Franklin County’s football team ended last season with an 11-1 record, and the Flyers appear poised to pick up where they left off last year.
FCHS is ranked third in the state among Class 4A teams in the bluegrasspreps.com poll, and it's fourth in the Lexington Herald-Leader coaches poll.
“I’m excited for the kids,” FCHS coach Eddie James said. “For one thing, we get to play with all this COVID stuff out there, and I’m excited about our team, the possibilities and what we have coming back, what we’re building. We’re ready to go.”
Franklin County opens its season Friday at Anderson County.
The Flyers graduated their leading tackler, Brady Holleran, from last year’s team, but the bulk of the team returns.
Senior wide receiver Fred Farrier II has multiple NCAA DI offers after a junior season that saw him catch 45 passes for 794 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“He’s really been working hard,” James said of Farrier. “He’s put on some good weight. I say he’s in his grown man body now.”
Also back is senior quarterback Nick Broyles. Last year he went 133-for-204 for 2,437 yards and 32 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 959 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I’m 100% amazed that he’s not in the discussion for Mr. Football to be honest,” James said of Boyles. “The kid has over 3,000 yards of offense each of the last two years. He’s one of the best we’ve had around here, and we’ve had some good ones with Kaelin Ammons and Logan Woodside.
“We hired Barrett Sanderson as our quarterback coach, and Nick has been busting his tail. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and I’m interested to see what version of Nick we get this year.”
The Flyers open their season Friday at Anderson County. The Bearcats aren’t allowing any visiting fans to their games this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic and ensuing protocols and guidelines have meant a shorter preseason for football teams this year.
“What we usually do in 8½ weeks we’re trying to get done in 2½ weeks, but it’s a challenge the kids have taken head on,” James said.
James attributes that to the time the players spent away from the program.
“We’ve told our kids to treat every day like it’s the last day you’ll be able to do this because it could be,” he said. “It was really great seeing the kids come back. I know how much they missed it. We’ve had no bad attitudes or anyone misbehaving. They missed it for almost four months.
“It’s good for them to get back around people. Mental health is a real thing, and I don’t think I realized to what degree until this. They’ve followed every rule, every protocol, and when there’s a change they don’t resist it.”
The Flyers will play eight regular-season games this season, taking a bye week on Oct. 9.
Their game with Western Hills, which was originally scheduled as the season opener in August, has been moved to Nov. 6.
District play starts Sept. 25 with a home game against Shelby County and continues Oct. 2 at North Oldham. Following the bye week, the Flyers play at Waggener in Louisville on Oct. 16, and their final regular-season district game is at home Oct. 23 against Central.
FCHS defeated Central in the regular season last year and lost to the Yellow Jackets in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
The Flyers’ seniors this year are Broyles, Farrier, Bryce Tucker, Henry Nsiah, Owen Powell, Kendall Roederer, Phillip Peiffer and Jordan Ross-Bright.
“We want to get better every day,” James said. “We don’t talk about who we’re playing. We want to maximize what we have.”