Nick Hamilton

South Oldham quarterback Nick Hamilton pitches the ball to a running back during the Dragons' victory over Seneca on Nov. 11.

South Oldham’s season ended in the state quarterfinals for the third time in four years when the Dragons fell 38-7 at Bowling Green on Nov. 18.

“We’ve been to the third round (of the playoffs) seven of the last eight years, so we think that’s a testament to the good things happening in the program,” South Oldham coach Jamie Reed said. “The takeaway is that we were one of eight schools left in 5A football. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way tonight, but I think there’s some real accolades and ‘attaboys.’” 

South Oldham concluded a season of resilience with an 8-5 record. The Dragons lost their first three games of the fall before rattling off six consecutive wins on its way to capture its seventh district championship in eight years.

“That says a lot,” Reed said of the turnaround. “When you start 0-3, it’s so easy for fans, family, student body, everyone to put negative thoughts into the kids’ and coaches’ heads, but our kids stayed clear of that and pushed through and made a regional championship. ”

The Dragons graduate 19 seniors, including several starters on both sides of the ball.

“I think this class will be known for their resilience,” Reed said. “You had a lot of dual sport athletes in this group, and we didn’t have a lot of that before. I think this is going to be the group that shows it’s OK to play multiple sports and still give yourself a chance to compete for a state title.”

Despite the key departures, South Oldham will look to work its way into the state championship contention next season.

“There’s certain ingredients you have to have to make it to the semifinals or finals. Experience is a big part of that, and the way talent ebbs and flows also is a big part,” Reed said. “As long as I’m the head coach, the expectations aren’t going to change. We want to win the county, we want to win the district and we want to win the state. To waver from those goals is to give up, and we’re certainly not going to do that.”

Reed said the team will need to close the gap between themselves and the top teams in 5A in the weight room to challenge them on the field.

“We’ve got to keep fighting the good fight. You’ve got to continue to strength train, you’ve got to continue to condition, you’ve got to continue to have buy in,” Reed said. “It’s not by mistake that some of those teams compete for the state championship year after year. They look a certain way going into every season and coming out of every offseason.”