2020 36 Blitz: Fleming County Panthers

The Panthers look to build on last season where they had one of the best program finishes in the last 15 years

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FLEMINGSBURG, Ky (WTVQ) – Last season, the Fleming County Panthers did something they haven’t done since 2004, won double digit games.  This season they are hard at work bright and early to try and get better.

“It’s already 9 o’clock and you’re out here running,” said senior Daniel Watkins. “It’s not fun, but no one wants to lose. That’s just something you gotta remember. Everybody else is gonna be working too so you just gotta work twice as hard. We’re not as big as the teams we play. The team we played last year was a lot bigger than us, but you just know you gotta work on your reps and get your reps in and there’s brother things you can do to make up for that size gap.”

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Senior quarterback Zeke Conn knows this team isn’t exactly loaded with talent, but he knows it takes more than that to win.

“We might now have the most talent, but I believe this team has more heart than anybody else and we will give it our all. We work harder than anybody else.”

Whether it was talent, work ethic or heart, last season the panthers figured it out. After only winning four games in 2018, they bounced back 10 wins last season and played bell County for a region title.

“Well it was nice as freshman of course they made the run and won the district and everything it was a big thing, but you’re just a freshman on the sideline,” says Watkins. “You don’t really know what that feels like. And then you know we’re really down the sophomore year. Lose a lot of games. Lose bad to a lot of teams. And then you’re able to come back your junior year, make a run, get a lot of wins and make a lot of good memories.”

The man behind that bounce back was senior quarterback Johnny Maher. Who threw for more than 2400 yards and ran for more than 1100 yards.

“Johnny was huge for us last year and as a junior he kinda struggled on offense playing a new position. We knew he was going to be better last year. We didn’t know that he was gonna be that much better last year like he was,” says head coach Bill Spencer. To be 3A Player of the Year was huge for our school. And we don’t really want to have one guy that does everything for us. It kinda worked out that way last year, but when you ask him I think he’ll tell ya a lot of that went to his offensive line, our fullbacks and guys who blocked for him and our receivers.”

They may have lost Maher, but Good for the panther…they have a lot of those guys coming back.

“We got three senior lineman coming back,” says Conn. “We just gotta fill one spot so I feeling confident about that. Our strong part on defense is we’re not afraid to hit anybody.”

As the Panthers look to build on their success from last season. They know, win or lose, they have a community who has their back and will be with them every step of the way.

“A bunch of the moms of the seniors they’re always there,” says Watkins. “They’re having tailgating before games and doing a lot of stuff the week before because they said, we know you’re playing one of the top teams in the state and even if you don’t come out and win we want you to remember it as a good thing so that’s something to strive for.”

“Fleming County we are one show county. If you wanna watch football on Friday nights you come here,” said Coach Spencer. “We went to Bell County last year and we had to take four buses for our parents to go down. You know it was just a tremendous experience for them and the community really rallies behind us.”

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com