Hey, you! Get in! We’re going to Bardstown!
I don’t normally pick up complete strangers but you seem cool and like you’re in for a trip to Bardstown High School, home of Kroger’s KSR Game of the Week. Bardstown hosts rival Elizabethtown tomorrow night and we’re going to be there. But before we arrive, you should read up on these notes in this week’s 20 things to know…
1. Bardstown is the second oldest city in Kentucky.
The city of Bardstown’s existence dates all the way back to 1780 when it was settled by European Americans still excited from getting the big W in the war. Bardstown’s Old Talbott Tavern, which still stands and operates today, was built around this time, so they probably had some fun in there.
Harrodsburg is Kentucky’s oldest city, FYI.
2. Before it was Bardstown it was Baird’s Town and Beardstown and Beards Town.
You can learn all about this at the Bardstown Historical Museum.
3. Bardstown is home to “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Stephen Foster was staring out over a farm in Bardstown when he wrote the words to Kentucky’s state song, “My Old Kentucky Home.” Fans of the song can visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park to see the land and tour the mansion where Foster penned the hit.
There is a golf course there too. Foster left that part out.
4. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival draws visitors from all over the world.
One of Kentucky’s top cultural festivals, Bardstown’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival is a weeklong celebration of bourbon that draws over 50,000 visitors to Nelson County from all over the world. It is the state’s official bourbon festival and its events include a bourbon barrel relay race between the hard working employees of the distilleries around the state:
5. Bardstown was named the Most Beautiful Small Town In America.
Bardstown has been called a number of nice things over the years, but none quite as nice as “America’s Most Beautiful Small Town,” as decided by Rand McNally and USA Today. A five-month search across the country resulted in Bardstown earning the distinction over everywhere else.
6. Bardstown does not have a Hollywood movie starring Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom. But Elizabethtown does.
7. “Elizabethtown” isn’t a very accurate depiction of Elizabethtown.
Though great for the early 2000s rom-com DVD collection, “Elizabethtown” isn’t really Elizabethtown, and only a couple of scenes were even filmed in Elizabethtown. More of the movie was actually shot in Versailles because Elizabethtown wasn’t ‘small town Kentucky’ enough for the plot.
8. Bardstown High produced Louisville basketball freshman J.J. Traynor.
A four-star power forward in college basketball’s incoming class, Traynor is a ’20 alum of Bardstown High and will continue his basketball career at the University of Louisville this winter. The son of former Louisville star Jason Osbourne, Traynor chose to follow his father’s path over heavy interest from Kentucky.
9. Bardstown goes by the Tigers, Elizabethtown the Panthers.
There’s your mascot update. Let’s proceed into football talk.
10. Bardstown has four state titles but it has been almost 20 years.
The Tigers last state championship came in 2001 in Class 2A. Before that, a 2A championship in 1981 and a couple of 4A titles way back in 1967 and 1970.
The 2001 game is the only time Bardstown has played for the title since 1993.
11. Elizabethtown has one state title in 1969.
Since winning it all in 1969, the Panthers have only gotten two more tries at it with runner-up finishes in 1981 and 2003.
12. Both teams are ranked in KSR’s 3A Top 5.
Neither team qualified for this week’s KSR Top 15 Rankings, but both cracked the top five in Class 3A. We have Elizabethtown third and Bardstown fifth this week, behind Ashland-Blazer and Belfry with DeSales sliding in between at fourth.
13. Both teams come in undefeated.
Elizabethtown beat Central Hardin, 20-14; Thomas Nelson, 40-0; Nelson County, 76-0; West Jessamine, 48-13; Meade County, 36-6; and LaRue County, 53-20, for a perfect 6-0 record.
Bardstown beat Washington County, 46-27; Spencer County, 49-7; LaRue County, 58-16; Nelson County, 65-13; Marion County, 56-0; and Thomas Nelson, 47-0, for a perfect 6-0 record.
14. Elizabethtown has had the upper hand in recent history.
After a two-year break in the rivalry in 2013 and 2014, Elizabethtown has controlled the regular season run-ins with wins in four out of the last five regular season meetings in the series. However, Bardstown earned a big postseason win in the rivalry by ending Elizabethtown’s season last year.
Elizabethtown won in Elizabethtown on October 25, then Bardstown got revenge in the playoffs three weeks later.
15. Elizabethtown’s QB has been doing it a long time.
Clay Games is Elizabethtown’s third-year starter at quarterback, back after a 1,500-yard 2019 season. He’s just shy of 1,000 yards so far in 2020 with 15 touchdowns and zero interceptions in six games.
16. Bardstown’s QB has been doing it even longer.
For Bardstown, senior Brady Clark is under center for a fourth and final season under his dad, Bardstown head coach David Clark. So far this year Brady Clark has thrown for 1,088 yards and 24 touchdowns without an interception.
17. Elizabethtown’s Camran McNeil shines on both sides of the ball.
On offense, McNeil has nine total touchdowns as the team’s starting running back and leading rusher. As a linebacker, McNeil leads the Panthers in tackles.
That sounds exhausting.
18. DaTrail Wright is Bardtown’s senior linebacker/running back.
Like McNeil, Wright is among the best no matter the side of the line of scrimmage he’s standing on. He’s already matched his touchdown total of a year ago with five TDs, while averaging five tackles per game for the Tigers’ defense.
Fellow senior Gray Clark also stars on both sides and has a team-high 60 tackles with five receiving touchdowns for Bardstown’s offense.
19. It’s tough to score on either team.
Elizabethtown allows under 10 points per game while Bardstown gives up 10.5 points per game. With two high-powered offenses, something will have to give.
(It’s worth noting the strength of schedule has not been difficult to this point for either side.)
20. Garnis Martin Field is ready.
Named for longtime Bardstown coach and athletic director Garnis Martin, Garnis Martin Field underwent a makeover earlier this year. Click to watch a timelapse on the school’s Facebook page:
It will be ready for a battle of unbeatens Friday night.