This post was done by LCPATS
LC football history
LINCOLN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
Lincoln County High School was formed in 1974, through the consolidation
of several county high schools. Of those county schools, the only one to
have fielded a football team was Stanford High School. In fact, Stanford
High School played football as early as 1909.
Stanford High School was a small school (single A) and had many
hard-fought battles with district rival Frankfort. Stanford*s football
Coach at the time of consolidation, Bill Ed Leedy, became the coach at the >new consolidated high school. The new school took the nickname “Patriots” but they transferred over all of the old traditions and rivalries of the Stanford Wildcats.
The first Patriot season in 1974 resulted in a very respectable 6-4 record. They had wins over Jessamine County, Johnson Central, Anderson County, Casey County, Garrard County and Boyle County. They suffered losses to Richmond Madison, Frankfort, Harrodsburg and Scott County. It is interesting to note that Madison, Frankfort and Harrodsburg were all single A teams while Scott County was AA and would win the championship the following season in 1975. Being a new school Lincoln County did not play a district schedule and it would be the only season in which they would not lose to another AAA school.
Coach Leedy lost a lot of Senior leadership and talent from the 1974 team and the 1975 results showed it. The Patriots managed only 3 wins (Rockcastle County, Whitley County and Casey County) during a season when they would only score 90 points.
Lincoln County finished the season 3-7.
As bad at 1975 was, 1976 would be worse. The Patriots won only two games and those came against neighboring schools Casey County and Rockcastle County.
Lincoln County finished the season 2-8.
Things improved some in 1977 with an even number of wins and losses. The five wins came against Rockcastle County, Whitley County, Knox Central, Garrard County and Casey County.
Lincoln County finished the season 5-5.
Bill Ed Leedy*s tenure as head football coach at LCHS came to an end after a 4-7 season in 1978. Coach Leedy continued to teach at the high school and was the golf coach after retiring from football. His 5 year win-loss
record was 20-31.
Lincoln County finished the season 4-7.
Donald “Snooky” Wooldridge, a graduate of Stanford High School and Eastern Kentucky University, who was an assistant to Coach Leedy took over the reigns for the 1979 season. He had a three year starter in quarterback Ronnie Wilkerson and a supporting cast that included Jeff McGill, Jack Smith, Barry Alcorn and Clark Newcomb, just to name a few.
The Patriots started the season 8-0 before losing the ninth game to local rival Boyle County 21-7. Lincoln won the sub-district and met Estill County in the playoffs for the District championship. What a hard-fought game! Lincoln beat the Engineers 14-6.
> Thus, in the school’s sixth season of football, the 1979 team had won 10 games and its first ever playoff game. The Patriots traveled to Fort Thomas Highlands with high expectations to continue their march toward a state championship. The Bluebirds quickly dashed the hopes of the Lincoln faithful and won the Regional Championship title game 34-0. Lincoln fans were in disbelief. At one point, Lincoln County had first and goal at the Highlands 1 yard line. Jeff McGill, Lincoln County’s 6'4", 225 pound fullback ran into a brick wall on four straight carries. Lincoln County realized that this was a different brand of football.
Lincoln County ended the season with 10 wins and 2 losses.
Snooky Wooldridge and his Patriots opened up the 1980 season by beating Russell County 19-6 in the Lake Cumberland Bowl. They lost district games on the road at Laurel County, Whitley County and Knox Central. They also lost to local rival Garrard County, 7-6 at Homecoming. They took their lumps but they set the stage for a great run the following season.
Lincoln County finished the season 7-4.
The Senior class on the 1981 Patriot football team had been Sophomores during the 1979 season when Lincoln made its first ever playoff appearance.
They matured during their Junior season in 1980 and were poised to make a strong run during 1981. They finished the regular season undefeated with an 11-0 record, shutting out their first three opponents.
They met Cawood High School for the District Championship, on the road. The Cawood Trojans were led by Junior tailback David Hensley, who would later play for Coach Roy Kidd at EKU. Hensley was the leading rusher and scorer in the state when the two teams met on that cold November night in Harlan County.
Both teams had break-away type offenses and both were used to a smash mouth style. Thus, some were surprised that the game turned into a classic battle of defenses. Lincoln County won 7-0, holding Hensley to under 100 yards rushing and scoreless.
The win at Cawood gave Lincoln County the opportunity to go on the road again to face that football machine, the Fort Thomas Highlands Bluebirds. Highlands had manhandled the Patriots 34-0 just two seasons earlier and Lincoln County made the trip north with every expectation of avenging that Regional Championship loss.
Lincoln County was more evenly matched this time. They had learned from their first encounter with Highlands that it would be crucial to block Highlands’ linebackers. In 1979, the Patriots had been unfamiliar with the tactic of the defensive linemen to more or less ”block” the offensive guards to keep them off the linebackers. Then, Highlands’ linebackers were free to make plays on the running backs.
It didn’t matter, Lincoln still lost 14-0. The Patriots had their chances. Kenny Brown dropped a pass in the end zone and Eric Givens overthrew Donnell Smith on the sideline “sleeper” play that surely would have resulted in a touchdown.
Highlands went on to easily win the AAA state title that year. The Lincoln faithful still talk about what could have been.
Lincoln County finished the season 12-1.
1982 would be the end of an era. It would be the fourth and final season for Head Coach Donald *Snooky* Wooldridge. His final team won 8 straight to start the 1982 season before falling to Boyle County 14-6.
The Patriots won the sub-district again and again met Cawood for the district championship. The game was defensive struggle early. Then, Cawood put star running back David Hensley in shotgun formation, letting him take the direct snap and pick a hole in which to run through. Cawood won 28-6.
Lincoln County finished 9-2.
Snooky Wooldridge compiled a four year record of 38-9; his teams were sub-district champs 3 of the 4 years and were district champs and regional runner-up twice.
Steve Sullivan, who had been an assistant to both Bill Ed Leedy and Snooky Wooldridge, took over as head coach in 1983. The most entertaining game of the season was an overtime loss to Danville, 28-20. Danville was a big
favorite coming into the game.
After losing to Estill County 20-14 the prior week, Coach Sullivan public ally detailed his theory that someone on his staff was out to sabotage him as head coach. The inference was that it was an assistant coach who had been overlooked for the head coaching job. He pointed out that the Estill County defense seemed to know Lincoln’s plays as soon as the huddle was broken. The Estill County linebackers were calling out the plays!
Sullivan held secret early morning practices prior to the Danville game. They moved around, practicing at a different elementary school each day. The players did not even know where they were going to practice until they were loaded on the bus. The assistant coaches were not allowed to come to
Sullivan had some surprises and they nearly worked. He started off the game in the single-wing offense and marched the ball down the field and scored. Also, he had the skill position players switch jerseys so it would be harder to key on all star Kenny Phoenix. It all worked and the game was sent into overtime. Danville fans were shocked but the Lincoln faithful made Admiral stadium come alive as hope surged that the Patriots could pull off the upset. Danville pulled out the win, 28-20.
Lincoln County finished the season 5-6.
That would be Sullivan’s only season as head coach. He later coached at Garrard County High School and returned after that as an assistant at Lincoln County.
After Steve Sullivan*s resignation, Lincoln County Principal Jack Portwood put together a search committee to find the best possible football coach.
After interviewing the candidates, they settled on a little known coach from Bell County by the name of Dudley Hilton. He had verbally agreed to accept the job and was going to be presented at the next school board meeting. He called at the last minute and informed Mr. Portwood that he would be staying at Bell County. Apparently, some of the Bell County backers had arranged for a new double-wide mobile home and a new hunting shotgun for their Coach. At least that is the story that was always told around Stanford.
The committee reconvened and hired a man who they had thought would do just as good of a job as Dudley Hilton but who had no head coaching experience. He was working at the time as an assistant at Cumberland High School. He had been the defensive coordinator for Cumberland during their back-to-back class A runners-up in 1982 and 1983.
That’s how Larry Phillips came to be the fourth coach at Lincoln County High School. He was originally from Campbellsville and played quarterback at Western Kentucky University. Even though he was a former quarterback, his specialty was defense. He brought his “44 Stack” defense, which was centered around its linebackers, known as Whammer, Banger, Blood and Guts.
His first team, in 1984, finished 6-4, losing the sub district championship to eventual AAA champion Danville.
The 1985 season involved a quarterback controversy between freshman Jason Todd and Junior Tevin McElroy. Jason Todd eventually developed into a great punter, making All-SEC at the University of Kentucky.
The Patriots, however, struggled and won only 4 games while losing 7 in 1985. Other than a 49-0 loss to Danville, the other 6 losses could have easily gone the other way. The players were starting to understand Coach Phillips’ system.
Lincoln County was a field goal away from making the playoffs in 1986. The sub-district championship came down to the final game of the season with Jessamine County. Lincoln County was trailing 23-21 with about a minute to play. They had penetrated deep into Colt territory. After a tackle behind the line of scrimmage, Lincoln had the ball 4th and Goal to Go at the Jessamine 10 yard line. Even though the Patriots had a capable place kicker in Scott Mercer, Coach Phillips chose to try for the touchdown. Lincoln came up short and Jessamine County advanced to the playoffs.
Lincoln finished 7-3 with losses to Danville, Boyle County and Jessamine
Lincoln County returned to the playoffs in 1987. The KHSAA had
restructured the playoffs so that two teams from each district would
advance. Jessamine County won the district and Lincoln was runner-up. The Patriots bowed out in the first round by losing to Marion County 21-12.
Lincoln finished the season 8-3, with losses to Danville, Jessamine County
and Marion County.
Lincoln County fans are still talking about 1988. All the pieces of the puzzle started coming together. The complicated *44" defense that Coach Phillips brought with him from Cumberland High School was starting to click. They gave up only 89 points during the 14 games in 1988 and recorded 6 shutouts. That’s an average of only 6.3 points per game. David Bird and Troy Coleman were the “Blood” and “Guts” inside linebackers. They anchored a Patriot defense that lived up to the old adage “bend but don’t break”.
Strangely, the Patriots had two rain-out games that resulted in Saturday contests. The season opener at Harrison County was rained out and played on Saturday as was the mid-season game on the road verses the Bowling Green Purples.
They recorded the school’s second undefeated regular season and won 13 straight games before losing to Paducah Tilghman in the AAA Semi-finals 27-7. Tailback Michael Penman was the state’s leading rusher and scorer that season and went on to play at EKU. Penman scored 250 of the 402 points tallied by the Patriots that season.
The Patriots managed a lopsided 20-0 win over the Danville Admirals and their new coach, Sam Harp. It remains as Lincoln County’s only win ever over the storied Admiral program.
Lincoln County finished the season 13-1. District Champion and Regional Champion.
In 1989, the top two teams from each district advanced to the playoffs. Lincoln County only lost three games in 1989. One was to Danville (29-6) but the other two were to district foes Woodford County (14-7) and Jessamine County (14-12).
Lincoln missed the playoffs but worked on setting the stage for a deep run the following season. Lincoln County finished 8-3 in 1989.
1990 was the season that Coach Larry Phillips had worked so hard to achieve. He once figured out his hours as Head Coach and divided his coaching by that number. They pay came out to less that 50 cents per hour.
He was dedicated and put everything that he had into the football
His goal was to win a football title at Lincoln County. He came closer than ever before in 1990 when his Patriots made the finals and met a very tough Ashland Paul Blazer team. Lincoln County lost 35-13.
During the regular season, the Patriots won 12 straight after losing the second game of the season to Danville (14-0). In the playoffs, they beat Nelson County (26-14), Meade County (34-0) and Owensboro (27-3).
Lincoln finished 13-2. They were District Champions, Regional Champions and AAA State Runner-up.
Larry Phillips decided to move on after the 1990 season. His wife, Debi, was from Oldham County and they wanted to move to that area of the state.
Larry also wanted to work his way into the administration but Lincoln
County would not let a head coach also be an assistant principal or
athletic director. Larry became the athletic director at the new South
Oldham High School and is currently the Principal at Trimble County High School.
Marty Jaggers was hired to replace Larry Phillips. Marty*s father, Joe, had won several state championships and was a coaching legend. Marty played for his dad at Trigg County High School and then played at Western Kentucky University.
His first Patriot team won the district and lost in a playoff rematch to district rival Woodford County. The final record was 8 wins and 4 losses.
Being alum of Western Kentucky University, made the opening game of the 1992 season special for Marty Jaggers. The Patriots beat Bowling Green 39-27 at Western*s stadium in the Heritage Bowl.
Lincoln County finished third in the district but advanced to face the fourth place finisher, South Oldham, for the Regional Championship. South Oldham had won the regular season game 17-13 and then won the Title game 14-6
Lincoln County finished the season 8-5 and Regional Runner-up.
In only his third season as head coach, Marty Jaggers took the Patriots to the AAA finals. His high-powered “broken wishbone” offense amassed 528 points in 15 games. Jeremy Simpson was the state’s leading scorer (284 points) and rusher (3,044 yards) and was named Kentucky’s Mr. Football.
Lincoln County’s only regular season loss was to Danville (26-12). They gave up only 14 points in the four playoff games prior to the finals by beating Barren County (42-0), Nelson County (35-7), Meade County (28-0) and Warren Central (32-7).
In the AAA championship game, they ran into a very talented Covington Catholic team. Catholic won the AAA title game 28-13.
1993 marked the first year since the school’s inception that Boyle County was not a football opponent. After losing 6 straight (1987 through 1992), new head coach Chuck Smith decided to drop the Patriots because the Rebels could no longer compete.
Lincoln County finished the season 13-2. They were district champions, regional champions and AAA Runner-up. Jeremy Simpson was 1993 Mr. Football.
Lincoln County surprised some people by losing only one regular season game in 1994. (Danville 44-7).
The Patriots won another district championship and appeared ready to make another long run in the AAA playoffs. However, the Patriots lost the Regional Championship to Nelson County 17-12.
Lincoln County finished the season 11-2. They were district champions and regional runner-up.
It was a season of close losses. First the Patriots lost to Breathitt County (21-19) in Jackson. Breathitt County went on to win 30+ games and two straight AA titles.
Lincoln then made the short trip to Danville and lost to the Admirals 7-0. Lincoln had its chances to win this game but just came up short.
The next loss was 23-20 at Harrison County. Harrison took a big lead and Lincoln came storming back to make a game of it.
They lost 21-20 in overtime at Franklin County. Marty Jaggers was called for a penalty on an extra point attempt when he walked across the field to see about a player who was injured on the touchdown play. On the way back across the field, he made a comment about the PAT to this quarterback and was called for the penalty by the officials.
Despite all of that, the Patriots still finished second in the district and eventually made it to the regional championship game where they lost 25-21 to Montgomery County, a team they had beaten in the regular season 28-19.
Lincoln County finished the season 7-6. They were district runner-up and regional runner-up.
1996 would prove to be Lincoln County*s worst season in twenty years. The Patriots finished 2-8 and were not very competitive in the losses.
It would be Marty Jaggers’ final season. There was no pressure on him to resign and he waited until just before practice started in 1997 to do so.
Lincoln’s only wins in 1996 came against Leslie County (52-18) and Bourbon County (21-7). Marty Jaggers finished at Lincoln County with a final record of 49 wins and 27 losses. He played for the regional championship 4 of the 6 years he was head coach.
Assistant Coach Tim Estes was hired in the summer of 1997 after Marty Jaggers unexpectedly resigned. Estes was a graduate of Lincoln County High School and Eastern Kentucky University. He had started as an assistant under Larry Phillips and had continued with Jaggers. After Lincoln’s 1993 AAA Finals appearance, Estes took the head coaching job at Webster County High School. His first team was 9-3 at Webster County before suffering through a 0-10 season in 1995. He returned to Lincoln County and coached under Marty Jaggers again in 1996.
After resigning, Jaggers continued to teach at Lincoln County High School but he became a volunteer assistant coach at Danville High School. The Jaggers family decided to move to Danville and Josh enrolled there.
The 1997 team seemed to want to prove something to Coach Jaggers for leaving. They fought hard all season long and one of their best games came on the road at Danville. Trailing 21-14 late in the game, Lincoln County used the “hook and lateral” play to advance the ball deep in Danville >territory. Lincoln finally punched it in.
With only a few seconds left in the game. Lincoln being on the road and being the underdog, decided to go for the win and not the tie. They lined up for the two point conversion. Everybody was on the edge of their seats. The handoff went to Maurice Napier over right tackle, he hit a solid wall, bounced off, spun and was tackled. Danville held on for a 21-20 win.
Lincoln finished 1997 with 6 wins and 5 losses. They finished 4th in the district and were beaten in the 1st round of the playoffs by Valley High School (60-21).
The Death Valley Bowl began in 1998 and Lincoln County*s first opponent was Marion County. The Patriots lost the inaugural DVB game (33-13).
However, Lincoln County managed a spot as district runner-up before losing in the first round to South Oldham (39-31)
Lincoln finished 7-4 in 1998.
The most successful season that Tim Estes would have as the head coach of Lincoln County High School came in 1999. Lincoln County won their Death Valley Bowl match with Mercer County (41-14).
Lincoln County finished second in the district to Pulaski Southwestern and hosted Breckinridge County in the first round of the playoffs. The Patriots won 27-19 and then went on the road to face Louisville Central. The Central game was played at Shawnee High School, which the Patriots won 27-13.
That set the stage for a Regional Championship game with Bullitt East. The Chargers had a very potent running game and beat the Patriots 38-12.
Lincoln County finished the season 9-4 and was Regional Runner-up.
Lincoln County opened the 2000 season by facing Rockcastle County in the Death Valley Bowl. The Rockets won 24-14
Lincoln County finished third in the district and went on the road in the playoffs to face Louisville Waggener High School. Lincoln County lost 26-21.
Lincoln finished 6-5.
Boyle County returned to Lincoln County’s schedule in 2001. The Rebels were coming off back-to-back AA titles and undefeated seasons. Through realignment, Boyle had been put in AAA and in Lincoln County’s district.
This would have been a welcomed event ten years earlier. Now though,
Lincoln County was in no position to compete with Boyle.
Lincoln County finished 3-7 and they lost to Boyle County 69-0.
It was the final season for Coach Tim Estes. Being a true supporter of the program, he wanted to see better for Lincoln football and he selflessly stepped down. Tim Estes posted a 5 year record of 31 wins and 25 losses.
He continues to teach at Lincoln County High School.
After an exhaustive search, Lincoln County hired Rob Lucas as the school’s 6th Head Football Coach. Lucas is a 1990 graduate of Lincoln County High School and played football on the 1987, 1988 and 1989 teams. He graduated from Cumberland College and was most recently an assistant coach at Somerset High School.
Things were tough for him in 2002 at Lincoln County High School. He was able to “book-end” the season with wins over Franklin County (21-0) and McCreary Central (35-12).
2001 and 2002 are the first time since 1975/1976 that Lincoln County posted back-to-back losing seasons. It was the first time since 1986/1986 that Lincoln County missed the playoffs for two seasons in a row.
Lincoln County finished the season 2-8. The two teams that they beat were each winless (0-10) on the season. There is no where to go but up for the Lincoln County High School Football Program.
After county-wide consolidation in 1974, Lincoln County High School began playing football in class AAA. The first playoff team was in 1979. The Patriots recorded undefeated regular seasons in 1981 and 1988. They were AAA Runner-up in 1990 and 1993. Mr. Football for 1993 was Lincoln County’s Jeremy Simpson.
Lincoln County High School has played 323 football games over the past 29 years. They have won 202 games while losing 121, for a winning percentage of .625.