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Sullivan signs to play on new college team

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Lindsey Wilson adds football; last game was held in 1935

By Phyllis McLaughlin

A Trimble County High School senior last week signed on to be one of the founding members of Lindsey Wilson College’s new football team.

On Wednesday, April 29, Larry Sullivan signed his intent to play for the Blue Raiders in the TCHS library, flanked by his dad, Joe Simpson, TCHS Coach Johnny Poynter and Principal Stirling Sampson.

The college’s head football coach, Chris Oliver, was unable to attend; he and his wife had their first child, a girl, that Monday.

The college, located in Columbia, Ky., is reinstating the program, which has been dormant since 1935. The team will compete in the Mid-South Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Other teams in the conference include Kentucky’s Georgetown College, Berea College and Campbellsville University.

Sullivan said his position will be running back.

In a telephone interview Friday, Oliver said a stadium is now under construction and is to be completed just in time for the school’s first home game on Sept. 4, 2010.

“This will be a ‘red shirt’ year,” he said. “It won’t use a year of eligibility. They’ll still have four seasons to play.”

In the meantime, the incoming freshmen will concentrate on conditioning and academics.

“Practice starts a year from now,” Oliver said.

During his two years as a TCHS Raider, Sullivan was named to the All North Central Kentucky Conference and All District championship teams. This year he earned the distinction of having the most yards passing and rushing; as a junior, he had most yards receiving.

Statistically, in Sullivan’s two years he logged 1,201 yards rushing for 13 touchdowns; 1,565 yards passing, six touchdowns; and 667 yards receiving, six touchdowns; for a total of 3,433 yards. He also racked up 96 tackles and three defensive touchdowns.

Also, he said his class voted him “most athletic” for the Senior Superlatives.

Oliver said he and his staff drafted Sullivan after seeing videos of Raider games and watching him play. “He’s very versatile.”

Once they met Sullivan, they were even more impressed, the coach said. “He’s a great kid, a very good person and he’s very cordial. He’s the type of kid we want in our program, not just athletically, but personally and socially, as well.”

Poynter said he’s convinced Sullivan will be a top player on the new team. “He’s a very charismatic young man,” he said. “We’re really proud of him. I think he’ll do a good job there. He’ll end up being a star.”

Sullivan had considered playing for Hanover College in Hanover, Ind., near Madison. But, he was attracted to the Adair County, Ky., school because of its size.

“I wanted to go to a small college first and not get lost in a bigger university,” he said, adding that Hanover has “a tougher curriculum, and I didn’t want to stress too much on academics the first year.”

He said, however, that he hasn’t ruled out possible transferring to Hanover after spending a couple years at Lindsey Wilson.

Sullivan said he plans to major in communications or journalism.

“I’ve been interested in writing and communications since my freshman year,” he said.

Sullivan got a good start with that as a contributing writer for the Trimble Banner during his senior year – covering sports, of course.