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The ultimate irony of the 2007 football season will come to pass Friday night in Frankfort.
Anderson County will be shooting for regular season perfection while a member of the only other Bearcat team to achieve a 10-0 record will be trying to end the dream.
Western Hills, coached by Don Miller, an Anderson County resident and a freshman on the 1986 Bearcats that went 10-0, will be trying to pull an upset of the heavily-favored Bearcats on the Wolverine Senior Night.
And in two more ironies, it might have been a 34-12 rout of a good Western Hills team that suggested that the Bearcats of 21 years ago had the making of something very special and last years 21-3 victory over the Wolverines might have been the night when it was apparent that Bearcat football was on the right track.
A year ago, Anderson hosted Western Hills in what was supposed to be a close game. Anderson had lost two in a row and was at a crossroads. The Bearcats roared to victory and have a 12-2 record since then. At the time, the schools were district rivals, as has been the case for most of the last 20 years, but the realignment that took effect this year put Anderson in Class 5A and Western Hills in 3A.
Overall, the Bearcats lead the series 19-4, but Western Hills has won four of the last seven and three of the last four. Two years ago, Western Hills overcame a 20-0 deficit to win 28-20 on its home field.
This season, Western Hills has struggled to a 1-8 record that includes six consecutive losses.
The Wolverines only victory was a 48-6 thumping of West Jessamine in the third game of the year. Last week, Western Hills fell to Lafayette 52-13.
Still, Anderson coach Mark Peach, also a member of the 1986 Bearcat team, says the current Bearcats have to be ready to slow Western Hills quarterback Dylan Curry, who has thrown for over 1100 yards this year. He is outstanding, Peach says. It will be a challenge to contain him.
Curry hooked up with Hunter Coffey for a 34-yard score against Lafayette.
Peach also says that Western Hills receiver Darius Reed can catch it and run with it. Reed has 35 catches on the year.
The big question is whether or not Anderson, which is coming off a huge win over previously unbeaten Marion County, will be ready for the Wolverines. The Bearcats know they are the ones with the bullseye on their chests.
No chance, Andersons Steve Heilman says of the possibility of Anderson overlooking Western Hills.
Every game, every opponent, we have to come out and play Anderson County football, says Bearcat lineman Austin Corn.
Peach does not believe motivation will be a problem. I would hope not, he says. I think this past weekend was a great lesson. Mississippi State went to West Virginia last week and gets beat 31-0. They come to Kentucky and outplay them. If you dont come to play with the right frame of mind, anything can happen in football.
Peach knows what his team is going through. Twenty-one years ago, he, along with his teammates, were getting ready to go on the road to play a vastly under-rated Bourbon County team. I remember as a player talking about (going undefeated) with teammates. We prepared that week like we did all season. Bourbon was a good football team that year. They had lost to some tough teams early. It was also their Senior Night. It took a great defensive stand to win that game.
Anderson held on for the 22-21 victory when safety Chris Franklin picked off his tenth pass of the year at the Bearcat 5 inside the final 90 seconds.
I remember after the game, different people in our community speaking to the team and everyone was crying. It was really special.
Peach will be trying to repeat that Friday night but will have one of his former teammates doing his best to deny that special feeling.
E-mail John Herndon at email@example.com.