The 2014 Class 5A state champion Pulaski County High School football team gathered at Cumberland Lake Shell for the check presentation with Ward Correll, who was presented with a commemorative game ball with all the players’ signatures.

Pulaski County head football coach Johnny Hines has a lot to smile about these days.

In fact, one might say the Maroon coach can give you 50,000 reasons why it’s good to be on top.

A few years ago, local businessman Ward Correll committed to giving $50,000 to the first high school football team from our community to win a state championship in football.

Last December, the Pulaski County Maroons took care of that challenge, with a 14-7 victory over Graves County in the Class 5A State Championship Football Game.

So, true to his word, last week Correll presented the PC football team and coaching staff with a check for $50,000 for what the Maroons were able to accomplish in 2014 — going 13-2 on the season and becoming the first team from the Somerset community to win a state championship in football.

So yes, it’s nice these days to be on top and be called a state champion.

“Mr. (Ward) Correll wanted to motivate the three teams in our town — this is a football town, let’s be honest,” stated Hines. “Somerset, Kentucky is a football town.”

“Mr. Correll wanted to see one of our three schools win a state championship, so this was kind of his way of giving the kids in our community a little motivation to go out and try to accomplish such a great feat,” added Hines. “Fortunately for us, the Pulaski County Maroons were the first team to get the job done. We are very appreciative of Mr. Correll and his generosity.”

As far as the $50,000 goes, that money has already been earmarked for what will be a brand new, state of the art weight room for Pulaski County High School.

“You can take any football game at any level — professional, college, high school, or even youth football — and you can watch one team dominate the other,” said Hines. “In most instances, they are able to do that because their players are bigger, stronger, and faster than the other team, and it all begins in the weight room.”

“We’re not blessed with a lot of talent at Pulaski County High School, because we’ve never had a Division I signee in football,” added the PC coach. “We’ve had kids play Division I as walk-ons, and we’ve had a lot of kids play at the NAIA level. And, don’t get me wrong, Pulaski County High School has produced some very good and outstanding football players. But, we’ve never had a D-I signee. For us to be competitive with teams that have those kind of athletes, we have to find an edge somewhere, and for us, it’s in the weight room.”

Pulaski County already had a pretty impressive weight room, but all of the contents of that facility are going to be donated to Northern Middle School, which will give PC’s feeder program a nice shot in the arm with a big-time upgrade and a weight room facility.

That means, the new facility that Pulaski County High School is going to have is going to be a state of the art weight room — basically second to nobody.

“We’ve got a very nice setup in our weight room right now,” pointed out Hines. “I would say the majority of high school programs out there do not have a facility as nice as what we have right now.”

“We see it this way,” added the Maroon coach. “With our current weight room, it’s like driving a 10-year old Corvette which is a nice thing to be driving, but we’re about to trade it in on a new Lamborghini. We are really going to have a state of the art strength and conditioning facility. We’re so excited to have this as part of our football program, and we’re very appreciative of Mr. Correll for paving the way for this to happen.”

Of course the new weight room isn’t the only upgrade coming this year to Pulaski County football.

The Maroons — along with Southwestern High School — will both be playing on new synthetic turf fields this fall when the 2015 high school football season kicks off.

Construction on both of those projects is tentatively set to begin sometime around mid-May, and will be completed just in time for the kickoff of the ‘15 season.

Also, Pulaski County will be adding more lights to its football stadium at both ends of the field. So, for now at least, for Hines and crew, it certainly is good to be called a state champion.

One might say it’s great to be on top, and these days, the Maroons are atop the mountain.

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