By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets just finished their best season under head coach Jerry Herron, finishing 11-2 after a season ending loss to defending state champion Hazard last Friday.
The only other loss the Yellow Jackets suffered was a 23-20 loss at the hands of Oneida, Tenn. in the fifth week of the season.
Though it had only been a few days since the loss to Hazard, Herron said his team was already excited about getting back to work in preparation for the 2013 season.
“The kids are already begging to get back in the weight room to get to work,” Herron said. “We have a lot of kids that are willing to do the work that you have to put in to be good year in and year out.
“You can tell that these kids have their hearts in this program because they are just so willing to get to work,” he added. “As a coach, you have to be excited to see kids so excited, but in all honesty, I told them we needed to take the week off and enjoy the holiday and go from there.”
As for Williamsburg’s 7-0 loss to Hazard Saturday, Herron said he was far too wrapped up in the action to realize how good the game actually was. He said he had several people come to him since Friday and comment on the quality of the game his team played.
“I’ve had a few people actually tell me it was one of the best football games they had ever watched,” Herron said. “Several people said it was by far the best game we’ve played here under my coaching.
“Myself, I was not able to pay attention to things because when you get wrapped up in the game, you’re really just focusing on the next play, literally,” he added. “I was able to think about it a little bit after it was over and I’m really proud of these kids for what they’ve done.”
The Yellow Jackets started the season with four straight wins (Jellico, Tenn., Harlan, Pineville and Leslie County) before falling to Oneida, Tenn.. From that point, Herron’s squad closed out the regular season with five straight wins (Allen Central, Campbellsville, Berea, Lynn Camp and Oliver Springs, Tenn.) before heading into the postseason.
Williamsburg was able to host the first two games of the playoffs, knocking off Jenkins (60-6) and Harlan (34-15) before heading to Hazard last Friday.
That game remained scoreless until the late stages of the fourth quarter when Hazard capitalized on a Williamsburg miscue after a Yellow Jacket field goal attempt came up short. The Bulldogs Jordan Olinger broke free for an 80-yard touchdown to put his team on top 7-0.
Williamsburg was able to mount a drive that got them into the red zone, but a Bulldogs interception ended all hopes of a comeback.
Herron said he questioned the way he handled things after the missed field goal, saying he wished he had called a timeout to allow his kids to regroup.
“I think the kids were kind of shocked when we missed the field goal,” he said. “I probably should have called a timeout and gave them time to get their heads together, but that’s just the way it went.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of this group for what they accomplished, especially this group of seniors,” Herron added. “I told them after the game that every player on the team, as well as every coach, was forever indebted to them for what they gave us this season and I meant it.”