MOUNT WASHINGTON - For 31 years, Bullitt East has had a strong rivalry in just about every sport with eastern neighbor Spencer County - except football.
That will change on Friday when the Bears visit Mount Washington for a non-district clash between two teams with 1-2 records.
Part of the reason for the inactivity was that Spencer County did not start playing football until about ten years ago. Still, the Bears have played both North Bullitt and Bullitt Central in regular season games, driving right past Bullitt East.
For the next two seasons, the dates worked out just fine and the teams will play a home-and-home series.
Spencer County, a Class 4-A program, did scrimmage North Bullitt at the start of this season and made a strong showing under first-year head coach Mike Marksbury. When the regular season started, the Bears dropped a 27-7 decision to a strong Bardstown team before falling to East Jessamine 29-20. Spencer County then entered the win column with a 21-20 victory over LaRue County last Friday.
With the pre-district portion of the schedule now half complete, each game becomes more important heading into the meaningful games in the second half of the season.
“Each game becomes more important,” Bullitt East head coach Darrell Vincent said on Monday. “We’ve seen the mistakes on film. We are focusing on elimination the mental mistakes so our execution is better and we do the little things by the district games.
“What we are trying to correct are the mental mistakes,” the coach added. “The effort has been great.”
Against Spencer County, the Chargers will face a wing-T offense led by quarterback Trent Holbrook, a junior. Through the first three games, Holbrook has completed 14 of his 22 passes for 189 yards with three of the passes going for touchdowns. When he keeps the ball, Holbrook has run the ball 31 times for 106 yards.
The top running back for the Bears is senior Matt Black who has rushed 21 times for 151 in the first three games. The Bears also use Chase Smith as a key running threat.
Another option for the Bears is sophomore Shawn Boykin in the backfield. He has returned a kick-off for a touchdown and a punt to the endzone in the last two games.
When Holbrook does put the ball in the air, Black is one of his favorite options along with Corey Sealey, a senior.
Bullitt East saw the wing-T offense in their only scrimmage at Franklin-Simpson a month ago. They have been seeing spread offenses since that time.
“It’s a little different for the linebackers and what they have to read,” Vincent pointed out. “They are really trying to get the ball to number 10 (Black) and number 5 (Boykin).”
Linebacker has been a problem for the Chargers as both Buzz Hadley and Nick Bomar missed the game last week against Fairdale with injuries. Vincent was hopeful that both players will be cleared to play on Friday. That forced senior Peyton Harris and junior Anthony Doran into the game last week.
“We have some guys who can fill in there and help out, but they just don’t have a lot of reps,” the coach said. “They will get that this week and get up to speed.”
Spencer County will be a good challenge for the Chargers.
“They have been more than competitive in all three games,” Vincent said of what he saw on film of the Bears. “They are a pretty good football team.
“They are gaining confidence,” the coach added of something his own team did last week. “We saw them against East Jessamine and then against LaRue County and they got a lot better between the second and third games.”
Game time on Friday at Bullitt East is set for 7:30 p.m.