Sit back, relax, chill for a little while. From the looks of things, Eminence and Henry County fans will have plenty to stand up and cheer about when the lights come on Friday nights.
Following the easy opening-season victories over the weekend, a lot of questions were answered that are brought with unpredictable starts to always unpredictable football seasons. Most of those answers were in favor of the Warriors and Wildcats.
Let me be the first to tell you that these two programs are definitely headed in the right direction after high schools across Kentucky took to the field for the first time. Eminence defeated Beth Haven (44-16) Friday, and Henry followed with a win over Ludlow (40-0) the following night. The scripts couldnt have read better for the two local schools with both starting the year on a high note that they hope to carry over to the rest of the season.
Eminence was the first to answer most of those preseason questions. Yes: sophomore Dre Banta played a great opening game as the quarterback. Yes: senior Ed Berry is proving to be one of the top players in Class A. Yes: the Warriors are as fast as they were hyped to be. Somehow, I think TJ Cooper picked up even more speed to his always-moving legs in the offseason.
When the Warriors started to go backwards during a disappointing second quarter, they put the pedal to the metal during the second half. The fact that they rebounded so well something that doesnt happen to show up in the stat book is perhaps the best statistic of them all.
Meanwhile, Henry answered a lot of the same questions with a great performance from sophomore quarterback Luke Magness, solid play from numerous other players on a roster filled with seniors ready to go out with a bang, and a defense that will provide plenty of problems to opponents all season long.
Overall, I was impressed by Magness at quarterback, Steven May at middle linebacker, Cody Hinkle at tight end, Matt Long at wideout and the entire defensive line.
But, perhaps, what impressed me the most was the way Hayden Yancey handled making the switch from the often over-glorified quarterback position to wide receiver. He still provided the winning squad with the same leadership he showed while lining up behind center last season. And its that leadership I saw from Yancey, and co-captain May, along with a number of other Wildcats, that might propel them to the greatest season at HCHS weve seen in a long time.
For both Eminence and Henry, it was great starts to a promising season. Hopefully, it was just a tease of what we will see during the next few months. But for now, just relax a little and wait for those Friday night games to roll around.
Tommie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.