2020 36 Blitz: Anderson County Bearcats

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LAWRENCEBURG, Ky (WTVQ) -Mark Palmer has more than thirty years of experience coaching football in many places including Virginia, but how’d he end up in Kentucky? His wife is from eastern Kentucky and Anderson County was the perfect place to instill his philosophy.

“I love what I do, a great passion for young men,” says Anderson County Head Football Coach Mark Palmer. “Really enjoy taking young men through the middle school program and bringing them all the way through to high school and helping them develop, an extension of the family.”

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Helping young athletes grow into men is at the top of his list, but Palmer also knows how to win.  His St. Patrick team last year went 13-1; he wants that type of success at Anderson.

“To have the excitement is one thing but they need to see it translate to the field,” said Palmer. “Anderson County has a strong tradition in football for a long time and I just want to try to continue to build upon that and produce great young means have success on the field.”

The Bearcats went 10-1 in 2018, but took a huge step back last season going 4 and 7 dropping their last five. Palmer’s arrival signals a fresh start.

“You know a lot of people are excited for new beginnings,” says senior lineman Darion Dearinger. “Just this year hopefully being able to play and everybody is really looking forward to it. Great guy, really good coach. Everybody really seems to like him and everybody is really fired up.”

Ryan Stratton
Senior OL/DL
“Well I think everybody is really excited about this new coach,” says senior lineman Ryan Stratton. “He’s just a really good guy and gives us a good environment to play in. I’m just excited.”

Taking over a new program is hard in general, but imagine doing it during a pandemic when you didn’t have spring football and now haven’t a shortened preseason to install your system, Coach Palmer is ready for the challenge.

“We have been meeting as coaches and I’m relying on their opinions and the knowledge that they have of the young men,” said Coach Palmer. “There was no spring ball. No chance really this summer to do what I’ve done for the last 30 years.”

While the Bearcats may be trying to play catch-up, they do have something on their side, Palmer’s system will be new to his opponents.

“I think early on it’s going to be to our advantage,” said Palmer. “What just a great district we’re placed in with outstanding coaches and outstanding teams. The tradition is there. So by the time we get to that part of the schedule they’re going to know what to do.”

Palmer can install whatever system he wants, but the players know they’re the key to the Bearcats bouncing back this season.

“I think the big key is getting as many people, as many kids out here as possible,” said Dearinger. “Get as many athletes out here and that’s what we’ve been able to do. Been able to get bunch of really good guy and athletes out here.”

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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