Updated 1 year ago by Mike Maharrey
Bourbon County High School featured the top rusher in the state last year.
Kentayvus Hopkins ran for 2,924 yards as a junior. That figures out to 253 yards per game. He scored 38 touchdowns. Behind their bruising running attack, the Colonels finished 8-4 and advanced to the second round of the 3A playoffs.
Good news for Bourbon County fans: Hopkins returns in 2012 for an encore performance.
And many of his teammates will also line up beside him once again. The Colonels have at least seven returning starters coming back on both sides of the ball.
But the Bourbon County squad will play under new leadership. John Hodge takes the reins for the 2012 season, and that means some adjustments for Colonels' players.
"We are a new staff, and that sometimes can negate some experience. But we like the team we have coming in," he said. "We have talent in our skill positions, and return a lot of production in those players. Our weaknesses will lie in how well our players adapt and pick up what we are trying to teach, because it's a completely new system, with new people coaching in an entirely different approach."
Hodge said the offense won't change a whole lot, but a defense that gave up 22.5 points per game last year must get better.
"We will continue to be a run first team, but must become a defense first team as well. We must improve on that side of the ball in order to reach our goals."
Hodge doesn't shy away from setting those goals high.
"Our goal each year is to compete for a state championship. That has to be our mindset. Besides that, we want to win the first ever district championship in school history and win the region."
And the keys to reaching those goals?
"We must play great defense, win the battles up front. We also must score when we have the opportunity in the red zone, and not turn the ball over."
Bourbon County will have plenty of competition in its district, led by last year's champion Garrard County.
"They are the defending district and regional champions, and return all of their offensive and defensive linemen. They will be the team to beat in our region. In our class, Louisville Central and Belfry have to be considered the top two teams of 3A."
The Colonels open their season Friday on the road against Middlesboro. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
For the complete 2012 Bourbon County schedule, click HERE.