Apollo coach John Edge is no stranger to football in the city of Owensboro or the surrounding area. Despite his first season at the helm of the Eagles ending on Friday and several standout seniors graduating, the mood around the Eagle program is still positive and trending upward.
The Eagles end the season at 4-4 after falling to McCracken County 21-13 in the first round of the KHSAA Class 6A State Playoffs.
“Our kids played their rear ends off,” he said. “We got some questionable calls late in the game and it kind of steered their way. We’re up 13-10 and there were times we could have scored a touchdown to put us up 20-10 but it didn’t happen … The main thing is, I’m happy for these kids. They had a great year even though we didn’t get to do a whole lot of stuff because of the situation that we’re in, as well as everybody else. I’m proud of these kids, they fought.”
The Mustangs struck first on a 25-yard pick-six with 3:09 left in the first, but the Apollo Eagles were about to get their first points of the game.
A 24-yard field goal from Harrison Bowman and a Damian Lovinsky 43-yard pass to Harold Patterson made it 10-7 Apollo with 3:06 left in the first half.
The Eagles carried that lead into the break, then Bowman added a 31-yard field goal to give AHS a 13-7 lead with 7:25 left in the third quarter.
With 4:40 left in the third, McCracken County’s Hunter Bradley started doing what he does.
Bradley first’s came from 44 yards out, then he added a 26-yard score with 10:17 left in would be the last scoring play of the game.
Edge said his team was looking forward to the challenge on Friday night.
“They were excited,” he said. “We felt like if we were going to win the football game, we had to stop the running back and most of the night we did until about the fourth quarter when he got going a little bit. We had some questionable face mask calls that gave them some cheap first downs, but that’s the way the game is played. You’ve got play through it. I’m happy for these players. They worked hard.”
Lovinsky was 6-16 for 91 yards with a score and two interceptions as Harold Patterson led the way on offense for the Eagles.
The Apollo senior ran for 130 yards in his final football game for the Eagles to put an exclamation point on a productive two years for the program.
In recent years, the Apollo defense hasn’t been as stout but this season, Edge said he made it a point to strengthen that aspect.
In their loss to McCracken County earlier this season, Apollo gave up 45 points but that wasn’t the case Friday.
The Eagles only allowed 14 points on defense during their second meeting with the Mustangs. Edge said it’s a sign of things to come, but they will have to change the way they do certain things with new personnel coming into the program and rising through the ranks.
“Going into this year, that’s one of the things we had to fix,” he said of their defense. “You’re not going to win ball games giving up 40. We have a lot of good players on this side of the ball, we have a lot coming back too. Very salty, tough kids coming back on this side of the ball. They’re going to have to continue that. You win championships by running the football and playing great defense — you’ve got to play championship defense.”
The Eagles graduate almost 20 seniors this year, including Lovinsky, Patterson, Bowman, Logan Weedman, Mykel Whitney, Thomas Ferguson, Cameron Baker, Parker Bates and several other impact players.