Thursday, September 18, 2008

P.S. for Dynamic Dynasties

Photo of Mayfield's football trophy case, highlighting a leather helmet from ye olden days.

The Dynamic Dynasties series that ran this week in The Paducah Sun was not an easy task. The idea came to me over a month ago after listening to story after timeless story from Joey Fosko and Steve Millizer about different sporting programs through the area and their rise and fall.

I was not "in" on any of these stories because I am not a lifelong resident of the state. Being still a newbie from Missouri, it was important for me to learn these stories on a more personal level.

The five programs I chose to profile — Reidland softball, Mayfield football, Lone Oak tennis, Marshall County girls soccer and Paducah Tilghman track and field — cannot be disputed in their status as a dynasty. The facts, trophies, championships and alumni that these programs have contributed to western Kentucky are fathomless.

The 26 schools The Sun routinely covers in Kentucky and southern Illinois each have histories with plenty of stories to tell. Other programs have been successful over the years, but may have fallen short of reaching dynasty status or may have reached it at one time, but fallen off in recent years. The five programs are still considered tops in their sports.

One program I especially was pressed to mention was Marshall County girls basketball. The Lady Marshals clearly are one of the top girls basketball programs in the region year after year, but their dominance has been challenged lately, especially outside of the First Region. The Marshals have won nine of the last 18 regional championships after winning nine-of-10 in the 1980s. In 1982 and 1984, the Marshals won state championships, but the last win for the Marshals in the state tournament came in 1990.

In researching these stories, statistics and records were vital. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Web site,, was immensely helpful in compiling information. The Sun's own sports history file has been kept impeccably over the years, and I was delighted to find nearly everything I needed, and more, in our own system.

We actually have a single file dedicated to the Mayfield-Tilghman football series, that dates back to the first game in 1911.

The many, many coaches I contacted were also very helpful in providing statistics and information that we didn't have at our disposal. And thanks to whomever took over Stacey Bradley's bus duty the day I went to talk to him about Marshall County soccer.

Thank you for reading, and thank you coaches and players for helping me understand western Kentucky athletics a little better.

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