Thirty-five wins, one loss. So goes the record for Owensboro Middle School football over the last four years.
The one blemish in an otherwise perfect record? A defeat at the hands of the College View Middle School Vikings last year. OMS finished the 2018 season by getting their revenge with a 40-0 win against the Vikings. The victory improved their record to 8-0 on the season and ensured another year of total dominance for the 8th-grade squad.
Head coach Greg Brown took the reigns of the program six seasons ago, following an eight-year stint as an assistant coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College. He immediately got to work building his program into a dynasty. In the years since he took over at Owensboro, he said this year’s team is arguably the most talented group of players.
“All the kids did a great job of running to the ball and stopping forward progress this year,” Brown said. “On defense, they were focused on taking care of business. We didn’t give up many touchdowns. On offense, they were unselfish. We tell the kids every year that it doesn’t matter who scores as long as we are scoring points.
“This year there wasn’t one single complaint from a player about his role on the team. That’s what you want as a coach.”
The numbers for this year back up what Brown said — in eight games this season, OMS outscored their opponents by a total of 214 points, putting up 258 points while only giving up 44.
The OMS football team is certainly a force to be reckoned with when they step onto the field. Their success is known throughout their conference and the region. They are constantly looking for stiffer competition and put plenty of work into being the best they can be at what they do.
However, Brown said all of the positive accolades and impressive statistics they rack up ultimately mean nothing if he doesn’t graduate great young men who are successful beyond the football field.
For Brown, the success of his program isn’t just defined by the final score at the end of each game. Instead, the focus is on getting students to learn that their current life situations don’t have to stop them from becoming positive contributors to their community around them.
“A lot of our kids come from difficult life situations,” he said. “We try to instill in them that there will always bumps in the road of life, but if they can learn to deal with adversity now, then they will be better suited to become positive contributors in society.”
Brown said the requirements it takes to play the game can play a big role in building those skills.
“Football helps with that, because they have to get the grades in school to be eligible to play,” Brown said. “Ultimately, we want them to know that if they want better they can achieve it through hard work. Their current home lives don’t have to determine their futures.”
Of the 36 players who were on the team this year, seven have been nominated to play in the Brett Cooper Football All-American Bowl, which takes place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Those nominated to represent Owensboro in December’s All-American Bowl are Kenyata Carbon (No. 1 – RB/WR/DB), Jeremiah Goodwin (No. 9 – RB/DE), Ethan Pendleton (No. 11 – WR/SS), Trey Miller (No. 12 – TE/LB), Almarrow Talbott (No. 16 – RB/LB), Zach Clark (No. 21 – LB/WR) and Sahvon Hines (No. 58 – OL/DL).
Some notable alumni from Brown’s tenure as head coach are current Owensboro High School standouts Austin Gough, I’monte Owsley, Tre’von Green, Treyvon Tinsley, Ethan Avery, Tyren Hayden and Ben Flaherty. Brown said those young men represent what he hopes each of his players will one day become — great athletes, but even better people.
As the offseason sets in, OMS will look toward spring practice in order to acclimate the current seventh-graders to the standards of success set by those who’ve gone before them. Spring practice is a two-week intensive period, supplemented with weightlifting and athletic development all throughout the spring semester.
All of the programming is specifically designed to get the middle school players ready to jump into the high school football program upon graduation. Brown said he will continue to be try to schedule tougher competition for the 2019 season. He also hopes to figure out an effective way to run a postseason tournament in the western Kentucky region, something Brown said is currently lacking for middle school football.