Denny Fugate. Part 1 The High School Player
In the year of 1971 the MC Napier Navajos of the 14th Region never won their district but were defeated by Hazard in the final. Since both would go to the Regional Tournament the Navajos probably thought they were better than Hazard’s Bulldogs and would prove it.
They squeaked by a tough Breathitt Co. team 77-76 in their first game of the Regional. They then beat Powell Co. 76-65 before getting a chance against the Hazard team again that post season. This time the tables were turned and the Navajos would win the Regional crown and represent the 14th Region as they eased by Hazard 60-58. With stars like All State Honorable Mention players Carlos Combs and Denny Fugate, they took their team to Freedom Hall. But this wasn’t to be the year as they fell to #1 ranked Covington Catholic in the opening round 99-62. The very fine year ended at 23-8. Fugate had scored 21 against the #1 ranked team in the state.
The old saying “We’ll get ‘em next year could probably be heard around the school area a lot in the late spring of ’71. So in 1972 Coach Albert Combs had the boys ready to go. This time they won the District tournament and went to overtime to beat Carr Creek 69-68 in a semifinal match before falling 82-83 to the powerful Breathitt Co. Bobcats in the final game of the 14th Region held at Breathitt Co. 
This 1971-72 team record was 23-7. This year Denny Fugate was listed as a 5’11” junior, averaged nearly 24 pts. per game and was chosen as an All State 3rd team member. Teammate Kerns Combs was chosen as an All State Honorable Mention pick. The outlook for the Navajo team also looked good for the next year with Denny Fugate returning to lead them.