2020 36 Blitz: East Jessamine Jaguars

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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.”

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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.

Senior RB/LB
“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.”

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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