For Pulaski County’s very own Tyler Sexton, last Sunday night inside Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville was, not only the culmination of a life-long dream, but it was also the conclusion of the 13 longest months in Tyler Sexton’s life.

You see, Sexton was a star in every sense of the word while playing for the Pulaski County Maroon football team, during a stellar prep career that ended at the conclusion of the 2004 high school football season.

After graduating from PC in May of ’05, Sexton had to start all over when walking on at the University of Kentucky last August. Like most true freshmen, it was a big-time adjustment for a kid who was “the guy” on his high school football team at Pulaski County.

Sexton was red-shirted last season by coach Rich Brooks and his staff, so he got to practice along with the UK team, but there was no chance of those two coveted words that every player dreams of, and those two words are “playing time.”

This year however, is a new year for Tyler Sexton, and the former Pulaski County All-Stater is determined to make the most of it.

After Louisville scored its first touchdown of the game, barely over a minute into Sunday night’s contest, there stood Tyler Sexton, standing on the field in front of over 42,000 screaming fans. Yes, Sexton was indeed ready for his first action in a Kentucky Wildcat uniform, playing on UK’s kickoff receiving team.

Tyler Sexton had finally made it to the big show, and he did our community very proud in Sunday’s contest.

“It was really a long wait, and it feels like I hadn’t played football in a very long time,” stated the pride of Pulaski County immediately after Sunday’s game.

“It was such a rush being back on the field and knowing I was going to get to pop some people and hopefully make a few plays out there,” added Sexton. “It was just incredible getting to be out there tonight, and knowing that all the hard work that I had done had really paid off.”

Sexton not only played on the UK receiving team, but he was also on both, the punt and punt return teams for the Wildcats as well.

Sexton is also an integral part of the UK red zone offense, when Kentucky gets inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, but the Wildcats didn’t have many opportunities inside Louisville’s 20-yard line on Sunday evening.

When the Cats weren’t going three and out, and being forced to punt deep in their own territory, they were hitting the big play, with quarterback Andre Woodson throwing touchdowns passes of 73 yards to Dicky Lyons Jr. and 80 yards to Keenan Burton.

But, that was OK on this night, because the most important thing for Tyler Sexton on this night, was that number 82 got the chance to fulfill a life-long dream. And, that dream was putting that number 82 jersey on his back, and getting out there on the football field, and having the opportunity to smack somebody in a Louisville uniform squarely in the mouth.

In fact, Sexton had a very key block in the second half during Keenan Burton’s 100-yard kickoff return that went for a UK touchdown.

Not a bad night indeed, for a good ole’ country boy from Pulaski County.

“The first kickoff return we had tonight, they got ready to tee it up, and I had to take a deep breath, because I knew that I was playing a top 15 team in the nation, and it was a big moment for me,” stated Sexton.

“I know I’ll remember this night for the rest of my life,” Sexton continued. “I came up here, and I’ll always remember walking the field before the game, and seeing you guys from the Commonwealth Journal up here, as well as my mom and dad in the stands, and I saw coach (Johnny) Hines up there in the stands, and I really felt proud of being from Somerset and being up here and able to do this.”

As for the very disappointing outcome of the game, a 59-28 setback to the Cards, Sexton says that if he had one thing to say to the many suffering UK football fans, it would simply be this.

According to Sexton, this is not going to be the same Kentucky team of past years, and this will be a Wildcat football team that finally turns things around on the gridiron in 2006.

“You did not see the real University of Kentucky tonight,” stated Sexton. “You saw flashes of it. We had glimpses where we looked really good, but we played poorly for the biggest part of the game.”

“Louisville is a team that you have to get on early, because they have so much fire power,” said the former Maroon standout. “They’re so explosive on offense, and with two Heisman hopefuls, you can’t give them a big lead like we did tonight. We had a lot of young guys out there playing tonight including myself, and now that we’ve got a lot of that behind us, and we’re adjusting to the speed of the game, we’re just ready to go out and play some football.”

Tyler Sexton and the rest of his Kentucky teammates came up on the short end of the scoreboard on Sunday night in a very decisive manner, but Sexton on this night, was a winner in every respect of the word.

Here’s a kid that, while playing for the Pulaski County Maroons, never liked to talk about himself or his accomplishments. Instead, Tyler Sexton always talked about the team, and was always quick to brag on his teammates and how well they played together after a PC victory.

Yes, Tyler Sexton is indeed a winner, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of being able to live out the dream of playing major Division I football for the University of Kentucky than Tyler Sexton.

And, best of all, Sexton has four more years to make a name and an impact on this Kentucky football program, and I for one believe he will do just that.

Yes sir, one day, and not too far into the future, ole’ number 82 will be hauling in a touchdown pass for the Kentucky Wildcats.

What a day that will truly be, not only for Tyler Sexton, but for all of Pulaski County as well.

And, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy either.

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