Eagles pull away late to drop stubborn Grayson

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2011 Class 5-A Football Play-offs--First Round: North Bullitt 27, Grayson County 7

By Thomas Barr

    HEBRON ESTATES - Survive and advance.
    Those were the words of assistant coach Brian Wise to the North Bullitt Eagles, who were assembled following Friday night's playoff opener against Grayson County.
    While it may not have been a classic, the district-winning Eagles will take the 27-7 victory over the Cougars. That victory will earn North Bullitt another home game in the Class 5-A Region Two on Friday night against Jeffersontown, a victor over Bullitt Central.
    With only one loss in 10 outings, North Bullitt came out a little slow in the first half. In fact, neither team would light up the scoreboard until midway in the second period.
    "We weren't hitting the panic button," head coach Brett Newton said of the slow start. "We were concerned about some of the penalties and the line wasn't firing off the ball. But we felt we were OK."
    The first scoring drive covered 30 yards in only two plays. Patrick Egnor found Jesse King open for a 12-yard completion and a face mask penalty took the ball to the 14.
    Todd Asbury covered the final 14 yards for the touchdown, the first of three on the night for the senior.
    Derek Schweinhart converted the extra point for the 7-0 lead with 8:16 left in the first half.
    After the defense held, North Bullitt took over at its own 38. After Ryan Collins gained eight, Asbury broke free and scored as Zack Foster made a key block for the touchdown.
    The extra point by Schweinhart made it 14-0.
    Getting the ball first in the third quarter, Grayson County (5-6) made its longest drive of the evening.
    Starting on its own 32, the visitors would run 10 plays but the drive stalled at the Eagle 32.
    Taking over at the 28, North Bullitt went on its longest drive of the night.
    Thirteen plays covered the 72 yards with Asbury scoring from the 1. During the drive, four backs carried the ball.
    Schweinhart's extra point with 1:51 left in the third quarter made it 21-0.
    Grayson County appeared poised once again to make a scoring threat. During the 50-yard drive, Gary Talon connected with Braxton Williams on a key 24-yard pass on fourth down. However, the drive would end as North Bullitt's Cody Hodge intercepted a pass.
    For its final scoring drive of the night, North Bullitt went 54 yards in 11 plays. The big play was Mitchell Allen converting on fourth down with a 21-yard run.
    On the next play at the Grayson 7, Collins scored for a 27-0 lead.
    The lone scoring drive by Grayson followed. Going 45 yards in just seven plays, it was Nick Haycraft who started it with a 32-yard run and ending it with a 2-yard score.
    Michael Thomas kicked the extra point for the final 27-7 score.
    "It was a good win," Newton said of the victory. "We didn't hit on all cylinders at the beginning but this team has a way of figuring things out."
    Newton said it was good to get back a few injured players. Foster, Nick Crisp and Josh Exton all came back for duty after suffering injuries.
    "It was good to get them back," said Newton. "We will need them next week."
    Newton was pleased with the solid win but he said things would be much tougher this week as Jeffersontown comes to town.
    "We will have to step it up," said Newton.
    For the game, Asbury moved to within 50 yards of Dalton Cissell's career rushing mark of 2,143 for North Bullitt. Asbury was the fifth leading rusher in the state coming into Friday's game.
    North Bullitt accounted for 338 yards in offense, compared to 148 for Grayson County.
    The only negative for the Eagles was 90 yards on eight penalties, two of which came on the same drive.
    NEXT GAME - North Bullitt will host Jeffersontown, a 34-13 victor over Bullitt Central on Friday night. Kickoff will be 7:30 p.m.