Somerset honors 2022 Hall of Fame Class

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Sep. 22—Somerset High School has named their 2022 Hall of Fame Class. They will be honored at halftime of this Friday's football game and will be inducted officially Sunday at 2 p.m.

As part of this class, there are two former athletes, those being Jenny Henderlight Hudson and Josh Bentley, and a contributor in Bill Talbott. The 1916 and 1981 Somerset High School football teams will also be inducted.

Jenny Henderlight Hudson

When she graduated in 2000, Jenny Henderlight Hudson was considered one of the most athletic females in Somerset High School history. As a three sport participant, her contributions to the strong legacy of Briar Jumper athletics were impressive indeed.

Hudson was fortunate to come through SHS when the girls' basketball program was enjoying great success under head coach Judie Mason. Though her quickness and strong defensive skills were her calling card as the spark plug off of the bench, her sense of humor played an important role as well in diffusing tense situations on the court. Jenny's play was integral to the numerous team accomplishments, which included 1999 and 2000 48th District championships, 1998 12th Region championship and thus the only SHS girls' team to play in the Sweet Sixteen, 1999 and 2000 12th Region All A championships, and the 2000 All A State championship.

Clara Morrow Field provided the venue on which Jenny's athletic giftedness was on full display. The SHS girls' soccer program was started in 1995, and that timing could not have been better for the strong, fleet of foot Hudson. In her sophomore season Jenny made her dominant offensive presence known as she scored 36 goals. In her four years as a starter, she was the Commonwealth-Journal All County player of the year in 1997, 1998 and 1999, All District in 1997, 1998, and 1999, 2nd team All State in 1997, and All Region and 1st team All State in both 1998 and 1999. She led the SHS team to three district championships, and finished as team regional runners-up to West Jessamine in both her junior and senior years.

To put an exclamation mark on Hudson's legacy, she ran the 800 for the girls' track team as well.

Jenny moved on to play collegiate soccer for Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, and was a two year starter for the Runnin' Bulldogs.

Josh Bentley

From ball boy to five year varsity letterman, Josh Bentley and Briar Jumper soccer go hand in hand. As an eight year old on the sidelines with his dad as coach and his older brother on the field, this was a true family affair. Josh proved to be the magnet that attracted other Somerset youth to Clara Morrow field, encouraging their interest in the early years of the program. That core group stayed together as they played at Meece Middle School, and continued to draw others to their ranks. Upon his graduation in 1995, Bentley left a legacy of tremendous commitment and contribution to Somerset High School and its soccer programs.

As co-leading scorer his freshman year, Josh humbly embraced the challenge of leadership. His

team-first mentality and encouraging manner garnered the respect of his older teammates. The combination of his skill and selflessness proved invaluable to team chemistry.

During his five years of varsity competition, Bentley scored a total of 61 goals and led the team in assists in 1992, 1993, and 1994. In large part due to that offensive prowess, the team totals for scoring were 105, 108 and 98 goals over those same seasons. Josh was named team co-captain and MVP in both 1993 and 1994, All District four years in a row and All Region in 1993 and 1994. In 1994 he became the first SHS soccer athlete to be named 1st team All State. Additional honors included being named Academic All State in 1993 and 1994, Somerset High School National Honor Society member in 1994, and the 1995 US Army Reserve National Scholar Athlete.

While at SHS, Josh also played basketball his freshman year and was a four year member of the track team, as he competed in the 400 and team relays.

Bentley went on to play soccer at Transylvania University, where he was a four year letterman. He continues to contribute to the sport as a volunteer youth coach and as an organizer of the SHS Alumni Soccer Games. The successes of Briar Jumper soccer are in large part due to those who were so committed in the early building years of the program. Josh Bentley's contributions from sideline to All State serve as a shining example of that commitment.

Bill Talbot

If you have attended a Somerset volleyball, basketball, or softball game since the early 90's, you've no doubt seen Bill Talbott. He was the quiet, unassuming guy sitting at the scorers table or the press box.

In 1992, Bill and his wife Angie began shepherding two daughters through their high school sports careers, and as most parents do, Bill began volunteering and pitching in where he was needed. What started out as simply helping out to ensure his daughters were supported in their sporting interests, would evolve into a decades-long dedication to a school and community.

Bill would become a fixture at Brian Jumper athletic events and would eventually cross over into virtually every sporting venue. In the early 2000's, Talbott began his over 15 years as the official bookkeeper for the boys' basketball program, traveling with the team often at his own expense. He would be the official scorer for some of Somerset High School's most memorable moments during that time as an important part of the support staff for basketball teams that would make deep runs into the All "A" Classic state tournament, three times finishing state runner-up. After "retiring" from traveling with the boys' basketball team, Bill would become the official clock keeper for all home boys' and girls' basketball games for another four years.

Bill was also there to lend his help in the birth of a new athletic program in Somerset history. In 2004 he would volunteer as the scoreboard keeper for Somerset's first ever volleyball team, a role he kept for over 15 years.

Bill may be most recognized as the man in the booth at Lady Jumper Softball games. For well over 25 years Bill kept the scoreboard, was the official scorer, and the PA announcer all from his perch atop John W. Barnett field. His love and dedication to the Lady Jumper Softball team would become legendary, as it was unheard of for him to miss a home game, and rarely did he miss a road contest.

1916 Somerset Football team

The football season opened on Friday, September 29 against the Kentucky School for the Deaf. Somerset won 55 to 6.

On the second game, played against Frankfort, Somerset showed consistent team work and a powerful defense, winning 103 to 0.

The third game of the season was against New Albany, Indiana. The New Albany team had a solid reputation, having beat Louisville High School with a score of 6 to 0. Somerset won that game with a final score of 68 to 0.

Next, Somerset played Chattanooga Central High. Central High made first down only twice during the first half of the game, while the S.H.S. team made five touchdowns. Somerset made two more in the second half, making the final score S.H.S. 47, Central High, 0.

In the next game, Georgetown Reserve made only one touchdown, and the game ended with Somerset on top, 39 to 7.

The Cadet team from Tennessee Military Institute of Sweetwater, Tennessee also only succeeded in making one touchdown against Somerset, bringing another win to the Jumpers at 95 to 6.

Somerset beat Louisville High School at Louisville, with a score of 51 to 6.

Before the largest crowd that ever witnessed a high school game on Stoll Field, Somerset and Lexington battled for sixty minutes in a magnificent exhibition of football process and skill to a scoreless tie, but with the advantages decidedly in favor of the Briar Jumpers. Competent critics commended the action and spirit of the game, and were unanimous in awarding the palm to the Briar Jumpers, who carried the ball four or five times as far as the Lexington players. A special train carried 250 Somerset fans to Lexington for the game.

That brought the final number of points earned by Somerset during the season to 458, with 25 points scored against the Jumpers.

1981 Somerset Football team

Somerset High School had so much to be proud of in their 1981 football team. With a record of 11-3, the Briar Jumpers were able to boast the most wins ever by an SHS team, bouncing back from a 3-8 record in 1980. The team ended up on top at the district level with a perfect 4-0. They won their region title with an upset victory over unbeaten Middlesboro. Finally, they finished as state runner-up in class AA.

Head Coach John Cain said of the team that its "...accomplishments were secondary to ...its character. I've been coaching several years and in several different places," Cain said, "but I can't think of any team I've ever been associated with that showed more character — on and off the field. Everywhere we went, people talked about how well they conducted themselves. We also had as good a work attitude, and team attitude, as I've ever seen," Cain added. "Our players were very unselfish. Nobody cared who carried the ball. The ones who weren't carrying the ball always blocked hard for the others. Nobody cared whether we ran or passed the ball, as long as we won. We had no dissension. When you combine these kinds of attitudes with character, you can easily see why we won 11 games.

The Jumpers started their season with an impressive 35-14 victory over 4-A Brian Station. After beating tough Richmond Madison 26-6, the Jumpers faced the eventual undefeated and overall State 4-A champion, Henry Clay, to whom they fell 35-6. The Jumpers then won their next four games over Wayne County, (27-0), Greenup County, (31-19), North Bullitt, (29-14), and then a close one in overtime over Boyle County, 20-14. Then came a team considered to be one of the best in the state, Corbin. They nipped the Jumpers 40-15. The next game clinched the district, Garrard County, who the Jumpers beat 20-0. The next regular season victories came over Frankfort, (26-8), and the defending district champion Russell County, 44-19.

In the state quarterfinals, the first victim was highly regarded Middlesboro. In a barn burner with less than 2 minutes to go in front of 8,000 screaming fans, Somerset scored on a Neikirk to Sexton touchdown pass to make the score 14-13 , Somerset. With the same combination, Somerset won on a two-point conversion and a final score of 15-14. The record 11th victory came over Prestonsburg with a final score of 10-0. Finally, the dream became the reality. The Jumpers would play the final game of the season on astroturf at Louisville's Fairground Stadium. The Jumpers fell short to Bardstown 20-6.

"I'm not real sure if anybody thought we'd be in the finals, after what happened last year," Coach Cain reflected. "I have to give a lot of credit to our youngsters, for the attitude they've shown, and the way they've worked. and I have to commend my assistants, Jeff Perkins and Roscoe Perkins for the good job they've done. It's been an awfully good atmosphere around here this year."