Crittenden County rallies behind Al Starnes
MARION, KY -- In his 23rd season as head coach at Crittenden County, Al Starnes spent the first game of the season in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery.
"It was difficult to listen to, and to not be there," Starnes said. "But I had all the confidence in the world in the coaches and players."
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Wheeler took over in his absence. In that game, the Rockets defeated Fulton City 35-6.
"I kept looking to the left and to the right to find coach and he was never there," Wheeler said. "I was hoping he would break out of the hospital and meet us on the sideline or in the press box to help us."
And the players have rallied around their head coach.
"Ever since I have been here, he had been at everything we have done," senior fullback Brenden Phillips said. "We came together as one, especially behind coach Starnes."
"None of us had any idea there was anything going on," senior quarterback Travis Gilbert said. "We just hoped that he would get back quickly."
Doctors had said he would miss at least two games, but Starnes was back after missing just one.
"I was looking at them as inspiration," Starnes said. "I needed to be on the sideline for me. I needed to be there for myself, so I could prove to myself I was ok and I could do it."
Since his return the Rockets have gotten off to their best start in three years, and look for another win on Friday night against Muhlenberg County.