SHEPHERDSVILLE - Riding a wave of excitement following last week’s 33-26 overtime victory on the road at Southern, the Bullitt Central Cougars will try to make it two straight on Friday when they return home to take on Valley High School.
After two early losses this season, Bullitt Central head coach Danny Leasor said after practice on Monday that the players were holding their heads much higher after the first win.
“We had a little mojo about us today,” the coach said. “We had a lot of fun today. It was a good atmosphere.
“Winning cures a lot of ills in morale,” Leasor said. “We just need to cut out mistakes. Everybody knows that we need to end the mistakes. It’s just going to come from repetition in practice.”
There are a lot of reasons that the game against Valley is important.
“Being 2-2 is better than 1-2,” the veteran coach said. “It’s the next game. We feel that this game is very important. We can go to 2-2 and then prepare and work for the second half of the season.”
Valley got off to a tough start against Dixie Highway foe to this season under first-year head coach Preston King. The Vikings dropped a 48-0 decision to Holy Cross and then were bombed by Pleasure Ridge Park 55-0. Valley got on the right side of a score last Friday, beating Iroquois 34-0.
While this is far from a rivalry between the two schools, this will be the seventh meeting all-time on the football field. Bullitt Central holds a 4-2 advantage, having won the last two meetings 32-7 and 20-7 in 2003 and 2004. Valley’s two wins came in 1997 and 1998 with the 1998 game being a 25-24 thriller.
Leasor, in his first stint as Bullitt Central’s head coach, faced Valley twice, beating the Vikings 7-6 in 1987 and 16-15 in 1988. In the 1988 game, present Bullitt Central assistant coach Mike Winkenhofer kicked a field goal to win the game.
Leasor faced Valley many times when he was the head coach at Pleasure Ridge Park. He would like to see Bullitt Central and Valley playing every season.
Valley posted a 4-7 mark last season and started this season with six starters back on both sides of the ball.
The key player for the Vikings is senior running back Lee Lee Hayden who rushed for 199 yards and scored three times in the win over Iroquois. Last season, Hayden (6-1, 215) rushed for 1,300 yards. Another rushing threat is Jordan Thompson who had 400 yards last season on the ground.
King has changed the Vikings to a spread offense to take advantage of some of their speed. It is much the same offense that the Cougars saw last week from Southern.
The Vikings’ quarterback is senior Jake Allgood while the top receiving threat is senior Demorray Woodard. Allgood completed six of ten passes last week for 125 yards.
“They do have speed like a lot of Jefferson County teams,” Leasor pointed out. “They have a good running back in Hayden. He is good, but not as good as the kid we saw from Glasgow.”
On Monday, Leasor was expecting back two starters who missed the Southern game with injuries. That will put the Cougars are full strength.
Still, the Cougars have moved away from platooning completely. Both Dean West and Bradley Combs played on both sides of the ball against Southern and freshman Trevor Carnell saw a lot of playing time on both sides of the ball. Overall, Valley will use fewer players than the Cougars.
During the middle of this week, Leasor will turn the team over to associate head coach Mike Gossett as he has hernia surgery on Tuesday. He plans to be back for practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
This will be military night at Bullitt Central. Leasor’s son, Daniel Leasor Jr., will be coming in from Fort Leonard Wood and he will have CSM William Allen with him. The group will speak to the ROTC classes at Southern and North Bullitt on Thursday before speaking to Gossett’s German class on Friday and then the Bullitt Central ROTC class.
Any member of the military in uniform or with proper ID will be admitted to the game for free. Those individuals are invited to be on the field at 7 p.m. for a short ceremony. Allen will then flip the coin before the game.
Game time at Bullitt Central on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.