those incredible games where we played perfectly. No one abandoned their post that night, which has been an ongoing theme for us all year.”

The top player for Eminence all season was Corey Roberts, an all-conference eighth grader who played both offensive and defensive line. Roberts has been nominated to play in the East-West Kentucky Middle School All-Star Game scheduled for late November. The rosters for the two teams will be released within the next few weeks.

“He really stood out as not only our best offensive lineman but our best defensive lineman as well,” Montgomery said. “I nominated him to play in this all-star game because he has really stood out. I wouldn’t nominate just anyone. He’s a great all-around kid.”

Besides Roberts, the Braves had a few other standout players. Hayden Hoofman led the team in tackles, Marcus Bailey scored the most points, Shelby Armstrong was one of the team’s leading rushers, Trevor Payton was the team’s No. 1 option at quarterback, Justin Mitchell and Jalen Dixie were leading receivers and Rueban Morales was a key lineman. Overall, though, it was a team effort.

“No one player really stood out because we were such a well-rounded team,” Montgomery said. “We just played good, team football.”

Out of the 23 players listed on Eminence’s roster, 10 will move up to the high school level next fall and the rest will be back for another shot at the conference title at the middle school level.

“We’re still going to be very talented next year,” Montgomery said. “We lose a big portion of line and size but looking ahead we’re just as talented. We’re looking on some younger guys to step up.”

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