New Paducah Tilghman football coach Randy Wyatt is taking an old-school Big Blue approach to the Tornado's future schedules. He's loading up the non-district slate for 2009 and 2010 with big-name programs, even one or two from out-of-state.
Next year's slate features Mayfield and Fort Campbell as well as North Hardin (a solid Class 6A program) and a visit to traditional Indiana power Evansville Reitz. The 7,000-seat Reitz Bowl is considered one off the Hoosier State's top venues.
And the best may be yet to come ...
"I've got a call out to (Tennessee power) Brentwood Academy, Lexington Catholic and the three best programs in Louisville — Trinity, St. Xavier and Male," Wyatt said. "I would love to play one of them. Probably just one of them."
Wyatt was a quarterback, running back and wide receiver at Tilghman in the late 1980s under then-coach Allan Cox, who was never shy about big-game hunting when it came to scheduling, The Tornado's schedule in that span included opponents like Trinity, Fort Thomas Highlands, Brentwood Academy and Nashville Whites Creek.
"I want to get back to playing that kind of schedule," Wyatt said. "That's what prepared us for the postseason."
In a sense, the Tornado is taking a cue from defending Class 3A state champion Louisville Central, which beat Tilghman 17-14 on a last-second field goal in the state semifinals last season. Central was 5-5 during the regular season that included losses to Highlands (the 5A state champion), St. Xavier (the 6A runner-up) and ranked big-class teams such as Male, Louisville Manual and Johnson Central.
Not coincidentally, Central figures to be Tilghman's traditional semifinal-round foe in the new playoff format.
"We know they're going to be ready for us, with the schedule they play," Wyatt said. "We need to be ready for them, too."