Friday, May 8, 2015

My Earliest Memories

My earliest memories as a child was not going to visit Santa Claus. It was dressing up in a Manual football uniform with horns painted on my helmet by my father John 62.' The first game I remember was the 1969 Thanksgiving Day game against Male at the Fairgrounds. Manual won 20-6. I can still picture the fans running over on the field to celebrate. From that point on I was convinced there was no other team in the world I wanted to play on.

I have sat in the stands in Manual Stadium as a child,on the bench as a player, in the stands as an enthusiastic fan, and a proud parent of a Cheerleader daughter Tami 01 and her little sister Tiffani 07. My enthusiasm for football corrupted a early childhood friend Tim Roller who would have had normal childhood if not for my conning the kids in my neighborhood to play football. I drug him to Manual games as a kid. After he graduated from PRP in 84 he was curious as to why I was still supporting the big red in a time when the wins on the field where few and far in between. After the Buddy Pfaadt era ended in 1981 and the school became a Magnet school in 1984, it seemed the good days were gone forever. The 1985 season ended with an 0-10 record. It started many freshman and although they did not win a single game, they played with passion and courage.

At this time there were few fans in the stands besides parents. There were some guys I had recognized over the years who like me sat through every game home and away, rain or shine. Don Heavrin, George Secrest, Mike Jutz, John Wright, John Warren, David R.Wright. Yes there are two David Wrights. It was during this winless season that we began to congregate and talk of better days of past and the hope that one day Manual would become a powerhouse again. It was during this season that the “Old Goats were born. That bunch of freshmen in 1985 that went 0-10 finished 10-0 in the 1988 regular season thrashing an undefeated Male team 28-0 at Cardinal Stadium.They finished the season as State Runner-up 13-1. The next season Manual fell to 1-9 even losing to Atherton 19-14. Manual would not have a winning season again until 1992.

When Jerry Mayes was hired in 1995 he took over a program in that many believed could never compete with Male and St. X ever again. The Old Goats believed. He rebuilt the program the right way, bringing in a tremendous cast of assistants. I have met many of the kids in the program when my oldest daughter was a student. They are all great kids, many winning scholarships at such schools as Northwestern, Harvard, etc.

Since Dr. Keepers has taken over in 1991,we have the resurgence of the Alumni Association, The Hall of Fame and an academic reputation second to none in the State of Kentucky. Since Joe Nichols became the head coach in 2001we have seen the program continue to improve. His first team went 9-2 beating Male 20-13. What a night to remember ! Our first win against our Old Rival since 1988. How many programs out there can say they have defeated Male and Trinity and pushed St. X to the wall the last 10 years ? We now have a very talented team that entertains every week no matter who we play. The anticipation builds every week during the seasons of what good things may come. We have a tremendous academic program and all the athletic teams are very competitive, especially my beloved football team. All the alumni and friends of the school since 1892 should be very proud. Now BEAT MALE !

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