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NKY High School Football Spotlight: Bellevue

New Bellevue football coach Woody McMillen has already become comfortable in his new post as he enjoys working at smaller schools. 

“We had 7-on-7 (drills) this week with Campbell County, Conner, Mason County and Boone County, and here we are throwing with teams with more guys in their senior class than we have in our entire school,” he said. “I have only been at small schools. I came from Ludlow and I was the first football coach at Walton Verona, so me personally, I don’t think I would like it at a larger school.

"What I like about the small school, especially a community like Bellevue, is that historically football has been so important to the people here. You really get to establish a lot more relationships with the kids at a small school, and right out of the gate I really took to these guys and they seem to be really receptive to what I am trying to teach them.“

So far, he likes the attitudes he sees from his players and from the community in terms of their hard-nosed grit and willingness to learn.

“We’ve got a real good look at them. They’re working hard and I have been really pleased with their effort. I think their attitudes have been really good and their willingness to accept teaching has also been really good,” said McMillen.

McMillen likes the speed of his team and feels good about his offensive line which he hopes to establish the run a bit more compared to the recent Bellevue teams of former coach Johnny Poynter who led a mostly pass-first approach to his offense.

“We will probably do whatever the situation dictates. In the last couple of years, Bellevue has thrown the ball a lot. I probably foresee us running the ball a little bit more with the personnel that we have. I like our offensive line. Historically, there has been a lot of tradition here in Bellevue and it is made up of a hard-nosed group of people that will really hit you on defense and try to run it and be physical. That’s kind of what we’re trying to get to here.”

On defense, the Tigers plan to keep things simple without subscribing to one specific alignment or scheme. McMillen said that at time defense will look like a 5-3 and other times it may look a little different depending on what kind of formation they face. Like most coaches, he looks for the team’s seniors to lead the underclassmen.

“We’ve got three seniors that are really going to be solid: Nick Ackerson, Cam Chase and Ronny Newchester are three seniors that we’re really counting on to provide us with some leadership.”

Almost every year for Bellevue and the other small schools in Class 1A, the roadblock typically in the way is the annual football powerhouse of Beechwood. Last season, the Tigers put together a decent season going 7-5 on the year but did get hammered by Beechwood later in the year, 41-18.   

“You try to divide the season up into sections. You hope that the games before the district prepare you for district play. Obviously, Beechwood has been the measuring stick in Class A football for a long time and our district has a lot of tradition here. Every team in the district has a state championship in its history. That’s a good carrot to have dangled over you and we would like to get to that point.”

Bellevue starts their season at Gallatin County on August 21, followed by the first of two showdowns scheduled against their neighbors, the Dayton Greendevils. They play Dayton again in Week 9.

Story by Bryan Burke, associate editor/Photo: RCN file