East must defend pass-happy ‘dogs’

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - After scoring just nine points through the first two games of the regular season, first-year Bullitt East head coach Darrell Vincent said earlier this week that the team will spend more time on it’s problems than worrying about this week’s opponent - Fairdale.

Still stinging from a 28-0 loss to Jeffersontown that included eight fumbles, the Chargers are looking to correct little things instead of making major alterations.

Even after watching the film of the Jeffersontown game over the weekend, Vincent saw only two things - the turnovers and two major mistakes in the punting game.

“The film didn’t show us anything we didn’t already know,” the coach said earlier this week. “Our line played better in week two. The bulk of the issue was the negative plays with the turnovers. The main thing is holding onto the ball and then the punt team mistakes.”

At this point, the Chargers have too many players going both ways (five or six) to break the offense off and practice it separately while the defense works on its own. The two just have to split time, but Vincent said that his week the offense would get some extra repetitions.

Right now, Vincent just wants his team to hold onto the ball and then get a little confidence boost.

“They need to taste some success,” the coach said of the offense. “As many new things as we are doing, we have to get better. If we hold onto the ball we can score.

“They are a little frustrated, but the attitude has been good and they are working hard,” Vincent added. “We want to be better by the district games and I think we will be.”

Bullitt East and Fairdale played in regular season meetings every year from 2000 to 2008. The record was even at 4-4 with Bullitt East winning the first four encounters before Fairdale won the last four. The Bulldogs then took a lead in the series when they beat the Chargers 39-22 in a first-round play victory in Class 4-A.

Fairdale is still in Class 4-A while Bullitt East has now been placed in Class 5-A.

The Bulldogs have a new head coach in Chris Engstrand despite going 8-4 last season. Bullitt Central graduate Johnathon Miller, who coached the program for five seasons, was dismissed (and is now the offensive coordinator at Southern).

Still, in a scrimmage three weeks ago against Bullitt Central, the Bulldogs aired the ball out long and often. The outcome was not as good when the season opened and Fairdale dropped a 59-20 decision to Pleasure Ridge Park. The Bulldogs were then off last week.

The trigger for the spread offense is junior quarterback ‘Boo’ Crabtree who is familiar to local fans having started for the Fairdale basketball team last season in district games. Crabtree passed for 2,048 yards last season with 18 touchdowns.

The reason that Fairdale can pass so often is speedster Richard Rudolph on the outside. He scored 13 times last season with six coming on passes and another six on kick returns.

“He is a real good quarterback and Rudolph is a great receiver,” Vincent said. “What makes him so good is that he can go deep, but he can also turn those two- and three-yard screens into big plays. He can hurt you either way if you don’t run with him or don’t make the tackles.”

Fairdale also has a strong slot receiver as well as a hard running fullback.

“They have two or three threats,” Vincent said.

Fairdale does not have the experience upfront that they have in the ‘skilled’ positions. The Bulldogs have five starters back on offense and six on defense.

The good news for Bullitt East is that the team should be near full strength this week. Tight end/linebacker Buzz Hadley should be cleared to play this week after a concussion kept him out of last week’s game. That forced Gage Logsdon to play on just about every snap.

Game time at Fairdale on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.