If you’ve never been there to see it, there is nothing compared to the Darell Keith experience.
Some that may have missed it when Keith was an assistant at Christian County or the head coach at Todd County Central had the opportunity to see Keith in action again as the coach of the Clinton High School Dragons (TN) was back in Hoptown Friday as his team competed at the Best of the West 7-on-7 football tournament.
“I wanted to come down here, play some solid competition and compete,” Keith said. “I want us to win, but the main thing I’m focused on is seeing our kids compete and they did that — they didn’t lay down. We only lost (to Hopkinsville) by three points and I think they’re one of the tougher teams here.”
Overall, Keith loves the city of Hopkinsville but still wanted to make sure everyone remembered the fedora-wearing coach.
“I absolutely love the people of Hoptown — it’s a very special place,” Keith said. “One on end you have to be cultured and on the other, you have to be tough. This is a tough town. If you’re soft you won’t make it.
“The kids and the people have earned my respect, but I had to come and show that it was going to be a game. We’re going to bring a little something. It was fun. I was talking and running my mouth having a good time. This is the atmosphere we’re trying to bring.”
There wasn’t any better welcome back for Keith, as his team matched up with Craig Clayton and the Hoptown Tigers in its first contest, losing to them by just three points at the end of the game. Hopkinsville finished day one of the tournament 5-1 and is the top seed heading into Saturday’s bracket play.
“It sounds like (Hopkinsville) had their hands all over it — but I loved it,” he said. “I loved every minute of it.”
Keith mainly decided to come to Best of the West to get more experience for his young Clinton team and see some of the better teams on the western side of Kentucky against his squad.
“We played 15 freshmen last year and I think the lights got kind of bright for them,” he said. “What I liked, was they fought and they talked as much as they could and I loved every minute of it.”
Local teams compete at Best of the WestHopkinsville, Christian County and Trigg County were all at the Stadium of Champions on Friday, competing in pool play of the second Best of the West 7-on-7 football tournament.
The Tigers had the best day of the three, finishing 5-1 on the day and claiming the top seed heading into today’s bracket matches. They await the winner of Butler County and Clarksville.
Trigg County will be slotted in the nine seed and will face Kenwood in the first round of bracket.
Christian County is the 15-seed and will face Northwest with the winner of that game going up against Russellville. Games begin today at 9 a.m.