Continuing on the discussion leading up to the release of the Kentucky Prep Gridiron, all-Classification, Middle School, pre-season top 20 poll, we turn our attention to the Newburg Middle School Tigers. The Tigers are coached by Melvin Blakey III, who through his work with B & B Precision Training is as good as any one in the Commonwealth at developing talent. This is one way to insure the cupboard is never threadbare. Sure, Newburg will miss superstars the likes of Eli Blakey and Evan Embry, who, the last
time we saw them with their Tiger teammates, were hoisting the Division I State Championship Trophy in Lexington, Kentucky, but opponents and challengers in the Commonwealth shouldn’t believe the 2017 Tiger edition will be fangless or clawless.
Newburg’s 7th grade team, last year, was seeded 4th in the 3rd Region of the KYMSFA playoffs in spite of ending the regular season undefeated. In defiance of its seeding, the 7th grade Tigers won the Region 3 Championship before bowing 26-6 to the eventual State Champions in 7th grade, North Pulaski Middle School, in the State Semis with the Tigers forced to play with two key running backs injured. There is a school of thought that the previous year’s State Champion, which in the 8th grade Division I was Newburg, remains number 1 until it is taken away from them. Will KPG follow the convention? You will see when the poll is released next week.
What I can tell you is there is no reason to believe Newburg can’t overcome North Pulaski or any other team in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. What a team does as a 7th grade unit isn’t, necessarily, an indication of what it will do in 8th grade because the anatomical development between the two years is significant even where the players aren’t undergoing rigorous, off-season training. These Newburg players will look, run, hit and play football differently than they did as 7th graders, and the ones who have trained with B & B Precision this offseason, which is most of the key components, well…you know! Remember, these Tigers won their Region as 7th graders and made the final four of the KYMSFA Playoffs, so it’s not like they stunk it up last year.
I had an opportunity to correspond with Melvin Blakey III, Head Coach at Newburg Middle School, and he told me the 2017 edition of the Tigers will be more balanced than the 8th grade team which took home the Division I Championship. The new edition of the Tigers may even be hungrier, having lost in the Semi-finals as 7th graders. Coach Blakey told me We have faced giants on the field before and we feel we know what it will take to repeat. With more depth across the line and in the backfield, the Tigers are set to be very dangerous and we won’t sleep on any opponent on our schedule. Under Blakey’s mentoring, Newburg Middle School has only lost 3 games in two full seasons, losing two games Blakey’s first season and the opening game to Barret 22-20 last year before running the table. Coach Blakey tells me nothing short of undefeated and repeat Champion will be seen as acceptable in his program.
We, too, at KPG are excited about the season, which is right around the corner, and can’t wait to see, finally, who has put in the work to get better and who has eaten a lot of snack foods and played video games. Let me promise you this, the answer will be obvious and immediately transparent. We believe at KPG Newburg Middle School is a serious threat to repeat.
Remember ballers…PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!