Wayne County Football starts its 51st year of varsity football this season and despite regional championships in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the first time ever the program has a legitimate candidate for Mr. Football in 6-0 190 lbs. senior running back Braedon Sloan. Sloan was a first team All-State selection last season by six different outlets and after eclipsing the KHSAA state record for touchdowns of 54 by Boone County’s Sean Alexander with 56 last season why shouldn’t he be? Sloan is the son of James Sloan and Kelly Steele and one could say football has been his blood almost since birth.
“My dad with all his history and success in football, I was always around the game and it’s something that has always been in my blood and I love it more each and every day,” said Braedon Sloan.
Braedon’s father James was a stalwart on some excellent Wayne County teams of the late 80s and when he graduated in 1990 was sixth on the KHSAA All-Time Rushing list with 5279 yards, so the bloodlines are there. James Sloan was later a 4-year letterman and Kodak All-American playing for the late Ron Finley’s Campbellsville College Tigers and earlier this year the younger Sloan became one of the crown jewels of first year head coach Walt Wells inaugural recruiting class with a commitment Eastern Kentucky University.
“A big part of committing to Eastern was the fact on the visit, it felt like home from the start. The coaches treated me so well and made me feel like a priority, so it felt like home and the fact they treated me like family. Nice facilities with good coaches and academics, it was the best fit,” said Sloan.
Veteran head coach Shawn Thompson sees big things in the future for his talented running back.
“Eastern Kentucky University is getting a young man that will do great things on and off the field. Braedon is adored by his friends, family, community and teammates, so for all the great things he does on the field, we’re equally proud of his work off the field. Last season to play the teams we played and him score a state record 56 touchdowns, to break Sean Alexander’s record, just a storybook season and he only got stronger as the season progressed. I’ll say this if he’s not candidate for Mr. Football, then 2020 has certainly been a dud of a year,” said Thompson.
Sloan has been a contributor each season on the varsity starting with 20 carries for 237 yards and 2 scores, as a freshman on a team that won the region and finished 12-2 as a state semifinalist. As a sophomore he was injured in the opener against Frederick Douglass but bounced-back to total 120 carries for 1120 yards with 15 touchdowns and totaled 14 receptions for 308 yards and 3 scores, plus returned a kick and punt for scores to total 20 TDs, as the squad finished 8-4 on the season.
“Braedon worked his way to being a contributor as a freshman and the thing that was so impressive as a sophomore, he only played a half of maybe the first three or four games, then he was able to get on a roll,” said Thompson.
The talented Sloan had a breakout game in the regular season finale at Madison Southern rushing 22 times for a school record 332 yards with 4 TDs and added two catches for 32 yards with a score, as Wayne County rolled to a 68-29 win.
“That Madison Southern game was probably the first time my ankle was close to 100 percent all season and after being injured early in the season, that was a nice game to end the regular season, just an awesome feeling,” said Sloan.
Last season the numbers were impressive with 277 attempts for 2804 yards with 48 rushing TDs and 20 catches for 461 yards with an additional 6 scores. The highlight performance was in the district championship against Corbin as Sloan smashed his own school record with 37 carries for 408 yards and 7 TDs, which included scoring runs of 85, 25, 3, 12, 24, 61 and 42-yards as the Cards won the district championship with a 63-49 win, to sweep both games against the rival Redhounds.
“To have that kind of performance in the biggest game of the season with everything on the line really talks about the type of motor he plays with. Some guys don’t like the big game atmosphere, Braedon seems to shine brighter in those situations. None of that happens without God-given ability and hard-working teammates as well, I’ve been around the game a pretty long time and never seen anything like it,” said Thompson.
In the regional championship game teammate and quarterback Brody Weaver was injured on the first play from scrimmage, all Sloan did with no preparation was complete 6 of 9 passes for 105 yards and rush 33 times for 101 yards with a touchdown, in the 36-7 loss at eventual state champion Johnson Central.
“My coaches always push me to get better every day and last season showed all that work in the off season really pays off. My coaches, my offensive line, all the wide receivers that block, the quarterback and everyone on the sidelines those guys all were a part of making it happen and I’m thankful for that. To break a record is something that was a total team effort, without blocking I’m just 5-yards deep in the backfield with nowhere to go,” said Sloan.
Now thru all the delays and postponements comes the final season, already abbreviated with 8-games, but it’s a season the Cardinal couldn’t be more excited about.
“We can’t wait to get out there and play, as the goal is a state championship, which it was last year as well. We know we have lots of work to do but having the experience from last year should only help as well,” said Sloan.
Sloan played his freshman season with Lorenzo Linsey, now a junior quarterback at Georgetown University and is coached by Tyler Guffey, two guys that provided the program with some recognition with individual honors in 2013 and 2017, can Sloan bring a Mr. Football award to Wayne County?
“It’s just an awesome feeling to be recognized with those guys for all they accomplished as players and their teams. Anything I can to help put Wayne County out there on the map and get some notice would be a great thing,” said Sloan.
Kentucky has a lot of great seniors in the running for Mr. Football and make no mistake about it, if Sloan can duplicate last year’s success, he’ll be a name that garners support throughout the Commonwealth.