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MOUNT WASHINGTON - A home play-off game will be on the line on Friday when the Bullitt East Chargers return home to take on LaRue County in a key Class 4-A showdown.
The post-season scenario is simple. The winner of this game will finish second (behind Marion County) in the district and will host a game in the first round of the play-offs on Friday, Nov. 6. The loser will finish third in the district and will have to go on the road for all of the play-offs.
This will also be Homecoming Week at Bullitt East.
“It’s a big one,” Bullitt East head coach Doug Preston said on Monday. “They all feel like that to me right now. It’s a big district game.”
Bullitt East won’t be surprised at what LaRue County does. The Hawks keep the ball on the ground with a powerful three-prong attack. Knowing what is coming is one thing, stopping it something else all together.
Over the first eight games of the season, LaRue County (5-3) has rushed for 2,254 yards and thrown for just 352 yards.
The Hawks run out of the wishbone offense and at times will move into a wing-T alignment. Preston says that about 80 percent of the time it will be the wishbone.
The quarterback is sophomore Jordan Brewer and his job is to hand the ball off. Brewer has thrown just 45 passes and completed only 19 of those attempts. He has thrown four interceptions to three touchdowns.
At times, senior Lucas Chaudoin has stepped in and played quarterback.
The strength for the Hawks is at running back. LaRue County is led by junior Alex Lee who has gained 927 yards this season. In addition, sophomore Drew Newberry has 643 yards and senior Ryan Wafford has 382 yards. Those three running backs also have most of the team’s pass receptions.
Much like Bullitt East does with senior lineman Mason Kelly, the Hawks will flop their offensive linemen from side-to-side and then run behind them. The top lineman for the Hawks is senior center David Blair.
“They are pretty good all-around,” Preston said. They have one really big tackle. They will take what you give them. The fullback is a pretty good player.”
Last week, North Bullitt spread the field on the Chargers and threw a lot of passes. The defensive scheme will change this week.
“You have to do what you have to do to stop people,” Preston explained. “If they don’t put any receivers out there then you bring people in tighter.”
The Hawks have been up and down in recent weeks. The team had 530 yards of total offense and lost three weeks ago to Central Hardin. They then came back and beat North Bullitt 42-6. Last week they fell to Marion County 33-7 with just 144 yards of total offense.
“Scores can be deceiving,” Preston said. “I thought they were just as good as Marion County. Marion just had some big plays. North played with them for a half and then the wheels fell off for them. It’s hard to say what happened. It will be tough for us.”
During the week, Preston wants his team to enjoy homecoming, but he doesn’t want them to get lost in the main event - Friday’s game.
“We’ll just stay with our regular routine,” the coach said. “With it being a big district game then I don’t worry too much. That’s all you can do.”
Snapping the team’s five game losing streak last week with the 21-13 win over North Bullitt should help the team’s confidence.
“I think our kids have been pretty even keel all the way though,” Preston said. “We have some things going on for homecoming. Our emotions will be a little better after we won. I know I will be feeling better. A win is better than a loss.”
It was a win for Bullitt East last week, but the Chargers suffered more injury losses. On Monday, Preston said that sophomore running back Taylor McMillen is lost for the season with a broken collarbone while senior wide receiver T.J. Blevins is out with a broken leg. That is on top of the loss of junior Brandon Hanna who was lost for the season with an injury in practice last week.
Preston noted that at times against North Bullitt the Chargers were playing four sophomores and a freshman on offense and three sophomores and a freshman on defense. Very few seniors are playing now.
Game time on Friday in Mount Washington is set for 7:30 p.m. The Football Homecoming festivities will start at 7 p.m.