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The Owen County Rebels kick off the 2009 season on Saturday night. The team will travel to Grant County to take on the Braves at 8 p.m. as part of the Grant County Gridiron Kickoff Classic.
Owen County and second-year head football coach Adam Fowler are looking to improve on 2008 when the Rebels won two games and lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual state runner-up Newport Central Catholic.
The Rebels will feature some familiar faces. Perhaps the most important one is their coach. For the seniors, Fowler is the third coach they have had in their four years at the school.
The players are excited to have the same philosophy return.
“It feels really good,” senior Tyler Pruitt said.
Pruitt thinks the continuity can lead to good things,
“I really think we can do something this year,” Pruitt said.
One of the positives that Fowler has seen in his second year is the number of kids who came out for the team. The coach said he realized after last season that one thing lacking was the number of kids.
“We needed more kids. So we went out and got them,” Fowler said.
The team had to buy more equipment to accommodate the numbers,
For the coaching staff, the season did not end last fall after the playoff loss. They each worked to get players and to make sure those returning were working hard in the weight room to prepare for the upcoming season.
“We had a great off-season,” said Fowler.
Now that the season is here, the coaching staff’s expectations are high.
“We’re excited,” said Fowler.
The Rebels played a pair of scrimmage games to get ready for the season. Owen County played Walton-Verona two weeks ago and then hosted Western Hills Friday. Both games had positives and negatives.
Owen County defeated the Bearcats at Walton and then dropped a decision to the Wolverines.
Against Western Hills, the Rebels were plagued by three turnovers on their first three possessions.
The defense played well but Western Hills was able to find some holes and put the ball into the end zone. Fowler said the Wolverines would likely be one of the better opponents the Rebels will see all year.
With the regular season set to get under way, the Rebels will face a tough schedule. The team opens up with three straight road games.
After Saturday’s game with the Braves, the team will travel to Gallatin County and Henry County before they play their home opener Sept. 18 against Trimble County.
They will then travel to Bourbon County before returning home to play East Jessamine the first week in October.
Owen County opens up district play Oct. 9 at DeSales. The Rebels will host Carroll County Oct. 16 before wrapping up district action at Christian Academy of Louisville the following weekend. The regular season ends Oct. 30 when the team hosts South Oldham.
Of the teams on the schedule, five had records of .500 or better and two won playoff games. Gallatin County advanced to the second round of the Class A playoffs and DeSales advanced to the third round of the Class 2A playoffs before falling to Newport Central Catholic.
“We want to schedule teams that will make us better,” said Fowler. “We have to learn how to win. These kids need to realize that they are good.”