Photo: Southside High School senior Kenneth Bothwell, Jr., signed a football scholarship with Fort Scott (Kans.) Community College on Apr. 3. Pictured, sitting, from left: Theresa Parker, Kenneth Bothwell, Sr., Kenneth Bothwell, Jr., Tinly Henry, Billy Parker. Standing, from left: Arkayla Bothwell, Tinnesha Parker. (Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Kenneth Bothwell’s future includes a couple of years in Fort Scott, Kansas.
The Southside High School senior signed a football scholarship with Fort Scott Community College on Apr. 3.
“This will be the next chapter of my life, and I think it was a smart de-cision for me,” said Bothwell. “I’ll build myself up during the first year to prepare myself and be a better running back than I was this year. I want to get faster and be quicker with my feet.”
The NJCAA-member Greyhounds last season went 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the Kansas Community College Con-ference.
Bothwell was a major factor in the 2018 Panthers’ rebound from a 1-4 start to a 7-5 record, second place region finish and the program’s first playoff victory in five years. Despite most defenses loading the box against him, the senior halfback rushed for 1,387 yards and 21 touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 508 yards and another five TDs.
Bothwell was named Offensive MVP of the All-Messenger football team and Offensive Athlete of the All-Etowah County Schools football team and was an ASWA Class 5A All-State second team selection.
“This a very mature decision that Kenneth’s made,” said SHS head football coach Ron Daugherty. “He’ll play for them this fall and go through the recruiting process all over again. [Fort Scott’s] job is to getting kids ready academically and athletically ready for a four-year school. The recruiting process will be ongoing at the four-year schools, and that’s going to give Kenneth better choices with the route he’s going to take. This will broaden his horizons on where he might want to go.
“Kenneth’s had some opportunities at some smaller four-year schools that I believe would not have given Kenneth the choices he will have in going in this direction. It’s been a pleasure to have Kenneth in our program. He’s been a huge part of everything we’ve done. He’s always going to pull people with him in the right direction, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much he can work and improve on a team where there is more competition.”
Daugherty pointed out that Bothwell’s decision to play at the junior college level for two years was in no way a reflection on his academic performance in high school.
“Kenneth has made great grades all the way through and he’s a full aca-demic qualifier. In the whole time I’ve known Kenneth, I’ve never had one teacher come talk to me with a problem with him. He’s an excellent student and done what he’s supposed to do in the classroom. It’s really excited to see one of our kids want to further his academics.
“This has been a goal of Kenneth’s since the eighth grade, and he wasn’t one of those kids who sat around in the classroom and didn’t do what he needed to do. He was always working and trying to get better in the classroom and on the field. I’m very happy for him and his family, and it also says a lot for our program.”