Chargers block Bears’ upset bid

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Bullitt East 7, Spencer County 6

By Thomas Barr

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - If nothing else, the first season for head coach Darrell Vincent has been exciting.

For the third time in four games, the fate of the Bullitt East Chargers wasn’t known until the final seconds.

On Friday, a blocked extra point saved the day as Bullitt East defeated visiting Spencer County 7-6.

The victory evened Bullitt East’s record at 2-2 on the season.

“We found a way to win,” said Vincent. “We were able to make the big play.”

However, Vincent wasn’t pleased overall with his team’s progress.

“We’re getting better in spots but we’re not doing it collectively,” said Vincent.

In the first half, neither team could cross the goal line.

Twice in the opening half, Bullitt East got to the Bear 25. One drive stalled on fourth down and another ended just before intermission with an interception at the 12.

Getting the ball first in the third quarter, Bullitt East went on an 18-play, 77-yard drive.

Buzz Hadley was the workhorse carrying five times on the drive for 31 yards. Quarterback Nathan Christmas converted a key fourth and three.

With first and goal at the 7, Bullitt East fumbled the snap but recovered the ball. The second play by Christmas gained no yards. However, on third day, Christmas rolled to the right but threw across the grain to find senior tight end Tyler Ashburn in the middle for the touchdown.

Devyn Noe kicked the extra point, which would wind up being the winning point for the 7-0 lead. Noe’s field goal in overtime provided the winning points in the season opening 9-6 win over Doss.

“That’s what we wanted to do,” Vincent said of the opening drive, which took over eight minutes off the clock.

Vincent said the team moved the ball well but would find a way to stall the drive.

“We’ve got to grow up,” said Vincent. “We can’t continue to make mental mistakes.”

Bullitt East seemed to be in the position to put the game away.

Spencer County had the ball at its own 38 when Ashburn recovered a Bear fumble.

On the first play, Christmas picked up 10 yards to get to the Bear 26. However, on the next play, Dalton Smith literally took the ball away from a Charger runner to stop that drive.

Spencer County went on its only scoring drive after the turnover.

The big play was a 50-yard bomb from Trent Holbrook to Morgan Brown.

On fourth down from the Charger 5, Holbrook drifted to his right and then looked across the field to find Matt Black open for the touchdown.

On the extra point, Brandon Taylor’s kick was blocked by Tyler Cowgill.

Looking to salt the game away, Bullitt East got a 31-yard kickoff return from Zach Martin. The Chargers would drive for 10 plays before stalling at the Bear 11. After a delay of game penalty, Noe’s 31-yard field goal attempt was wide.

Starting on its own 20, Spencer County had 4:13 minutes to score. Austin Story sacked Holbrook for an eight-yard loss. When the drive stalled at the 13, Spencer County elected to punt with 2:35 left.

However, Bullitt East failed to convert on fourth down gave the ball back to Spencer County at the Bear 40 with 38 seconds left in the game.

Holbrook and Brown attempted to connect on first down but the play was incomplete. However, going against double coverage, the duo got it right the second time for a 49-yard completion.

With the ball at the Charger 9, Holbrook spiked the ball. With 18 seconds remaining, Taylor was called on to kick a 31-yard field goal.

For the fourth time in the past two games, Bullitt East defenders were able to block the kick and preserve the 7-6 victory.

Vincent admitted he was a bit surprised that Spencer County immediately went for the field goal. However, he said that would allow for a second chance if the snap was fumbled.

“I was concerned,” Vincent said of the field goal after watching Taylor hit attempts of over 40 yards in warm-ups.

While the team doesn’t have confidence at times, Vincent said that isn’t the case when it comes to blocking kicks.

“They think they can block a kick at any time,” said Vincent. “We need that confidence on offense and defense.”

With the exception of the two long pass plays, Vincent said he was satisfied with the play of the defense.

“But we had two defenders there and all you have to do is knock the ball down,” Vincent said of the final long pass play.

For the night, Bullitt East rushed for 179 yards and Christmas connected on half of his 10 passes for 49 yards.

Spencer County had 212 total yards, with 110 coming on just four pass completions.

Hadley led the rushers with 107 yards on 24 carries.

Brown had 100 yards on two catches for the Bears.

NEXT GAME - The Chargers will return to Egan Field on Friday when Waggener visits. Kickoff will be 7:30 p.m. It is youth night with those activities starting at 7 p.m.