GRC football looks ahead to new season

Published 11:30 am Thursday, June 13, 2024

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At this year’s Kentucky Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester, the George Rogers Clark High School football team proudly set up its own booth. 

Yet it’s far from the only way the football team makes itself known and prepares for the upcoming season. 

The Cards recently held their spring football game after weeks of practice in preparation for the upcoming season, which begins in late August. 

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“I thought we got a lot of reps by a lot of kids and got some things on film,” said GRC Head Football Coach Joe Chirico. “We had a good spring. I thought everybody worked hard. Everybody did everything they needed to do.” 

The Cards, who finished last season with a 4-7 record, will play a similar schedule in 2024. 

While confident in their abilities, GRC knows it faces no easy task. 

Along with traditional powerhouses like Belfry, their schedule features teams such as Frederick Douglass and Bryan Station. 

While the former won the Class 5A state championship in 2022 before losing in overtime in the Class 6A semifinal game last year to eventual champion Trinity, the latter lost in the championship game last year after defeating four opponents in the postseason. 

“It’s [going to] be a challenge, just like last year,” he said. “We’ve got to try to keep our motivation throughout the year and keep working as coaches and players [to] try to get better every week.” 

Set to return to the Cards’ on offense will be standouts such as quarterback Sam Clements, offensive lineman Keenan Ogle, and wide receiver Yeremiah Israel. 

Defensively, two-way player Mahni John, linebacker Jones Howard, and defensive back Santi Guerrant are among several returnees. 

While several names might be notable, Chirico emphasizes that the team focusing on itself as a whole is essential.

“I loved how dedicated they were,” he said. “[They were] paying attention to the details and trying to be as efficient and clean as possible. [I’m] proud of them.” 

While Chirico leads the football program, he wasn’t the only individual on the sideline who holds the rank of coach for a GRC program. 

Leading the other two teams were none other than Head Boys Basketball Coach Josh Cook and Head Girls Basketball Coach Robbie Graham. 

“It’s good to have those coaches there,” Chirico added. “They’re very successful, so we like for them to come around and be a part of our [game].” 

He also added that current eighth graders were addressed. 

“We had an eighth-grade signing day [for] them committing to the football team,” Chirico said. “We recognize that.” 

As spring turns to summer and the regular season draws closer, optimism remains. 

“They all did [well],” Chirico said.