Warren Central arrived in force and in style for Sunday’s Paul Gray Prep Sports Media Day at 6-4-3 Sports Bar and Grill.

Two players flanked new Dragons head football coach Cary Fowler on each side during the team’s appearance in front of the cameras and microphones on the podium as Warren Central’s contingent was one of the largest of the day. Those same Dragons stepped out of a stretch limousine that transported them to the media day event.

It was just another small indicator of what Fowler, a veteran of more than two decades as a college coach who served as the defensive coordinator at FCS program Eastern Illinois last season, hopes to accomplish in his new job – generate interest and create a winning atmosphere.

Fowler, a Hopkinsville native, had never previously coached at the high school level before taking the job at Warren Central. His reasons had much to do with family, but the challenge of turning around the Dragons’ program also proved attractive.

“Coaching is coaching, wherever you’re at,” Fowler said. “Last year, I was getting ready to play (against) the University of Arkansas. But I’m having more fun coaching these kids than I ever had in my life. And being back home and knowing I can see my (extended) family that I haven’t seen in 25 years makes a huge difference.”

Warren Central, currently mired in a 35-game losing streak that stretches back to 2015, appears to be buying in to their new coach. Numbers are up some on the roster, including an influx of athletes from the school’s successful basketball program.

“I think the biggest thing was the influx of our basketball players, a couple of the track guys,” Fowler said. “It really changed our athleticism, our height and really brought to us the presence of guys that have been winners to understand winning.”

Senior Dre Boyd, one of those basketball players, is out for football for the first time since his freshman year.

“It’s been a lot of fun because I feel like we’ve got a chance to win, so it’s fun to come out and get better with everybody every day,” Boyd said.

Fellow Warren Central senior Justin Borden has been on the football team trying to make a difference, and this offseason he’s noticed a change in the program.

“There’s a lot more competition at practice, it’s a lot more people wanting to go make plays and a lot more athletes on the team,” Borden said. “It’s just a different atmosphere.”

DISTRICT SHUFFLE

A KHSAA realignment has impacted a couple districts in the region this season, with the biggest change coming in Class 2A, District 3 as perennial powerhouse Glasgow moves up to Class 3A and Edmonson County moves back down from 3A to 2A.

It doesn’t end there, either.

Clinton County, which dropped out of district play in 2013, is back after a six-year hiatus to join Edmonson County, Metcalfe County, Monroe County and Green County in the newly constituted District 2.

“Clinton and Edmonson comes in and we lose Glasgow, which is not a big thing to me – I’m glad we got rid of those guys,” Metcalfe County coach LJ Harbison joked. “Edmonson comes in and I think they’re picked the favorite to win and we’ve added Clinton. We’ve played these guys the last four years so we’re familiar with them, but district will be very competitive.”

Clinton County first-year head coach Rocky Tallent, who served as the team’s defensive coordinator, has the momentum of a 9-1 season as the Bulldogs return to district play and the chance to once again compete for a state playoff spot.

“It’s really important to us, the players are extremely excited,” Tallent said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors who’ve played a lot of football together. It’s something we really needed to probably needed to have done earlier. We felt we could be competitive in the district at an earlier date than where we’re at right here, right now, but the stars didn’t line up for us to do that and we’re just grateful that we got in this year.”

Russell County has shifted in Class 4A, moving from District 6 to District 2 to join defending state champion Franklin-Simpson, Allen County-Scottsville, Warren Central and Warren East.

It’s a new district for us, but it’s also an old district for us,” Russell County coach Ryan Richardson said. “We played in that district until 2011 before the Kentucky High School Athletic Association decided to send us all the way out East. So we’re actually back in our old district, with much bigger foes.”

And Barren County, which dropped out of Class 5A, District 2 play for a year, is back and moving up to join Central Hardin, Meade County and North Hardin in Class 6A, District 2 this season.

CHAOS THEORY

Bowling Green coach Mark Spader has embraced change – with just a little grousing.

The Purples’ practices feature drones flying overhead to provide film footage, the stadium speakers constantly blast loud music, self-imposed distractions that Bowling Green hopes will ultimately have the opposite effect during actual games.

“We’ve got music bumping now,” Spader said. “It’s what everybody does, so we’re jamming the radio up and the drones are going, everybody’s yelling. And I bought into it because it creates that chaos you need when you’re really trying to get them to face adversity and make mistakes.

“So where I thought it was going to be a big disco show out there, it was really not. At the end of the day, we’re lining up and playing football.”{&end}

– Follow sports editor Jeff Nations on Twitter @Jeff_NationsBG or visit bgdailynews.com.

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