The 2019 football season has come to an end.
This season, the Appalachian Newspapers’ coverage area had three state champions and a runner-up finish.
With such a great season, this year’s awards were a bit harder to select.
Here are the awards for the Appalachian Newspapers. We had reporters voting from the Appalachian News-Express, Floyd Chronicle and Times, Paintsville Herald, Hazard Herald and the Unwired Appalachia podcast.
Coaches of the Year: This season, we had a three-way tie. With Pikeville’s Chris McNamee winning a Class A state championship, Belfry’s Philip Haywood winning a Class 3A state title and Johnson Central’s Jim Matney winning a Class 4A state championship, the coaches finished in a tie for Coach of the Year. We could not distinguish who did a better job when all three coaches led their teams to state championships.
Pikeville’s Chris McNamee: McNamee finished as a state runner-up last season. The Panthers were focused to bounce back and finish what they started last season. The Panthers did just that and finished this season with a perfect 14-0 record. This was McNamee’s second state championship as Pikeville head coach. His first came in 2015. He has now coached both of his sons, Andrew and Isaac to Class A state championships. This was Pikeville’s fifth state championship in school history.
Belfry’s Philip Haywood: Belfry had a tough route to the state championship. The Pirates had to go to DeSales to knock off one of the most talented teams in Class 3A in state semifinals. Then the Pirates had to comeback and face undefeated Bell County and the second-winningest coach in state history Dudley Hilton in the championship game. The Pirates came up with a 30-20 win over Bell County in the state title game. The Pirates finished the season with an 11-3 record. Coach Haywood is the all-time winningest coach in state history. He currently has 449 career wins and is one of the nation’s all-time winningest coaches as well.
Jim Matney: Matney and the Golden Eagles rolled through the regular season and the playoffs until the state championship game. The Golden Eagles pulled out a hard fought 21-20 win over Boyle County to claim the Class 4A state championship. This was the fifth straight state championship that the Golden Eagles have played in and the second state championship in those five years. The seniors on this year’s team won a state title in their freshman and senior seasons at Johnson Central. The Golden Eagles finished the season with a perfect 15-0 record this season.
Other Coach of the Year finalists:
Paintsville’s Joe Chirico: Chirico led the Tigers to their first Class A state championship appearance since 1985. The Tigers finished the season with an 11-4 record.
Tug Valley’s Hady Ford: Ford took the Panthers to the Class A playoffs in West Virginia in his first season. His team wasn’t supposed to make the playoffs, but improved and improved throughout the season. Tug Valley finished with an 8-3 record.