The good news for new Frankfort High football coach Craig Foley is he has largely the same group of standout athletes that Coach Joey Thacker had the last few years.
The roll call is a familiar one with names like Brenton McNear, Emmanuel Fields, Ephraim Fields, Myron Moore, Alonzo Tillman and others. Only Keena Turner is lost from last year's stable of superb athletes.
The bad news for Foley is that Thacker left him with the toughest schedule Frankfort's Panthers have tackled in many years.
Five of those games can't be helped, of course, in that they are district opponents Danville (gulp), Harrodsburg (sigh), Owen County, Carroll County and Trimble County.
But even the FHS non-schedule is killer - with mountain power Evarts in the Aug. 22 home opener, then Pike County Central in a road bowl game, then county rivals Franklin County and Western Hills, and then Northern Kentucky power Newport (double gulp).
"Joey did me no favors in scheduling," said Foley, who was an assistant at Franklin County last fall and took over at FHS only some three weeks ago. "I've told him that numerous times. It's one of the toughest schedules in the area."
Foley and his staff hope the upside is this - that their Panthers have the experience to meet up with that raw talent and rise to the challenge of the 2003 slate.
"Our strength is our athleticism, there's no doubt about that," Foley said. "We have eight or nine starters back on both sides of the ball, and we're very athletic. We're not the biggest guys in the world, but we're pretty strong and athletic."
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.