TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
While Corbin, Knox Central and North Laurel were grabbing most of the headlines during regular season play, Jerry Herron's Williamsburg Yellow Jackets were patiently flying under the radar because of two losses to teams that are now a combined 19-3 on the season.
The Yellow Jackets continued to do what they have done the past seven years, and that's win. But it didn't seem to matter to the pollsters, who didn't and still aren't giving Williamsburg much love.
Who knows, but get ready folks, the Yellow Jackets are getting ready to become the headline the next couple of weeks. Some may believe I'm going out on a limb, but as I always say, it is what it is, and this Williamsburg team is well on its way of grabbing a region championship and beyond.
Herron's squad is too talented this season, and the big thing is they'll be playing at home. Yep, after losing to Hazard during last year's regional final, 7-0, the two teams have been on a crash course since the 2013 campaign began, but for some reason, after being picked as one of the top teams in Class A to begin the season, many have begun to doubt the Yellow Jackets.
And once again, I ask why?
Is it because they lost to both Wayne County and North Laurel?
I say so.
But what is so funny about that is the fact both the Cardinals and the Jaguars have put together their respective programs' best season in 2013, but still no love for Williamsburg.
I don't believe Herron and his Yellow Jackets care really, though.
They know how good they are, and they like to prove their doubters wrong, which they have done a very good job of doing by the way.
Losing to a Wayne County team that is currently 11-0, and could very well win the Class 3A championship is by no means something to hang your head about. Especially when some of the Yellow Jackets' best players were playing with nagging injuries at the time.
And then everyone wants to bring up Williamsburg's loss to North Laurel. People tend to forget the Yellow Jackets were just a few yards away from tying the game at 14 apiece in the third quarter. If the Jaguars don't put together a terrific goal-line stand, who knows who would have won the game.
I'll say this — you don't see many Class A schools man up and play a Class 5A team. Let me take that back, a very good Class 5A team. And if you really start thinking about it, you don't see many teams anymore scheduling many good teams unless if they're forced to play those good teams due to their respective district slate.
So yes, Williamsburg played a tough schedule, and yes, the Yellow Jackets lost to both of those schools.
Does that mean they're an overrated team?
It means they got beat by two teams that are very good, and in the end, those losses have made Williamsburg better, and will help Herron's squad during post-season play.
On the flip side, of course Williamsburg would have loved to win those games, but the Yellow Jacket players did what good teams do — responding by winning the games they were supposed to while improving as the season progressed.
“We have an unbelievable coaching staff that really works hard while making sure everyone improves,” Herron said. “These coaches and players have given up a lot of their free time to get better and like I said, our rallying cry is our loss to Hazard last year. We want to have another opportunity of winning the district and then going to the region and hopefully even further.
“Our schedule was definitely tougher,” he added. “We knew going in we were going to be a solid football team, so we figured our kids needed to step up and face some stiffer competition. The kids knew we made our schedule a little tougher and that some of these teams are going to have the best teams they’ve ever had. With that said it’s up to the guys on the field to go out and make plays and not allow the adjustments to affect what they’re able to do.”
After its loss to Wayne County, Herron's players responded by winning their final five regular season games, and let me say, they did it in impressive fashion.
Try outscoring their respective opponents 253-33 during the stretch, and the Yellow Jackets continued its dominance Friday during their blowout win over Jenkins in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
It's going to be hard to stop quarterback Dalton Sizemore along with his talented teammates Jefferson Patrick, Skyler Griffith and Corey Shelton.
This Williamsburg team is built for the long haul, and just like I stated at the beginning of the season, I expect the Yellow Jackets to be the last team standing in the Tri-County.