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Senior leadership key to Purples playoff success

Eli Burwash and Jordan Dingle celebrate after a Purples score against North Bullitt.
Eli Burwash and Jordan Dingle celebrate after a Purples score against North Bullitt.(WBKO)
Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 11:05 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - What makes a contender for a state championship? For the Bowling Green Purples, it’s the leadership of the senior class.

“We put a lot on their shoulders. I always say there’s nothing like a Bowling Green senior,” Purples head football coach Mark Spader said. “They’re hard to beat in the playoffs.”

This Friday, Bowling Green will face Covington Catholic in the state semifinals. A win for the Purples would put them back in the state title game for the first time since they won it all in 2016.

“It’s a lot of work to get back to this point,” Spader said. “Region titles aren’t easy and now we get a chance to go back where everything ended last year.”

Spader won five state championships with Bowling Green while serving as defensive coordinator under Kevin Wallace. Spader was named head coach for the Purples in March of 2018. Spader said the senior classes that were a part of state championship teams would take over practice, something he tries to impress upon his players.

“You reach a point in the playoffs where they just kind of take over,” Spader said. “The tempo of practice, the atmosphere in practice, the seniors, and the team kind of create it.”

Spader said the best weeks of practice this season have come when the team takes over.

“The week of South Warren we were like a machine in practice,” Spader said. “Very focused and a great atmosphere for preparation for a game and I think we’ll have that again this week.”

Last year, Covington Catholic ended the Purples season in a 28-0 shutout. The Colonels would win the state championship the following week. Spader said his team is going into the game with a chip on their shoulder.

“Our team feels like we’ve made great improvements and that we have a tremendous shot at winning the game,” Spader said.

Bowling Green faces Covington Catholic on Friday, Dec. 11.

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