Bardstown
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1967 Class A Champions
1967 CLASS A Champions

The Long Road to the State Championship

The first step in the quest for the Class A State Title came with a resounding 31-7 district championship victory over crosstown rival Old Kentucky Home and Coach Joe Jaggers. It was a balanced scoring attack featuring Alan bottom, Donnie Rogers, Larry Donald and Phil McKay.

BHS took the Region 2 Regional Title from 11 ranked and 10 point favored Garrard County with a 26-20 upset win. Donnie Rogers provided most of the punch with a dazzling exhibition of h is running skills. The big break of the game came when Frank Cambron recovered a stray Garrard County punt in the end zone. The Kentucky Standard headlines read “Bardstown Region Champs 1967” and Rampaging Tigers Rake Up Garrard County. Noted as being well balanced with speed and power, Martin’s team had the running speed of Donnie Rogers, and the passing combinations from quarterback Alan Bottom to end Phil McKay. After the Garrard County game a Courier Journal reporter wrote, “Not often in the muscle game of football is the smallest in stature the biggest in performance.” He continued, “Darting in, out, and around the giants trying to catch him, the halfpint halfback gained 133 yards in 14 carries and scored three touchdowns in leading his team into next week’s semi-final game with Tompkinsville.”

Bardstown sent the Region I champs, Tompkinsville to their only defeat of the year by rambling to a 42-13 victory and the Semi-State Championship. The Bardstown Tigers met Tompkinsville at the Bardstown field on November 17. It didn’t take long to see that the speed of Rogers and the Tiger defense was going to overcome the heavier Bears of Tompkinsville as Rogers outraced everyone on the first offensive play to score. The Bears had only given up 8 touchdowns in ten games. At half time the score was Bardstown 14, Tompkinsville 6. In the third quarter, Bardstown’s McKay scored on passes from Bottom. He “lifted” the ball from the hands of a Tompkinsville fullback and carried it over making it 35-6. Each team scored once more with the final score being 42-13 Bardstown. The game started well for the Tigers when on the first offensive play, Donnie Rogers raced around left end for an 80-yard touchdown. Phil McKay kept the scoreboard busy adding up his three touchdowns. However, total team effort was instrumental in keeping the Tigers in the running for the State Crown.

After beating Garrard County “the toughest opponent all season,” the Tigers took Tompkinsville in stride and now faced the Mt. Sterling Trojans in Louisville on November 24 for the Class A title. The town strung banners across the streets and decorated store windows and yards. The turning point of the game came when the Trojans fumbled on their 36 yard line and Larry Donald recovered for the Tigers. Bottom passed to McKay again on the 22 and he scored the second touchdown. The third and last Tiger touchdown came in the last four minutes of the 4th quarter.

Bottom scored on a short run after a McKay interception. Quarterback Bottom gave credit to his offensive line for giving him time to find a receiver. The defensive play of the team held the Trojans to only two touchdowns and a final score of 20 – 13 and only 1 first down in the second half. Donnie Rogers had an ankle injury from the Tompkinsville game and was played sparingly; John Arnold filled in for him. It was a well-deserved honor for the coaching staff and the young men who performed as the mighty Tigers. Later Coach Martin discussed the Bardstown comeback, “All we did was put (pass receiver) Phil McKay out there, one on one, and he just outmaneuvered the Mt. Sterling boys.” “We were also sending out a back who was cutting inside, thus leaving McKay to cut toward the sidelines and be left open.” The strategy worked perfectly. The 6-foot-2 McKay immediately showed why he was a first team Class A All-State choice at end!”

“Toast of the town!” became a new name for Coach Garnis Martin. He wasn’t able to wipe the smile off his face after his team’s performance. Assistant coach Jude Talbott also had a lot to be pleased about as did Freshman Coach J.D. Minnehan and Cub Football Coach Denny Lewis. The City of Bardstown received statewide recognition and publicity in the three weeks of the Tigers trip to the top. The Bardstown High School football coaches and players were recognized by their hometown fans and their out of-town fans as the best in their class in the state of Kentucky. They always thought so, now they had proved it.

Bardstown High School

400 N. 5th Street
Bardstown, KY 40004
Phone (502) 331-8802
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