Gridiron Cards celebrate season at banquet

Published 11:16 am Wednesday, November 29, 2023

On Thursday, Nov. 2, George Rogers Clark High School was defeated by Tates Creek in the 2023 KHSAA Class 6A state football tournament.

However, there was more to be done before the season officially came to a close.

On Thursday, Nov. 16, the GRC football banquet occurred at Robert D. Campbell Junior High School on Boone Avenue.

Email newsletter signup

“We played hard. We played a tough schedule,” said Michael Heath, the president of GRC Football Boosters. “Overall, since [Coach] Joe [Chirico] has been here, I think this team was more on the same page and closer together than the others.”

It was known that GRC football would have its battles going into 2023, with several teams on its schedule that have shown recent postseason success.

Among them were Frederick Douglass, Bryan Station, Central Hardin, Belfry, Ballard, Madison Central and Franklin County.

However, the team faced an unexpected challenge when several players were lost to transfers or other decisions beginning Aug. 1, with the regular season just weeks away.

While they lost the regular season opener to Central Hardin, the Cards responded strongly one week later.

On a rainy Friday night in Pike County, the Cards overcame a deficit en route to a convincing 53-27 victory.

“I hope they remember the Belfry win. I think that was a huge win for the program!”, Heath said.

The team also saw victories against Pulaski County, Henry Clay and Montgomery County.

On Thursday evening, as the event began, coach Chirico recognized both coaches and middle school athletes.

Noting that the latter played some of the state’s most formidable competition while getting ready to play at the high school level, he stated that the strength of the coaches will ultimately be measured later in life.

“We won’t know what kind of coaching we’ve done for ten years until they become husbands, fathers, [and individuals] in the workforce,” Chirico said. “Football will go away, but the lessons you learn in life continue.”

Throughout the evening, other recognitions took place.

While sophomores and juniors were honored, so was a senior class consisting of Ashton Tackett, Hayden Heath, Hunter Gulley, Brian Crawford, Carter Maynard, Ty Miller, Quintin Falls, Darius Ridley, Bryce Chestnut and Clay Turley.

Coach Chirico spoke of the Class of 2023.

“[I’m] so proud of every one of them,” he said.

Tackett and Heath received particular honors, each being named to the 2023 KHSAA All-District Team for Class 6A District 8.

While the former helped anchor the offensive line, the latter – a starting linebacker – also stepped in at running back after Chestnut was lost for the season due to injury.

The team also recognized members of the academic all-state team, including Heath, Daniel Kubican, Jones Howard, Levi Ross, Hayden Cockrell, Jake Thompson, Greg Gibson (Honorable Mention) and Yeremiah Israel (Honorable Mention).

Members of GRC Football Boosters were also honored, noting the financial figures spent to support the program.

Looking ahead, Coach Chirico emphasized focusing on big and small tasks to help put the team in a favorable situation going into 2024.

“If we do the little things, we’ll take care of the locker room,” Chirico said. “If the locker room is taken care of, the stuff on the field will be taken care of too.”