By G. Anthonie Riis, Fort Knox NewsSeptember 25, 2019
The Fort Knox High School football team broke a 16-year losing streak to rival Fort Campbell High School when the Eagles beat the Falcons 19-10 Sept. 20 at Fort Campbell's Fryar Stadium.
It was a storybook ending as well for the Fort Knox Eagles, coming from behind 10-7 with a minute to spare. A Fort Campbell drive to the 20-yard line put them in position to tie the game.
That's when Fort Knox senior Sidney Gradney blocked the field goal attempt and sophomore Julian Slocum returned it 80 yards for a touchdown.
Fort Knox head coach Wes Arnold described the game as a "barnburner," saying it was a fitting end between rivals. He also said it that it was apt to question the use of the word "rivals."
"It hasn't been much of a rivalry because they've beaten us 16 years straight, but to us it's a big deal," said Arnold, in his second year at the helm. "We're the only two schools from military installations that still play each other. It goes back to 1974, and we've faced each other every year since, so it's a great rivalry in that way."
Arnold said the win is a monkey off his back.
"This felt pretty good -- I'm not going to lie. This game has been a dark cloud over our program, and when I took over two years ago, I said we needed to change the culture at Fort Knox. Part of doing that was getting this weight off our shoulders," said Arnold. "It's our goal every year to beat Campbell, and I told the guys in the preseason that this was our year."
The victory marks a 'change in the wind' for Arnold and his program; he said, pointing the team toward good things to come.
"We've been very competitive this season: much more competitive than we've been in years past," he said. "Right now, we're 1 and 3 against some tough and ranked teams. This win gives us a big boost into the second half of the season, and we've got some games coming up that are very winnable.
"Winning against a team we haven't beaten in 16 years, we're getting this in the right direction and moving toward that 6 and 4 winning record and the district playoffs."
Arnold said those goals get more tangible with each passing week as athletes he has recruited from other sports transition into football.
"This has been a real learning experience because we have so many kids new to football," Arnold said. "Now that we're in week six of the season, we're seeing these really good athletes turning into really good football players. It's been fun to watch that development happen."
Arnold said fans can expect more of the competitive play the team delivered against Fort Campbell.
"These schools share that bond between military kids, and this is one of the most unique games in America," he said. "We stopped a 16-year losing streak, and now we're the best Army high school football team in the state. We get bragging rights and the trophy that goes with it, and we plan on keeping it for a while."
Fort Knox begins their district playoffs at Campbellsville Friday night.