Outlook bright for Kingston football
by Jon Dohrer
Kingston Public Schools
After hosting its first playoff game since 1988, the Kingston football program has a bright future.
The Redskins posted a 7-3 regular-season record, notching key wins over rival Madill and district power Lexington along the way. It was the fourth consecutive playoff appearance for Kingston, but coach John Caraway said being home for the playoffs was a particularly gratifying accomplishment for the players and coaches.
"That was a goal of ours the last couple of years, and the kids worked very hard to achieve it," Caraway said. "They stepped up and fought hard all year, and the kids were pretty excited about reaching their goal."
The 7-3 record may not tell the whole story — two of those three losses came by a combined total of just three points, indicating the record very easily could have looked even better.
Numbers were a strength for the Redskins this year, who boasted about 50 players on their roster. The depth allowed for fewer two-way starters and more rest for players during games. It also made coping with injuries less difficult. Caraway said there was another big benefit.
"We were a much better second-half team because of it," Caraway said. "We were fresher, and it showed in the fourth quarter."
Caraway said his coaches have been a big part of the team's success. He said the staff's experience and work ethic have payed dividends.
"We are very fortunate to have the group of coaches we have here at Kingston," he said. "They work tirelessly — long hours, nights and weekends. They do a great job of preparing and motivating these kids, and my hat's off to them."
Caraway gave a lot of credit for the recent surge to this year's class of graduating seniors.
"I can't say enough about this group of seniors. They made the playoffs all four years in high school, and they set the tempo for our program. They gave us great leadership for our younger players and we are definitely going to miss them," Caraway said.
Seniors are Kegan Barker, Ethan Bishop, Marcus Burleson, Devin Fox, Jamie Furister, Tanner Holland, Clay Jones, William Kirk, Keldon Risinger, Lucas Smith, Dalton Williams, and Shane Wirick.
As for the underclassmen, coaches have high expectations for them next year and beyond. Several key starters this year were sophomores and juniors, including both quarterbacks, Noah Hodges and Jacson Beal. The junior high football program also had its best year in recent memory.
Much of the players' success, owes to their attitude, which Caraway praised. Describing them, as "yes-sir-no-sir guys" who are willing to do whatever is asked of them, and they represented Kingston well.
"They were just a pleasure to coach. I'd coach the rest of my life if I'd have players like this every year."