Chris Cook remembers going to watch those Boyle County teams that won five straight state titles when he was a kid - and he remembers Jacob Tamme best of all.
“Jacob was one of my biggest role models growing up. I said after winning the state championship, I watched Jacob win a state championship all four of his (years in high school) and I saw him get player of the game and it was always a dream of mine,” said Cook, a senior who was the MVP of this year’s state title game.
“Jacob’s the biggest role model this community’s ever seen. I just know I wanted my football number to be 10 when I was little (Tamme’s number at Boyle). He’s just been a great inspiration.”
Tamme, who had a breakout season in his third year with the Indianapolis Colts, was the guest speaker Saturday at a fund-raising dinner for the Boyle football team to help pay for state championship rings. Boyle Quarterback Club president Todd Tiller said the club grossed more than $14,000 and cooked more than 500 steaks Saturday night.
Afterward, Tamme said he’s always proud that he gets to come back and help celebrate not just another state title, but Boyle County in general.
“It’s kind of like getting to do the jersey presentation with Travis (Leffew), it’s kind of neat to be connected,” Tamme said. “This place is a huge part of me, and playing sports here is a huge part of everyone who’s done it here.
“I’m really proud of the guys who put in the work to win another state championship this year. I feel really blessed to be given the opportunity that I’ve got. It’s really an honor to come back and speak at something like this for these guys.
The players said it was an honor to have Tamme on hand.
Boyle senior lineman Tyler Priest moved to Boyle in the fifth grade from Jessamine County and quickly learned about the Boyle tradition, and Tamme.
“I didn’t even know what a state championship was. I’d never even heard of it, but when I came here I started playing football, and the first people I met were Trevor Wiley and Chris Cook. They got me interested in it,” he said. “One of the first people that came up was Jacob Tamme. I went to the state championships and watched them win. And Jacob Tamme was definitely one of the players I watched and looked up to.”
“I like being able to say that I’m from the same school as an NFL star and a star that played for UK. I think it’s amazing he actually comes back and talks to us. He’ll come into the weight room and talk to us. He makes you feel like you’re a part of the family as a Boyle County Rebel, and I think that’s very special.”
Senior Ben Coffman said Tamme is a great representative for Boyle.
“It’s just a thing that says Boyle County is a big deal, and it’s growing and getting better,” he said. “ I think it’s awesome to have people like Jacob out there in the world and they can say, ‘I’m a Boyle County Rebel.’”
Cook said it’s always special when Tamme can come back and see the team.
“It’s great when he comes around. He really gives back to his community and he really does care about this football program,” he said.
Tamme had a hard act to follow Saturday. After a side-splitting, comedy routine by Boyle assistant Billy Goldsmith, Tamme took the stage.
“I have no idea how to follow that. No idea. I do not have any jokes,” he said.
Instead, Tamme talked about the role God has played in his helping push his football career forward, from his first practice as a freshman at Boyle until his breakout season this year with the Colts.
He heaped praise on the Rebels, who won their seventh state title, and second straight, this season.
“Luckily I‘m not the reason we’re here,” he told the crowd of more than 500 that packed the Boyle gym. “It’s an honor to come back and talk at a dinner for a state championship. It’s a special thing and to see this many people here to help something as important as state championship rings means a lot tot me.”