Homecoming at East; North and BC on the road

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Friday Night Lights!

By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – After the first weekend shut-out for the three Bullitt County football programs, they will all be back in action this Friday as they try to get back to winning ways.

This is an important week for all three teams in that it will be the last tune-up for all three before they enter the three week district slate of games that will determine the success of their season – as well as the Bullitt Cup winner.

The only team at home this week is Bullitt East and they will be celebrating homecoming against Oldham County. The Colonels were the homecoming opponent for North Bullitt last week. The crowning of the Queen and King will take place at 7 p.m. with kick-off slated for 7:30 p.m.

On the road, North Bullitt will be at Henry County while Bullitt Central will make the short trip down I-65 to renew a very old rivalry with Elizabethtown. Both of those games are set to start at 7:30 p.m.

After this week’s action, North Bullitt will be traveling to Bullitt Central next Friday for The Game while Bullitt East takes the week off. The following week, the Cougars will clash with the Chargers in Mount Washington while North Bullitt plays Shelby County. The next week, Bullitt East and North Bullitt will play while Bullitt Central faces Shelby County. The final district game will be the following week when Bullitt East faces Shelby County.

Bullitt East vs. Oldham County

After a tough loss at Central Hardin last week, Bullitt East will try to regain some momentum going into their ‘bye’ week as they play host to Oldham County on homecoming night.

Oldham County was looking like a struggling team as they had lost three straight games before finding their ‘mojo’ last week with a 33-0 victory over North Bullitt in a steady rain. Despite the weather conditions, Bullitt East head coach Darrell Vincent still watched the Colonels throw the ball 60 percent of the time against the Eagles.

The Colonels opened the season with a lopsided win over Iroquois, but then lost consecutive games to North Oldham, Franklin County and South Oldham. That all changed with the win over North Bullitt.

“They looked pretty good,” Vincent said on Monday. “I’ve seen them play a couple or three games and they throw it 60 percent of the time. Even in the rain they were throwing it.”

Recently, the Colonels have been using two quarterbacks with both senior Ryan Grattan and junior James Harding taking snaps. When they do put the ball in the air, the top threat is number 11, according to Vincent, but the Oldham County roster does not include a player with that number. He is the speed threat while the bigger, stronger receiver is senior Elijah Keen who works the short routes in the screens.

Oldham County runs many of the same type plays that Central Hardin used last week but at a somewhat slower pace. The Colonels do hurry to the ball, but then put players in motion before snapping the ball. Vincent thinks the Colonels are pretty predictable after they make their final shifts in the ‘pistol’ offense.

“When we scheduled them last year they were running standard stuff and we wanted them to help us prepare for the more power-oriented teams in the district,” Vincent said. “Now they are wide open. They are more like the teams we have played and not the ones we’re about to play.”

Vincent did say that the Chargers will get senior defensive end Demarious Jordan back for this game. The coach was not as confident that seniors Cruise Coulter and Jake Rush would be ready to go this week, but he did expect both of them to return after the ‘bye’ week.

North Bullitt at Henry County

Over the past two seasons, Henry County has played Bullitt Central in this spot, but when those teams decided to look other places for games, North Bullitt took the chance and scheduled the Wildcats.

Henry County dropped its opener, falling to Shelby County 27-20, but thas reeled off four straight wins since that game. They have wins over Carroll County, Owen County and Holy Cross before rolling past Waggener 41-0 last Friday.

This could turn out to be the shortest game of the season and neither team will be putting the ball in the air very often. In the first five games, Henry County is running the ball at 200 yards a game while passing for just 25 yards a game.

The only quarterback who has played in all five games for the Wildcats is Austin Hartsell and he has completed just four of 14 pass attempts. Two other players had thrown passes, but the entire Henry County team has only attempted 24 passes with seven completions for the entire season.

Instead, coach Jason Spencer’s team is built around giving the ball to senior running back Mason Fish. He is averaging 141 yards a game on the ground on 14 carries. The only other Wildcat player who has rushed for more than 65 yards is Hartsell who has 148 yards on 43 carries.

“They are playing pretty well,” North Bullitt head coach Brett Newton said about the Wildcats. “They are predominately a run team with a little split-back look and a little ‘I’.”

Henry County just doesn’t have the athletes that North Bullitt battles against when they play the Jefferson County teams, but the Wildcats and well coached.

“They do a nice job, but they don’t have kids who can take it all the way on any play,” Newton pointed out. “They are fundamentally sound and do a nice job on both sides of the ball.”

On defense, the Wildcats best player is Fish and he is the middle linebacker.

“When they played Shelby County, it was an odd front,” Newton said. “Now the last two weeks it has been a 4-3, so we working on seeing that.”

Newton and his team felt they had turned a corner after beating Jeffersontown, but then after a ‘bye’ week, did not fire on all cylinders against Oldham County.

“We need to get back to playing well to have momentum going into the district games,” the coach said. “We felt we would be competitive with Oldham County. We had a chance to tie it at halftime and didn’t and they just pulled away in the second half.

“We just turned it over too much,” Newton added. “We are working on tightening that up.”

North Bullitt has been fortunate this season with injuries. Other than senior Jack Barnett still being out, the Eagles should be at full strength on Friday.

Bullitt Central vs. Elizabethtown

Before most of the Bullitt Central players were even born, the Cougars and the Elizabethtown Panthers had a pretty good rivalry going. They met just about every year for the first 20 years that the Cougars played football, but the series faded away in the early 1990s.

After a long break, the two programs will meet again when they clash on Friday at the new stadium that Elizabethtown just completed at the school (after for years playing at a field at the middle school). It will be the second straight week, and the second of three times this season, that the Cougars will play on artificial turf.

After the poor performance his team showed on Saturday losing at McCracken County, Bullitt Central head coach is more focused on his team this week than whoever the opposition is.

“We’re playing E-town and that is all I know,” Leasor said in his office on Monday before practice. “That’s all I want to know. Just call it selective amnesia.”

Elizabethtown has had some lean seasons recently, but they seem to be on the rebound now. The Panthers are 4-1, but other than South Warren, the team that beat them (35-0), the other teams are not in the same class as Bullitt Central. The other wins were against Fort Knox, Edmonson County and Washington County before they crushed hapless Breckinridge County 67-0 last week.

“E’town is a good team,” Leasor said. “They are young like us. They run more a conventional offense out of the ‘I’ like us along with some pro-set with a tight end. They will spread it a little, but that is when they are behind.”

Through the first four games, the Panthers have kept the ball on the ground. Quarterback Jack Wilson has completed just 13 of 48 pass attempts for only 200 yards. Conversely they were averaging 200 yards a game on the ground.

The main threat for the Panthers is senior running back Bernil Cecil who was averaging 148 yards a game before they played Breckinridge County. He is the only running back who is carrying the ball more than four times a game for the Panthers.

“E-town is a team that you can’t overlook,” Leasor warned. “That fullback, number 20 (James Washington), will knock your behind off. Cecil is a true ‘I’ running back.”

Bullitt Central needs to get some swagger back after the team’s first loss.

“You can’t live in the past, but you can learn from it,” Leasor pointed out. “We have to get back to some basic football things.”

Leasor didn’t think that senior Brett McConahay would be available in the secondary this week after suffering a concussion on Saturday. The Cougars will also be without another player in the secondary because of a suspension.

On the plus side, the coaching staff is hoping that junior Zack Patton has the ‘boot’ and crutches he has been using removed this week and that he can start preparing for a return in the next few weeks from the broken foot he suffered in the first game of the season.