2020 36 Blitz: Bryan Station Defenders

The Defenders are hitting the restart button as Phill Hawkins takes over as head coach

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LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ) – Phil Hawkins is the new coach for the Bryan Station Defenders. He’s coached at Doss in Louisville and Apollo in Owensboro, but Lexington is where he’s always wanted to be.

“I’ve wanted to come back to this part of the state. From being raised in Frankfort and being familiar with Lexington,” said head coach Phil Hawkins. “I did live in Lexington for several years so it’s just a great place to be and Coach. I love this kind of program and that was the attraction.”

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In Hawkins first season at Doss, they had 4 wins. His final season they went 8-4. Winning came tougher at Apollo, but last season he had the third ranked rusher in the state. The defenders are excited that success is coming to Station.

“It makes us want to listen. Makes us want to learn what he has to teach,” said senior wide receiver/defensive back Dadrien Taylor. “All the things that he’s got in his past we want too.Championships all that. Wins…all that.”

While the defenders only have 9 seniors, he knows he’s got the talent to win.

“Tons of athletes, I mean they’re everywhere here,” said Coach Hawkins. “My thing is to get them organized, get them disciplined and let their talent show itself on the field mistake free and those kids will flourish.”

For the players, playing mistake-free football means having a lot of one thing.

“Discipline. Discipline, discipline, discipline. Discipline and paying attention, that’s our biggest problem,” said Taylor. “We’re a bunch of kids. We love each other, but we fight…we have attitudes so that’s what we’re working on. We’re fixing that this year. That’s all done…cut it for the new coach. Done.”

That senior class is pretty small, only nine guys and while they have experience from the last three years, with the new head coach here they’re like everyone else…they’re starting right back at square one.

“We are seniors, but since we have new leadership and new coaching, I’m like a freshman,” says senior lineman Josh Rowe. “So we sit back we watch, we adsorb and we take what we learn from our new coach and pass it down to the freshman and the sophomores.”

“Everything that we thought we knew last year, it’s all different this year,” says Taylor. “Wide receivers, like our form, our basic stuff all or that is different now. I feel it’s old school because that’s an old school coach.”

As the Hawkins era begin at Station, they’re a 6A school. One of the big dogs who’s been successful so you know people will be paying attention to how they do. The players know that as well.

“I feel like everybody has that same mindset around this time,” says Rowe. “We all know that we’re short on time and that we’ve got a lot to prove with a new coach. People are watching us. Everybody is watching us and I’m sure everyone knows that on our team and we have to work together to get to that goal.”

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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