Middlesboro 7th and 8th wins conference championship

Published 3:55 pm Monday, September 30, 2019

The Middlesboro middle school seventh and eighth grade team won their conference championship against Williamsburg 46-20 at Union College on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets will now advance to the state tournament and play Campbellsville on October 19 in Williamsburg.

“We set this goal at the beginning of the season,” said Middlesboro coach Charlie Lambert. “We set out to go undefeated in the regular season, win the conference and make as deep of a push into the state tournament as we possibly can. People have been saying for years that they couldn’t wait until this team made it to middle school and eventually high school. We’re at that point now, and I think everyone can see what type of potential this group has.”

With the Middlesboro high school Yellow Jackets off to one of their best starts in recent memory, Lambert says his players look up to the older players and are excited to play for a living legend in Larry French.

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“Our practice fields are right next to one another,” said Lambert. “Our guys see coach French over there doing his thing at practice and they see how hard those guys are working. They emulate the high school team as much as they can in their work ethic. Coach French has been to the games and has talked to the team quite a few times. They all really hang on every word he says and they look up to him a lot.”

Moving into the state tournament, Lambert hopes that his team’s chemistry and talent will allow them to make a deep push into the tournament.

“I’ve had a lot of these guys since they were five years old,” said Lambert. “They’ve been playing together for a long time, they know how each other play. They’re getting really good at playing off of each other. They’re a very unselfish bunch of kids and they’re very coachable. If we can prepare well and focus on the things we are supposed to do, I think we have a really good shot at making a deep run into the tournament.”

With the 5th and 6th, 7th and 8th and high school teams all playing well, Lambert feels like there is a shift taking place in the future of Middlesboro football.

“I’ve been around football around here for a while,” he said. “The future is starting to look bright around here. We’ve got the community interested in Yellow Jacket football again. Everyone is very supportive and very proud of all the team’s accomplishments this season. The team is proud, and I am proud as well. They’ve done a great job this season, but we aren’t done yet. We’ve met our other goals this season and we don’t plan on stopping until we’ve met them all. We are laying the groundwork for the future with this team and the future looks bright.”