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Fern Creek offense too much for Cougars

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Fern Creek 52, Bullitt Central 26

By The Staff

 LOUISVILLE - Bullitt Central football coach Dan Leasor does not like to lose. But even a thorough 53-26 defeat from the Fern Creek Tigers on Friday could not discourage the veteran coach.

"They thoroughly beat us tonight,” Leasor said of the 6-A district battle. “But our kids played hard for 48 minutes.”

Leading a resurgent program, Leasor’s main focus following the road loss was to be encouraged.

For the first time in many years, the Cougars have won five of its first seven games and there should be no reason the regular season mark couldn’t be 8-2, according to Leasor.

“Our kids played hard and that’s all I can ask,” said Leasor. “We’re playing for the county championship Friday and we are moving forward with this program.”

Next Friday is a battle for the Bullitt Cup against the host North Bullitt team. A win by the Cougars will earn the school possession of the Bullitt Cup over the next year.

On this past Friday, however, the Fern Creek offense was too much. The Tigers did not have to punt on the evening and the only time it failed to score was when it suffered a turnover.

“They have good athletes,” said Leasor. “They are a very good team.”

The contest start well as Jesse Vittitoe intercepted Bryan Hynes at the 30 and returned it to the 45. Jeremy Bennett got the big gainer with a 53-yard rush to get to the Tiger 3. On the next play, the junior running back got to finish the drive with the touchdown.

Hynes went back to work en route to a 302-yard night through the air. The host team went on a 12-play, 93-yard scoring drive finished with Hynes hitting Victor Terry on a fourth-and-goal play from the 3.

After the Cougar drive stalled, Fern Creek scored on its first play as Hynes hit Jerrell Moore on a 57-yard touchdown with 1:49 left in the first quarter.

Up 12-6, Fern Creek got on the scoreboard on the next play. Quarterback Damion Wibbles was hit from behind and Donte Johnson picked up the fumble and scored from 28 yards out. Hynes h it Jalen Harrington on the two-point conversion for a 20-6 lead with 1:35 still left in the first quarter.

Thanks to a 43-yard kickoff return by Jackie Hornback, Bullitt Central was in position for its next scoring drive.

Akeem Bennett had the big run, a 33-yard gainer, to set up the score. From the 5, Wibbles kept the ball for the score on the first play of the second quarter.

The Fern Creek offense continued to put on the heat. On the fifth play, Andre Brown scored from the 23. Hynes hit Jimmie Welch with the conversion for a 28-12 lead.

The Tigers got the final score before intermission. After Brown ripped off a 50-yard run, Hynes would connect with Carlos Smith on a 36-yard play. On the next play from the Cougar 9, Hynes carried it into the end zone.

Down 34-12 at halftime, Leasor said the goal was to come out and play hard for the entire second half and see if it could narrow the margin to have a chance to win in the final quarter.

With the ball on the opening possession, Bullitt Central drove from its own 4 to the Tiger 47 before it was forced to punt. However, the Tiger deep man fumbled the ball and Billy Gillahan recovered. However, the Cougar offense could not produce a first down.

In just five plays, the host team covered 75 yards with Hynes running into the end zone from the 11.

Bullitt Central came back with Wibbles scoring on a 31-yard keeper. The big play on the four-play drive was a 41-yard scamper by Jeremy Bennett.

The Cougars got the break it was looking for as Fern Creek fumbled on its next drive and Hornback recovered at its own 12.

However, the drive stalled and Fern Creek four plays later as Hynes hit Smith for the 25-yard score. Justin Newby kicked the lone extra point of the night for the 47-18 advantage with 10:01 left to play. Cougar Terry Coulter had at least two blocked extra point attempts.

Fern Creek’s final score came at the 6:20 mark when Moore scored from seven yards out.

The final points of the night came on a two-play, 60-yard Cougar drive. After Vittitoe ran for 30 yards, Jeremy Bennett covered the final 30 yards with 5:35 left. Wibbles ran for the two-point conversion and the final 53-26 score.

The Tigers put up some big numbers on the night. Hynes hit 17 or 23 passes for 318 yards. The winners had 620 yards of total offense.

For the Cougars, it was a good night on the ground with 310 yards on just 45 attempts. However, the visitors failed to complete any of its 10 passes.

“We’re OK,” said Leasor. “I told the kids there is no reason to be down. We have had a good season and this program is getting better. Our goal now is to win the county championship next Friday.”

NEXT GAME - The big battle will be at North Bullitt (4-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles lost to Bullitt East last Friday and is looking to snap a two-game losing streak.