Who wants to play football in cold (and probably rainy) Kentucky, when you can play football in warm and sunny Florida?
Not Frankfort High School, that’s who.
The FHS football team will be spending its fall break in Florida, a trip that will culminate with a game Oct. 3 against First Baptist Academy in Naples.
Head coach Craig Foley said playing a game in “The Sunshine State” has been on his mind for quite some time.
“Coach (Shane) Smith and I have always talked about it,” Foley said. “We have been looking for a game and were having trouble finding one that was with an opponent close to our size. … I just happened to be playing on the Florida High School Athletic Association web page and saw that this school had an opening. I began an email conversation about the possibility with (FBA coach Billy Sparacio) and once the coach and I thought we might be able to work something out, I asked my superintendent what he thought. After some conversation with him we have proceeded.”
FHS plans on leaving Sept. 28 and driving through the night, stopping at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida on the way down. The team is staying in Fort Myers and will practice daily and hit the beach and some other attractions before going to Naples Thursday to practice at First Baptist Academy and have a pre-game meal.
“It is a win-win for everyone involved,” Foley said. “While we are going to play the game, we are also making a couple of college visits along the way and giving some kids an experience they may not ever have.”
The Lions have been a program for just a handful of years and have a roster of 35-40 players. They went 9-2 last season, finishing as region runners-up one year after winning the region.
They will return quarterbacks Tyler Dean and Jack Bueltel, who combined to throw for nearly 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns, and running backs Christian Rodriguez and Dylan Cibelli, who combined for more than 1,700 yards and 25 scores.
“They seem to throw it around from the spread set, seem to be pretty disciplined,” Foley said.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are coming off an 11-3 season in which they reached the Class 1A state semifinals before losing to eventual champion Mayfield. They will return quarterback Anthony Robinson, who threw for more than 1,400 yards and 14 scores, and running back Jalen Washington, who ran for more than 650 yards and nine scores.
“We have high expectations for next year,” Foley said. “While we graduated a solid crew, we have a solid crew back.
“We have to keep the trip in check and not let it get bigger than the season. Our ultimate goal is Bowling Green and (Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium at Western Kentucky University) the first Friday in December.”
FHS will be holding fundraisers to raise money for the trip. If you would like to make a donation, contact Craig Foley at the school at 502-875-8655 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.