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Richie Cox & Billy Kouns came to visit me today. Then, tonight at the baseball game, we ended up talking about Flatwoods & the Russell Red Devils. I got so fired up I am not sure I can go to sleep tonight.

Because the Russell Red Devils were so good, they were the most important game on our schedule. If we could beat them, we could probably win our district and beat everyone else. Ivan McGlone's Red Devils, their wing-t offense, and Garry Morris's odd front defense drove much of our program at Mason County. We worked on the Red Devils all year. We worked our reads and fundamentals versus a two TE wing-t every spring and preseason as part of our base defense. We called it November Drill, but it could have been Red Devil drill.... working against the blitz in the red zone.... every week... spring, summer and fall.

Flatwoods became my favorite place to play a football game. It is nice to play a home game, but there is something special about going into your rival's home stadium, especially when your rival is good. It probably was not as hostile as I tried to make it. But, I always talked myself and my team into believing it was a hostile environment and that we were beyond prepared for a challenge that would bring out the best in our team.

My coaches at Mason would tease me that the over/under for me saying "Flatwoods" that week was around 40... or higher. I loved to talk about Flatwoods and usually had to say the words right after the previous week's game on Friday night when we gathered as a team. They also would tease me about getting there too early. But, I loved that place and that game. I wanted to get there as quick as I could on those Friday nights and soak it up.

As much as I enjoy the flame coming from the devil on the scoreboard, it is definitely a bad sign if you are seeing a lot of that during the game. Pregame is good! Usually when we were in Flatwoods, it was cold, raining, and we got a heavy dose of the Rolling Stones & Led Zepplin before the game.

Pregame speeches are overrated. My favorite one was the night I told our guys that we were going into the Devil's Den. We were going to look the Devil in the eye, stick our hand in his chest, rip out his heart, and watch him bleed and die. The Red Devils got us in a close one. But, as I got on the bus, I get a phone call from Ray Graham, then the coach at Harrison County. I had shared my pregame speech with him before we had left. Ray proceeds to tell me that they had upset Franklin County and he had used my speech. I said, "Ray, that doesn't make any sense. Franklin County is the Flyers." He says, "I know. I used it anyway!"

It took us TWELVE YEARS to win in Flatwoods. But, we finally did it and then won 3 in a row.

Trosper will be a senior in the fall of 2021. I am hoping that for week 10 we can go to Flatwoods and play the Red Devils. The travel will be tough, but it would be great preparation for our team going into the playoffs. Hopefully by that time Boyle County will be in our district and week 10 will be open. Hopefully we will BE a playoff team in 2021. It would be great for our team, and it would be cool if Trosper could experience again the trip to Flatwoods and getting to play there like his big brother did.

One last time, it would be great to walk down those steps with my football team at Henry R. Evans Stadium in a cold October rain, with Kashmir ( Led Zepplin) blaring on the sound system. Great atmosphere, venue and opponent. Flatwoods. My favorite place of all.

BlackShoes&WhiteShoeStrings: Destination: Flatwoods