PHELPS, Ky. - The Phelps Hornets will face a lot of new faces in the first season of the Andy West era on the gridiron this fall as their schedule features five new teams that they did not play a season ago.
The 10-game slate features a bye-week to start off the season, and then five home games, four road games, and a neutral field game in the Pike County Bowl.
The Hornets will once again start off the season with a game in the Pike County Bowl against East Ridge on Friday Aug. 30, in the 35th year of the event held at Belfry High School.
This will make the fifth year in a row that the two squads have met in the bowl game with Phelps winning the last two meetings. The Warriors were 2-9 a season ago including a 44-0 loss to Phelps.
The following week the Hornets will hit the road to play the first of their new opponents as they travel to Harlan to play the Green Dragons. Harlan went 4-7 in the 2019 season.
Week three will see another road contest for Phelps against a familiar opponent in the Martin County Cardinals. The Cardinals, formerly known as Sheldon Clark High School, went 2-8 in 2018 including a 26-0 loss to Phelps in week two.
Week four will see the Hornets play their fourth game away from home in as many weeks as they travel to Pike County foe Shelby Valley. The Wildcats are a new addition to the Phelps schedule and will be a tough task, as they went 10-2 in Class 2A a season ago.
In week five, coach West will see his club play their first game of the season at the friendly confines of Marty Casey Stadium as Betsy Layne will make the short trip over from Floyd Co. The Bobcats went 1-9 a year ago and with their lone win coming against Jenkins.
Week six will see another new addition to the Phelps schedule make their first trip to Hornet land as they will host Eminence Independent High School out of Henry County. The Warriors went 7-3 last season but will be under new guidance this season in the first year of the Brock Roberts era.
Week seven will start a stretch of three straight District games for the Hornets as they make the short trip to in-county rival Pikeville. This is usually the toughest game on the Phelps schedule and will be no different this year as the Panthers were 11-3 in 2018 and finished runner-up in Class A.
Week eight will see the Jenkins Cavaliers roll into Hornetville as the second of three straight district games for Phelps. The Cavs struggled mightily in 2018 as they went 0-10 including a 50-8 loss to Phelps at home.
The following week, in week nine, the Hornets will hit the road for their final road contest of the regular season as they will travel to Hazard to play the Bulldogs. The Dogs are always one of the more competitive teams in Class A and that was no different last season as they finished 7-4 overall including a 35-6 win over Phelps.
The Hornets will spend the final week of the regular confines back at Marty Casey Stadium as they will welcome another team that has never played a regular season against Phelps in the Tolsia Rebels out of Wayne County, West Virginia.
The Rebels are traditionally a football power in West Virginia having played in two state championships in the past 13 seasons but they had a down year a season ago as they finished 5-5 and missed the playoffs all together.
The Rebels and Hornets have met up previously in a preseason scrimmage but never during the regular season.
Coach West will be taking over a Hornet squad that went 5-5 a season ago under previous coach David Jones. They went 14-16 during Jones three seasons as head coach after going 1-39 the four years prior.
After losing in the first round of the Class A playoffs the past two seasons, West is looking to push the Hornets over the hump this season with a big win in the postseason.
Jarrid McCormick is a sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.