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Seniors set to bid farewell

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By John Herndon

Ten Anderson County football seniors will be playing their final home game when the Bearcats host Western Hills Friday, Nov. 7. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

“This is a very special group,” Anderson coach Mark Peach said.

“These guys as freshmen had a winning season at 4-3. We felt like this was a group we could start with and build with.

“These guys have been an absolute pleasure to coach. I am so glad that we have an opportunity to recognize these special young men.”

Friday’s game will not be the final time they play on the home field.

For the second consecutive season, Anderson will host a first round Class 5A playoff game when they entertain Iroquois on Nov. 14.

It is only the second time in school history that Anderson will be hosting playoff games two years in a row. The Bearcats also accomplished that feat in 1992 and 1993.

Western Hills will also be advancing to the state class 3A playoffs. The Wolverines will be a three-seed from District 4 and will visit Elizabethtown in the first round.

It will be an opportunity for both teams to get back on the winning track for the playoffs. After winning five of its first six games, Western Hills has dropped three straight, including last week’s 21-0 loss to Lafayette.

Anderson had won six of its first seven and 17 of its last 19 games before hitting a two-game skid with losses to Oldham County and Marion County. Both are ranked in the state’s top 10 of their respective classes.

While Anderson has dominated the series with Western Hills – Anderson won the first 16 meetings between the schools -- the series is evenly split in games played since 2000. Anderson won last year’s meeting, 46-3, in Frankfort.

No one is expecting that kind of blowout this year.

Western Hills, 5-4 heading into Friday’s game, defeated Franklin County for the first time in many years on Sept. 12 and the Wolverines knocked off a 3A top 10 team in Henry County.

Some observers believe the 2008 Wolverines might be the best team the school has produced since it opened in 1980.

While that is debatable – the 2000 Wolverines hosted a playoff game – what is not up for argument is the improvement the program has enjoyed in coach Don Miller’s three seasons at the helm.

The teams have several common opponents.

Both teams have defeated Grant County, while Anderson defeated Spencer County 54-33, but Western Hills fell to the Bears 24-21.

A former Bearcat himself, Miller still lives in Anderson County. He played football with Peach and served as Peach’s defensive coordinator at Lexington’s Paul L. Dunbar High School.

“Don is a really good coach. You can tell by watching his team that they have bought into his philosophy and they are playing extremely hard for him,” Peach said.

Do-everything quarterback Dylan Curry, who is reportedly drawing some interest from some major colleges, leads the attack.

He has completed better than 50 percent of his passes and has thrown for seven touchdowns.

“They are still more of a passing team but they are more balanced this year.

“They do a nice job of mixing things up in the run and pass game and have more than one person involved on offense. Curry is playing really well right now.”

Running back Darius Reed is also a major threat both running and passing.

“Reed is outstanding and is as good as anyone we have seen this year. (Cody)Hecker is another receiver with Reed that is playing well. (Josh) Bell is a really nice running back for them.”

Anderson will be a solid favorite, but unlike many years in the past, Western Hills is not a pushover.

Injury report

Peach says that linebacker-fullback Clayton Carney is scheduled to return to action Friday after missing the last two weeks with a shoulder injury.

Lineman Zach Cotton sat out the Marion County game and another lineman, Kenton Bottoms, was injured during the contest. Their status for Friday night was unknown at press time.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.