JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky (WYMT)- While the Johnson Central Golden Eagles opened up their season 0-1, they rattled off 13 wins to return to Kroger Field and the State Championship game.
"We have been there every single time since my freshman year and we are still hungry and we're ready to get this win," said Senior, Matt Horn.
You could say it's been a pretty good ride for the Johnson Central Golden Eagles the past few years.
"I think almost 90% of all schools to go to the state championship are either private or independent schools. It's a big deal to us," said Coach, Jim Matney.
Off the field, an emotional roller coaster.
Coach: Some would say bitter Sweet, but there's just been everything in the world it seems like happened to our community in the last five years.
Despite reaching the 1,000-yard milestone and helping lead the Golden Eagles on defense, Devin Johnson has faced a tough few months.
"Devin Johnson, he is a wonderful young man and he's just a great kid. His father passed away during the season," said Coach Matney.
A father heavily involved in his son's life. Coach Jim Matney says Devin's dad hardly missed a practice let alone a game.
"We had visitation on Friday and of course everyone connected to Devin's family and told him there is no way his dad would want him to miss the game," said Matney.
The night before Ben Johnson's funeral, Devin scored his first touch down of the season, beginning the healing process for Devin with his second family.
"We had this little County league so we played all of our lives pretty much. So we're all really really close," said Matt Horn.
"It helps you to get by. There's no replacing what he lost," said Coach Matney.
Despite maybe being quieter than usual in the Locker room, his second family remains there.
"We're just there for, we just understand. I mean that's all we really can do. None of us has really lost our dads. He just has played the entire year just not really said much about it. Just a tough individual," said Horn.
"We are like a bunch of brothers out there and we've all got each other's backs and love each other," said Senior Evan Adkins.
"It's just another example of mountain kids overcoming tough situations and many obstacles to become something," said Matney.
The team has not lost a game this season since losing Ben Johnson. Johnson Central will face Franklin-Simpson Saturday at 4:30 PM.