NICHOLASVILLE, Ky (WTVQ) -2019 for the East Jessamine Jaguars was one to remember. They battled to Nine wins; the team’s best finish since 2004.
“It was great. I mean I wish it was a little bit bigger and longer, but honestly it was great,” said senior lineman Jaiden Campbell. “I enjoyed. Loved it. Loved the team.”
What Campbell is hitting on is it could’ve been longer, but the Jags dropped a 24-21 game in the second round of playoffs to Madison Southern. A team they beat by two touchdowns earlier in the season.
“We’re definitely going out and holding a chip on our shoulder about that,” says senior running back DJ Jones. “That definitely did hurt. We were expected to win that game and it was definitely a hard game to lose.”
Head Coach Mike Bowlin enters his 16th year at East Jess. Those 9 wins, the most since he took over, but that loss meant they were short of a goal.
“For the last four years our real goal has been to get to the third round and it very very heartbreaking to come up so short,” says Bowlin. “So close last year and not make that.”
How heartbreaking? Bowlin still hasn’t watched the film from that game.
“I’ve never watched that film. That’s just one of those painful memories that I don’t know that I’ll get over. That was a great group of kids that I thoroughly thoroughly loved coaching. They gave me the ride of a lifetime. We had a great season and won a lot of games and those guys are gonna be missed.”
The Jags are using that three point loss to Madison southern in the playoffs as fuel. Honestly, that’s an understatement because these boys are hungry and they’re ready to make school history.
“We are wanting to be known 20 years from now that we beat the school record,” says Jones. “And won the third round of the playoffs.”
“It’s big for us. We’ve never, no one’s ever done that here so we’re trying to make that as a record here,” said Campbell. “I want to do that before I leave. That’s our big thing.”
Being right on the cusp of making history gives the jags even more fuel this season.
“Well when we see guys out here lacking, we definitely pick them up,” says Jones. “We know what happened last year and we know what we need to accomplish this year and all that lackadaisical and coming out here without any energy, we’re not having none of that this year. We’re definitely coming out this year to win that third game of the playoffs.”
As Bowlin mentioned, the Jags lost an important senior class, but he says the guys this year are ready for the challenge. It’ll be a challenge no other team before now has ever really faced.
“Well you gotta have that senior leadership. I think that’s really gonna be a big key for a shortened preseason,” says Bowlin. “I told my wife that it’s kinda like making a recipe that you know how to make. You know how long it takes, but now you gotta make it twice and fast and you might not get all the ingredients and it’s still going to look the same. So we can’t expect this football season to be like anything else and we’re going to take advantage of that.”