By MALCOLM C. KNOX
Associated Press Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Way back in September, there probably
weren't many people who expected successful seasons for Louisville
Central's and Fort Campbell's football teams. The Yellowjackets and
Falcons had a combined record of 0-4.
But even then both head coaches, Ty Scroggins of Central and
Shawn Berner of Fort Campbell, say they didn't worry.
"When that boat starts to rock, don't be the first one to get
off the boat," Scroggins told his players.
Despite the early losses, Scroggins and Berner knew they had the
players to win. They proved it in December, winning the first
football state championship for each school. The Yellowjackets beat
Belfry 27-17 in the in the 3A final, while the Falcons edged
Newport Central Catholic 21-7 to claim the 2A crown.
For their achievements Scroggins and Berner were chosen as
Kentucky High School Football Coaches of the Year by the Associated
The similarities for Berner and Scroggins extend farther than
slow starts and awards. The championships their teams won
represented more than just the players and coaching staff, they
The Fort Campbell players come from military families. Twelve
players had parents deployed overseas during the championship game.
Scroggins credits the military upbringing for the character of
"They're intelligent, overachievers," he said. "Anything they
do, they want to do well."
Cadiz radio station WHBO broadcast the championship game over
the Internet so soldiers overseas could listen.
"I think we represent more than Fort Campbell, without a
doubt," Berner said. "I think they represent the armed forces as
The Yellowjackets are also ambassadors for more than just their
school, Scroggins said.
Central was one of a few schools black students in Louisville
could attend before busing, and counts among its alumni Muhammad
Ali and Lenny Lyles.
Scroggins is constantly greeted and thanked by people who were
Central students long before he got there, he said. One former
student in his 60s, Scroggins estimates, was particularly moved,
the coach said.
"We had a guy who said he sat in the stands and just cried,"
When he talks about the significance of their championship,
Scroggins almost sounds like he and Berner could be reading from
the same script, with the appropriate school filled in, of course.
"It's way bigger than the school," he said. "It's way bigger
As much as winning football games, Scroggins said he wanted to
change the negative perception of the school. He had his players
wear ties to school on game days, except for homecoming, and on
road trips. Scroggins has received calls after games from their
opponents, complimenting his players on their look and behavior, he
"Now people say there are positive things that go on at
Central," Scroggins said. "The perception of Central was not
where it should have been, but now I think it is."
Other coaches who received votes for Coach of the Year were Mark
Brown of John Hardin; Ben Bruni, Warren East; Jack Haskins, Lone
Oak; Dudley Hilton, Bell County; Wayne Lohaus, Fulton City; and
Paul Rains, Lex. Catholic.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)