Early goal gets East rolling in Bullitt Cup win over NB

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - The Bullitt County boys’ soccer wars got off to a quick start and an even faster finish over a three-day period last week.

On Thursday, North Bullitt invaded Bullitt Central for an early-season match up in the new 23rd District alignment. The Eagles got off to a slow start, but with two goals late in the first half rolled on to a 5-0 win

Two days later, it was an early-morning meeting on Saturday as Bullitt East and North Bullitt clashed in the annual Bullitt Cup Tournament. The Chargers got an early goal and then held a 2-0 lead at halftime before settling for a 3-0 win.

Bullitt Central did not take part in the Bullitt Cup as they are playing only five varsity matches this season as they start over from near ground zero with a group that includes no seniors and a big freshman group. Because of that, Bullitt Central will not play Bullitt East at all this season as they are not in the same district.

So, after the first-week of the regular season, we’ve already played all the intra-county contests in boys’ soccer that we’ll see this fall.

Bullitt Cup Soccer

Even with Bullitt Central pulling out of the traditional first Saturday of the regular season event, Bullitt East head coach Mike Brangers was steadfast in his desire to keep the one-day tourney alive. So, the Chargers and Eagles stuck with their early morning 8 a.m. schedule (if Bullitt Central had competed there would have been game at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and played on the dew-covered field.

Bullitt East got a goal in the first four minutes as Calvin Conaway sliced through the North Bullitt defense to score from 15 yards out. That score stood until Cameron Carter scored with just six minutes remaining in the first half.

In the second half, Bullitt East added an insurance goal when Brandon Hottois got free for a shot directly in front of the goal.

After that, Bullitt East’s defense did the rest as senior goalkeeper Reese Milburn turned back every North Bullitt scoring chance.

“We missed a lot of scoring opportunities early, but we played fine,” Brangers said after the match. “We’ll still trying out where everybody needs to be. Still, we played pretty well.”

The early morning start time is not normal for high school soccer matches.

“It didn’t matter much to me,” Brangers said with a smile. “The kids didn’t like it too much. We had hope that Bullitt Central would be here. Today was perfect (weather) to play this.”

This was the fourth match of the week for the Chargers and North Bullitt had played Bullitt Central just two days earlier.

“I don’t think we were tired,” the Bullitt East coach said.

North Bullitt head coach Chris Bass wanted his kids to be a little more aggressive on the offensive end.

“Four or five times if we followed up shots we could have scored,” the second year head coach said.

It was the third match of the week for the Eagles and they are now 1-2.

“I expected to start off rough,” Bass said of a team that lost 15 seniors from last season. “But we’re getting better. I see improvement.

“We did practice (on Friday after the Bullitt Central match),” the coach added. “The biggest thing we worked on was possession. The biggest problem is passing and talking to our teammates. The second half we improved on that today.”

Bullitt East moved to 2-2 with the win. The Chargers opened the season with a 3-2 setback to Fairdale and then lost 3-0 to a strong North Hardin squad. On Thursday, the Chargers got in the win column when they beat Southern 5-3. Southern is now part of North Bullitt’s district.

Even without Bullitt Central taking part, the coaches selected an All-Bullitt County team from the tournament. The Bullitt East players receiving the honors were Reese Milburn, Dillon Heichelbech, Hunter Shannonhouse, Michael O’Neil, Calvin Conaway, Cameron Carter and Brandon Hottois.

The North Bullitt players on the honor team were Tyler Whitmer, Isaac Heines, Jakob Patterson and Dakota McCreary.

NB-BC Clash

On Thursday, North Bullitt and Bullitt Central opened play in the new 23rd District with a contest in Shepherdsville.

The contest was scoreless through the first 32 minutes before North Bullitt scored twice over the final eight minutes of the half to take control of the contest.

The second goal of the half came in the final minute of the half. North Bullitt got a penalty kick, but the kick was missed and in the scramble after the shot, but ball went over the endline. North Bullitt quickly gathered up the ball and got off the corner kick. Bullitt Central was caught flat-footed and the corner by Kyle Pursley was headed in by Tyler Whitmer.

The first North Bullitt goal had been scored by Gaberial Berrier.

In the second half, North Bullitt got the jump on Bullitt Central after the ball changed hands after an illegal thrown-in. North Bullitt scooped up the ball and got it in to Pursley who raced behind the Bullitt Central defense for a close-in shot.

Later in the half, North Bullitt added goals by Whitmer and Christopher Glock.

“It was just inexperience,” first-year Bullitt Central head coach Dane Clark said after the game of the two key goals. “We lost our intensity a little there. We didn't get it back until the last few minutes.”

Still, only a handful of Bullitt Central players were even in the program last season so this first game was a promising start for the maroon and gray.

“It is. We’re really young,” the coach said. “They have seniors and juniors and they have size on us. That size made all the difference.”

North Bullitt is playing with a lot of new players also.

“A lot of the guys are new,” Bass pointed out. “We get the best we can out of them and we have a lot of work to do still.”

The goal just before halftime changed the game.

“They were celebrating the missed kick and a senior made a great play and took the corner quickly,” Bass said.

North Bullitt opened the season with a 9-2 loss to the new Thomas Nelson High School in Nelson County. Pursley and Whitmer had the two North Bullitt goals.