Central ready for one of state’s toughest openers

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By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE -- The Bullitt Central Cougars will go on the road for the first round of the Class 6-A play-offs on Friday, but that doesn’t mean that the Cougars are in over their heads - which unfortunately was the situation a year ago.

Now, the Cougars will be involved in one of the most balanced first-round games in the state on Friday when they head to Richmond to take on Madison Central. The two teams have combined to win 16 games this season as both teams boast 8-2 records. In fact, only one other first-round game involves two teams with such lofty records.

In addition, the two teams have played almost an identical level of opponent. Madison Central’s foes have a 47-53 mark this year while Bullitt Central’s 10 opponents have a 48-50 mark.

The Indians secured the number two seed in District 8 with a 2-1 record. Madison Central beat both Shelby County and Clark County, but lost a 24-21 decision to Scott County in Georgetown.

This will be the first meeting ever between the two schools in football.

Besides the loss to Scott County, Madison Central’s other loss came two weeks ago when they were blown out at Highlands 46-0. The Bluebirds are the third-ranked team in Kentucky.

In fact, Madison Central’s two toughest non-district foes came at the end of the season. After the loss to Highlands, the Indians faced Boone County last week. The game was tied at 16-16 before Madison Central scored on a 75-yard hook-and-lateral play as the clock ran out.

For most of the season, Madison Central has been ranked amongst the top-20 teams in the state in the computer standings.

Of course, Bullitt Central football coach Danny Leasor is ready to take his team any place at any time for a play-off game. It’s hard to imagine after talking to the coach that the Cougars will be slight underdogs this week.

“It’s a challenge to them being a number two seed to face somebody like us,” the veteran coach said on Monday. “The probably thought they would get an easier draw.”

The Cougars faced Male in the first-round of the play-offs last season and this will be another quality foe.

“I’m very impressed,” Leasor said of the Indians. “They are very solid. We traded film with them on Saturday. We already had two films on them and then we saw the film of them against Boone County and Highlands. They haven’t changed anything (from the earlier film Leasor saw to the more recent ones).”

For the most part, the Indians want to keep the ball on the ground. Through the regular season, coach Kenny Turner’s team has rushed for 2239 yards while passing for just 772 yards.

“They go with one or two backs,” Leasor said. “It’s a lot like our offense. They go more under center than we do.

“They want to run it more than throw it,” the coach added. “They are capable.”

The leading rusher out of the Indians’ spread attack is senior Isaiah Kavanaugh who has picked up 983 yards. The back that most impressed Leasor though was senior Keshawn Simpson. He has a few more carries than Kavanaugh, but only 755 yards for the season. Still, the two backs have combined to score 27 touchdowns.

Another running back with a lot of yards is junior Shane King, who has 463 yards this season on 59 carries.

The quarterback that makes it all go is senior Zac Coldiron. He has completed 53 of his 109 passes for 741 yards. Coldiron has thrown seven touchdowns along with five interceptions.

The top receiving threat for the Indians is senior Tyler Mays with 16 receptions for 210 yards.

Leasor suspects that the Indians will attempt to get to the outside against the Cougars because the front four has played so well for Bullitt Central this season.

“I don’t see them physically being able to run up against our front four,” the coach said. “Our front four has been good. I don’t think they will push us around.”

Bullitt Central has had extra time to prepare for Madison Central since the Cougars did not have a game last week. Leasor did give the team Friday off, but they practiced every other day last week.

Leasor did say that the team would be without senior Jesse Vittitoe and junior T.J. Flener for the play-offs. Vittitoe tore the meniscus in his knee in the win over Southern and Flener suffered a broken thumb in the same game. Other than those two, Leasor said that everyone else should be able to go.

The winner of this game will advance to the second round of the Class 6-A play-offs and will face the winner of the Male-Shelby County contest.

The Road to Richmond

Bullitt Central will be using chartered buses for the trip on Friday to Richmond.

Fans making the trip will need to leave at least two hours before the game for the 112 mile trip. For those using an internet service, Madison Central is located at 705 North 2nd Street in Richmond with a zip code of 40475.

After picking up I-75 in Lexington and heading south to Richmond, fans will head to exit 90A which will be the Robert R. Martin Bypass and head west for a mile. You will then turn right on Lexington Road and follow that for two miles. At Ky-388 you will turn left (this is also 2nd Street) and head north. The school will be half a mile up 2nd Street at the intersection with W. Walnut Street.