On December 7, 2002, an 11 year-old Nick Roush watched his cousin win the greatest Kentucky State Championship Football Game at a chilly Old Cardinal Stadium. Michael Bush was the best athlete I’d ever seen, throwing 468 yards and rushing for 116 while making what seemed like every tackle on defense. Male’s 56 points couldn’t keep up with my big cousin Brian Brohm, whose 552 yards and 7 TD passes led Trinity to the 59-56 win. I had always been a basketball fan, but after watching poetry on the football field I knew that one day I’d follow in my family’s footsteps and bring home a state football title.
I took the path less traveled, opting for small 2-A DeSales instead of the powerhouse Trinity. We weren’t the most talented, but what we definitely thought we were. For the first time in my life, I was on a team that walked the talk. The day after Thanksgiving- with all of my family and friends amongst the thousands in attendance- I reached cloud nine, racking up 3 sacks, including a goal line stand, to become only the 2nd team in my school’s history to reach the State Championship. The next week was the most surreal time of my life, spending every waking minute thinking about reaching my dream; being the guy on the front of the sports section was right in my fingertips. News’ crews came to the school, we held pep rallies, every practice was the most fun practice you ever had; it’s something that to this day I find it difficult finding the words describing my high during that week. We had the school’s all-time tackler and rusher, while I was leading the state in sacks; the only thing in the way of my dream? Antonio Andrews and the undefeated defending State Champion Ft. Campbell Falcons.
Well technically one of my dreams came true, I was on the cover of the Courier-Journal’s sports page. I’m #10.
The state’s eventual Mr. Football led his team to a powerful second-half comeback, shattering our dreams with a 29-9 win. It didn’t end very well either, with the shit-talking pouring over into multiple upon multiple unnecessary roughness/late-hit penalties, with our Coach nearly whooping the opposing coaches ass after he sent their All-State linebacker after our kicker (who was our QB, and now U of L’s punter). While most of you may think hate is a strong word, I respect Mr. Andrews’ ability, but he is a dream stealer. He stole mine and he took away Joker’s dream job after completing the trick play below in Overtime to Kill the Cats at Commonwealth.
If watching that play doesn’t bring up bad memories and stir up the hate in your heart, consider Andrews Public Enemy #1 next week. No disrespect to the Sun Belt’s preseason Player of the Year MLB Andrew Jackson, but if Petrino’s team wants to play above Sun Belt level Mr. Andrews has to play out of his mind. He has the potential to single-handedly make Petrino’s first WKU offense great; after all he did only come up 89 yards short of Barry Sanders’ single-season NCAA all-purpose yard record last year. Andrews receives the hate because he’s good enough to have haters. If you’re the kind of person that likes to cheer against someone, pick the target that is WKU’s only chance at upsetting the Cats in back-to-back years.