SHEPHERDSVILLE - After three straight ‘big’ games on the road, two of them victories, the Bullitt Central Cougars return home for the final time this season on Friday as they play host to district rival Southern.
For all the things the Cougars have attained the past two seasons under head coach Danny Leasor, this will the last opportunity for one goal - winning a district game. While the Cougars are 9-10 overall in Leasor’s second stint as the head coach, Bullitt Central is 0-5 against their district rivals.
Now, there is a golden chance to break that streak and build even more momentum heading into the post-season that will start on Nov. 15 on the road for the Cougars.
With both Bullitt Central and Southern having already lost games to Male and Fern Creek, this game on Friday will decide who is third and fourth in the district. Male and Fern Creek are meeting on Friday at Fern Creek to decide the top two spots in the district.
“We’ve got another big one,” Leasor said on Monday as he sat in his office before practice. “You have to know that they are good after what happened last week.”
The Trojans don’t have a very imposing record at 2-5, but last week they raised more than a few eyebrows by whipping Western 33-12. Southern also was within 35-30 of Fern Creek just a few weeks ago.
“They are good,” Leasor said. “I don’t know what they have been doing, but they are a good 2-5 team. They are better than last year, but then so are we.”
Southern may have slightly over scheduled this season. The five losses have been to Seneca, Fairdale, Fern Creek, Eastern and Male. The team’s only other victory came against Moore, 49-13.
The player that makes the Trojans go is senior quarterback Calvin Ferguson, one of the best players in Jefferson County. He started the season as a running back, but due to some injuries, moved under center and has been a force ever since.
In the win over Western, Ferguson carried the ball 23 times for 203 yards and also completed 13 of 22 passes for 175 yards. Just for good measure, he also kicked three extra points as well as doing all the other kicking duties.
Ferguson has now rushed for over 1,000 yards this season.
“I understand that they have built a special building for him outside their regular locker room,” Leasor said with a smile, coming up with a Superman analogy. “He wears blue and red with a red cape.”
Southern spreads players out and lets Ferguson make big plays.
“They are another spread team,” Leasor said of other teams like Male and Fern Creek that the Cougars have played recently. “The Ferguson kids runs the quarterback position and he is big. He has a tremendous arm. He does it all for them.”
Southern also has a strong receiving group led by junior Chris Richard who is familiar to Bullitt Central fans because he is a starter on the Trojan basketball team. At 6-4 and 225 pounds, he is a strong and powerful tight end.
A year ago, Southern beat Bullitt Central 29-13 on Preston Highway. That loss came during a six game losing streak. Now, the Cougars are 6-2 and riding a wave of confidence and emotion.
“It will come down to the same old thing, and that is ball security,” Leasor said. “We had the turnovers the other night (given up by North Bullitt) and capatilized and beat a good team.
“We have everything going for us,” the coach added. “We are guaranteed a winning season, but we are not satisfied.”
On Monday, Leasor had a large ‘7’ on the palm of his hand indicating the next win.
“It’s like Thanksgiving,” Leasor said, using another of his analogies. “You load up your plate and you feel great, but you still go back for seconds. We’re still hungry.
“What we’ve done so far brings the team together and the school and the community,” the coach added. “We can pick up our first district win in a while. There is a lot at stake.”
Associate head coach Mike Gossett is very familiar with this Southern team. He was an assistant coach with the Trojans when the senior group was playing freshmen and junior-varsity games.
“I rate them right up there with the better teams we’ve played,” Leasor said. “It seems like all year we’ve played teams with a great player, normally the quarterback.
“Now we have to face Ferguson,” the coach continued. “We can’t let him get into space. He is a lot like Dalton (Cissell). He is a real sleeper.”
Leasor did say that his team is still relatively healthy. There are some bumps and bruises and sprains, but everybody should be dressed and capable of playing this week.
This will be Senior Night and the 14 seniors will be honored before the game. Obviously, this is a special group as they will post the first winning record in 17 years for the program.
While Bullitt Central will drop down to Class 5-A next season and not be in the same district with Southern, the two schools have renewed their football contract for the next two years and will play early in the season.
Game time on Friday at Bullitt Central is set for 7:30 p.m.