Eagles will be looking in a mirror at Woodford Co.

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By Mike Farner

HEBRON ESTATES - The North Bullitt Eagles may feel like they are looking in a mirror on Friday when they line-up to battle Woodford County.

The Yellowjackets run the exact same offense as the Eagles and do have many of the same tendencies. The teams also have much the same schedule as both have already played South Oldham. Woodford County opened the season with a 27-12 win over the Dragons and then beat Western Hills 28-22. Playing at home for the first time last Friday, the Yellowjackets dropped a 24-17 decision to Paul Dunbar High School, a team that had just one victory in its last 14 games.

This will be the first meeting ever between North Bullitt and Woodford County, a Class 5-A program.

A year ago, Woodford County finished with a 5-6 record, losing in the first round of the Class 5-A play-offs to Covington Catholic 42-13. The Yellowjackets graduated a lot of players from that team.

When they do line-up, Woodford County using the shotgun offense and they will go with no huddle. That is the same offense that North Bullitt shifted too this year. Like the Eagles, the Yellowjackets will also occasionally use a ‘wildcat’ look with other players shifting to the quarterback role and running the ball.

“They are a lot like us,” North Bullitt head coach Brett Newton said on Monday after his team practiced on Labor Day. “They run the same offense.”

The coach pointed out that the Yellowjackets will use the shotgun about 90 percent of the time and in the two films that the Eagles saw, they threw the ball about 65 percent of the time.

Through the first two games of the season, Woodford County averaged 35 passes a game. Senior quarterback Ryan Garrahan completed 45 percent of those passes for 459 yards with five touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Garrahan is 6-2 and 220 pounds, but he seldom runs the ball himself.

Like North Bullitt, Woodford County splits the tight end away from the interior lineman. The Yellowjacket tight end is senior Bobby Neal who is the Garrahan’s favorite target at 6-4, and 230 pounds. Neal had ten catches for 144 yards and two scores in the first two games. Two touchdowns also went to senior Stan Serdyuk who had seven receptions for 148 yards.

When Woodford County does keep the ball on the ground, the main rushing threat is junior George Howard who is averaging 17 carries a game for just 65 yards an outing. He did rush for one score in the first two games. As it turns out, Howard actually had more rushing yardage in the first two games than the entire Woodford County offense because Garrahan has negative yardage because of sacks.

The best lineman for the Yellowjackets is senior Trey Gentry at 6-1, 245 pounds.

On the other side of the ball, Woodford County started the season in a 3-3 stack, but in some recent games have shifted to a 4-2 look that Newton expects to see on Friday.

Because both teams run so many of the same alignments, this might feel more like an intrasquad scrimmage than a real game.

“It will be kind of interesting for both sides,” Newton said with a laugh. “It’s like practicing against ourselves on both sides.”

Still, at this early stage in the season, Newton is more worried about his own team. He was pleased to see improvement between the first and second game. With such a young squad, it was a confidence boost to get a win last week even if it was the 19th straight loss for South Oldham.

“We saw a lot of improvement individually from the first to the second week,” Newton said. “For 70 percent of our kids it was their first varsity games and against South Oldham they actually looked like they had played in a game.

“We didn’t make as many mistakes and we didn’t have as many problems lining up correctly,” the coach added. “The goal was to get better and we did. South Oldham had the same level of athletes we had so it was nice to get the win.”

This will be the first time for many of the North Bullitt starts to make a long bus trip and then get out and play.

“It will be something for them to handle,” Newton said. “In the past, they have just ridden the bus and gotten off and watched the game.”

North Bullitt did practice on Monday and they will not have a junior-varsity contest this week. In fact, there will not be a freshman game until Saturday so all the focus will be on the varsity this week.

Newton said there are no injuries and everyone should be ready to play.

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