Chargers travel to Spencer Friday

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - A rivalry that is hot in many sports will look to expand to football on Friday as Bullitt East travels to Taylorsville to take on the Spencer County Bears.

This will be the first trip ever for a varsity football team from Bullitt East to take on the Bears despite the fact that the two schools are only 20 miles apart. Of course, part of the reason for the lack of a football rivalry between the two neighbors is that Spencer County has only been playing football for the past decade or so, but they have faced both North Bullitt and Bullitt Central before the series started a year ago against Bullitt East.

That first meeting, in Mount Washington, was a barn-burner before Bullitt East garnered a 7-6 victory over their Class 4-A rivals.

Bullitt East head coach Darrell Vincent is quite familiar with what the rivalry could become after many years of battling Spencer County when he was an assistant basketball coach with the Chargers. The squads are tentatively set to battle again over the next two years.

This is the second year that Mike Marksbury has been the head coach at Spencer County. The Bears posted a 5-7 mark last year, beating Doss in the first-round of the playoffs before falling to Martha Layne Collins.

This year, the Bears are doing some major rebuilding, but are running the same base offense.

“They are a bit different than the teams we have been playing this season,” Vincent said on Monday. “They are wing-T. We’ve seen them on 122 plays and 102 of those have been running plays.”

Spencer County stands at 1-2 entering Friday’s contest. The Bears lost to Bardstown 33-19 in the opener before they beat East Jessamine 17-7. Last week against LaRue County, a late field goal was missed as the Bears lost 14-12.

“I saw that tape of them against LaRue County and I thought that in that game, they should have won,” the Bullitt East coach added.

The back that makes the Bears go is quarterback Trent Holbrook, who was under center in the meeting with Bullitt East last season. The senior is 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds.

“He is tall and lanky,” Vincent said. “He does a good job faking it and then can run some option out of the wing-T.”

Holbrook is not going to throw it a lot. He completed just one of seven passes for 12 yards against LaRue County, but he did go 4-of-6 for 67 yards in the win over East Jessamine. In the opener against Bardstown, Holbrook did not complete any passes in four attempts. That numbers leave Holbrook with two interceptions and one touchdown pass.

The top ground gainer for the Bears is speedy junior Shawn Boykin. Through the first three contests, Boykin has carried the ball 43 times for 277 yards. That is just ahead of the 262 yards on 36 carries by Holbrook. Three other Spencer County runners have picked up between 74 and 106 yards through the early games this season.

Of Spencer County’s six touchdowns in three games, four have been scored by Holbrook on the ground while he passed for another, a 48-yard connection with Chase McIntosh.

The best power runner for the Bears this season was expected to be senior Will Eldridge, but he has been slowed by an injury. He has played in only one game with 12 carries for 47 yards, but Vincent said that they expect to see him on the field this week.

On defense, the Bears’ base alignment is a 3-5, but they have been moving the ends up in running situations. Bullitt East has been throwing the ball well enough that teams have not been stuffing the box with defenders.

“We expect them to do that,” the coach said of the Bears walking their ends up to the line. “They are aggressive in the first three games. We’ll see linebackers in the gaps.

“We have been effective enough in the passing to combat that,” Vincent said of keeping defenses honest. “With most of our line back from last season, we have been able to open holes and the backs have gotten through the front and into the open.”

Unlike the past two seasons, Bullitt East has managed to stay healthy to this point in the season. In fact, senior running back Jesse Porter, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss to Jeffersontown, is the only play that the Chargers will not have available on Friday.

Senior Devyn Noe, who was also hurt in the Jeffersontown loss, returned to action against Fairdale, but he only kicked the ball. Vincent expects that with a few more days of rest that Noe will be also be able to play in the defensive secondary against Spencer County.

Game time in Taylorsville on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.