GLASGOW – Barren County hit the reset button on its football program last season.

With the opening of a sparkling new multipurpose turf field stadium in 2018, the Trojans opted to drop out of district play for the season in hopes of building some momentum for a return to district play this year. Instead of settling back into its customary spot in Class 5A, District 2, Barren County will mark its first season as a Class 6A, District 2 member this season.

Gone are some of those old rivalry games, with a new slate of district opponents – Central Hardin, North Hardin and Meade County – awaiting toward the end of the regular season.

“I think it was a good decision just to start fresh,” Barren County third-year coach Jackson Arnett said. “I mean, that’s all it was, I think, a plan to start over and try to build it back up and move forward.”

The Trojans did build some momentum with a 3-7 season after winning just once in 2016 and 2017, and the experience gained by a host of returning starters provides a chance for the program to keep trending upward. One positive indicator is participation – this season, the Trojans’ roster is more than 10 players deeper than last year.

After not having a shot at the postseason last year due to playing a non-district schedule, the Trojans are excited by the prospect of a playoff game this season.

“Some of the team saw it as difficult to get motivated for because we’re not playing for anything at that point besides for a winning record,” Barren County senior linebacker/offensive lineman Easton Frazier said. “But the class that’s coming back this year, we saw it as building a program and that’s exactly what we did last year. We got more kids out than we have.”

The offense is stacked with experience, fronted by an offensive line that returns all five starters in Hunter Wilson, Cody Rogers, Campbell Ross, Frazier and Jordan Riddle.

Last season, the Trojans’ numbers on offense were roughly even between passing and running the ball. If all goes well, it will skew a bit more toward the run this season as Barren County works in a new starting quarterback in sophomore Jackson Buie.

Senior Tyler Bush, who was the second-leading rusher last season for the Trojans with 386 yards, figures to get plenty of carries and South Warren transfer Dayvion Holloway – the second-leading rusher for the Spartans last season – should make an immediate impact.

“I think we might be a run team first this year, coming back with an experienced line,” Bush said. “We’ve got a young quarterback this year, but he’s going to be good. Smart quarterback, he’s got a good arm on him and we’ve got really good threats at wide receiver. So I think we’ll be a run team, but we’ll pass the ball some, too.”

Arnett wants to see improvements in the ground game after the Trojans averaged 119.5 rushing yards per game last year.

“We’re veteran up front,” Arnett said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball if we want to do anything else.”

The Trojans also feature plenty of experience at receiver, headed by talented junior Jamarcus Miley.

“He’s started since he was a freshman and has been our best receiver since he was a freshman,” Arnett said of Miley, who totaled 20 catches for 369 yards and four touchdowns last season. “He’s been pretty good for us. We need him to just take the next step and be a leader and see if we can get him the ball in space and let him do a little more.”

The Trojans have a few holes to fill on the defensive line and lost one starter in the secondary, but otherwise that group returns intact.

Frazier, at middle linebacker, led Barren County in tackles last season with 87. Bush returns at starting cornerback after making a team-leading three interceptions last year. Turnovers were in short supply last season for the Trojans, a trend Bush hopes to see change this year.

“You’ve got to make the team you’re playing turn over the ball some more,” Bush said. “That helps your offense, gets them in good field position to make plays to win games. You’ve got to have that in football to win some games.”

The rebuilt defensive line got a boost with the return of Corbin Murphy, who missed all last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

“We felt like maybe some got away that maybe we should have won, but we’re still learning how to win,” Arnett said. “They’re hungry and that’s good. We’ve just got to take the next step. We’ve got to go 1-0 every week, that’s what we tell them all the time.”

Barren County 2019 Schedule

Aug. 23 – at Metcalfe County

Aug. 30 – Woodford County

Sept. 6 – Adair County

Sept. 13 – at Monroe County

Sept. 20 – Hancock County

Sept. 27 – at Greenwood

Oct. 11 – Central Hardin

Oct. 18 – North Hardin

Oct. 25 – at Meade County

Nov. 1 – Edmonson County{&end}

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

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