It's 2020. What's another change?

That's the approach Bath County interim football coach Chris Lane has taken since being named to that position on Tuesday — with three days to get the Wildcats ready for a game at Prestonsburg on Friday night.

"There's a lot of changes in their world right now daily," Lane said of the Wildcats, "from COVID and online class and everything else they have to juggle. For a young person, it's super hard, and this was just another change for them, but they did a great job and were super-focused.

"I basically told them, 'Hey, when we step on the field, we're worried about what's on the field and not what's outside of the field. And let's just go have some fun and play some football.'"

Lane had been in his first year as Bath County's middle school football coach. Johnny Poynter coached the Wildcats in their first five games this season, all losses.

This has been Poynter's sixth season in Owingsville, during which time Bath County compiled a 27-33 record. That included back-to-back 7-4 campaigns in 2017 and '18.

Bath County Schools superintendent Harvey Tackett announced Lane's new position on Thursday and said he would have no additional comment "as this relates to personnel."

Poynter declined comment on Thursday.

Lane said he had "a lot of nervous energy, and then right after that a whirlwind of moving parts to get these guys ready to play. But it went well."

Lane also works at Morehead State as a strength coach. The Eagles, who are idle this fall due to COVID-19 and aim to play in the spring, have been accommodating of Lane's work at Bath County, he said.

Veteran northeastern Kentucky high school and college coach Gene Peterson also came on board this week. Lane expects Peterson's expertise will help Bath County prepare for a game with a quick turnaround after the coaching change.

"(Peterson) took over the offense and kinda bridged it with his knowledge and what the kids knew," Lane said. "That's been our focus over the past few days. Some other wrinkles were added in."

Lane added that the Wildcats' practices this week have been "really good."

Bath County athletic director Scott Anderson agreed with that take.

"Coach Lane has hit the ground running trying to get ready for the Wildcats' upcoming district game at Prestonsburg," Anderson said. "He has been off to a good start the last three days with the players, encouraging a lot of energy at practice. I am sure coach Lane and his staff are making the best out of the situation they have been handed."

Lane said he "would love that opportunity" to stay on staff as permanent head coach, but "if it doesn't come my way, then I would help any way I could as well."

Lane, 35, is a native of Franklin, Indiana. He is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq, he said, before attending Kentucky Wesleyan and playing football. He is married to Kadey, a Bath County native. Their kids are Justice, 10, and Liberty, 8.

(606) 326-2658 |

zklemme@dailyindependent.com

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