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With the Washington County volleyball season coming to an end last week and the football season winding down, I’ve noticed two things during this fall season -- but it’s held true through every WC season since I came to Springfield last October. The Commanders and Commanderettes are teams you don’t want to face late in the season.
Regardless of the sport, you can almost guarantee that Washington County is going to come together over a full season and become a completely different team than their opponents see in the first few weeks. It may seem like this would be true of almost any high school team that puts in time and work with their teammates over several months, but I just don’t see the drastic improvement in opponents that I’ve been seeing in the WC athletes.
The Commanderettes’ near-upset run through the 19th District tournament was the prime example. Bardstown dominated against WC, four games to one in two matches, in the Anderson County tournament in early September, but the score of the teams’ final three meetings of the season? Washington County 9, Bardstown 2.
Bethlehem had its way with WC in the first two meetings, sweeping both best-of-five matches, but there were the Commanderettes last Tuesday with a four-point lead, 10 points from moving on to the region tournament, but it just fell apart at the end. Even with the Banshees comeback, that was the same Bethlehem team I watched twice this year, but that wasn’t the Commanderette team I saw in September.
The football team doesn’t have the benefit of rematches, but with the way the defense has played the last two weeks, I know the Commanders would love another crack at Bethlehem and Marion County, two close games that a young team with an offensive line with nearly no varsity experience was right in until the end.
It’s no coincidence that Bardstown posted 33 or more points in five of its first six games, yet was stifled to seven points through three quarters on Friday. With a huge game against Shawnee this Friday, I expect the offense to find its groove as well and help WC secure a playoff bid for the eighth-straight year.
Here’s to hoping the trend continues and good luck to the Commanders on Friday night.