Kerr’s 85-yard fumble return gives BE ‘mo’

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BULLITT EAST 49, Fairdale 26

By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - Momentum can be a fickle partner.

The Bullitt East Chargers have been on both ends of the spectrum during the first part of the 2012 season and that was certainly the case on Friday as the Chargers exploded for 28 points in the second quarter to roll past visiting Fairdale 49-26.

The game was tight midway through that frame and Fairdale was driving for more as they reached the Chargers’ 15-yard line. At that point, the Bullitt East defense forced a fumble that junior Evan Kerr picked up and returned 85 yards to set up another score for the red and gold.

That big play fueled Bullitt East to a 28-14 halftime lead that they never gave up.

Bullitt East pushed the margin all the way to 42-14 before Fairdale tacked on some late scores.

A year ago, the Chargers could not make the big play, falling to their Louisville rivals 27-21.

This time, the game was a battle of opposite wills. Fairdale, behind senior quarterback ‘Boo’ Crabtree, wanted to put the ball in the air while Bullitt East felt more comfortable with the ball on the ground.

When the Chargers got the big lead, the Bulldogs gave up on the running game completely, throwing on almost every down in the second half. Crabtree ended up throwing the ball 38 times, completing 26 of those passes for 371 yards. Conversely, Fairdale rushed the ball only 21 times for 60 yards.

It was nearly an opposite story for Bullitt East. The Chargers rushed the ball 52 times for 333 yards while quarterback Anthony Doran only had to put the ball in the air six times, completing three for 62 yards including the Chargers’ first score with a 14-yard pass to Cruise Coulter.

Fairdale’s 431 yards, to 395 for Bullitt East, marked the second time this season that the Chargers have been out gained yet won the game.

“We got a nice punt return from (Kevin) Carter and then Evan picked up that fumble and went 85 yards and that is stuff not on the yardage totals,” Bullitt East head coach Darrell Vincent said. “That fumble return really gave us the momentum.”

Still, this is a Bullitt East offense that is finding its stride under Vincent and coordinator Michael Fox. The Chargers played without senior running back Jesse Porter who was out with an injury, but the attack got the services of senior Blake McGill back and he had 140 yards on the ground while Brandon Samuels added another 138 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

“In two of the games this season we’ve had two running backs go over 100 yards,” Vincent noted.

A year ago, Bullitt East scored 30 points in the first three games of Vincent’s first-season at the helm. In 2012, the red and gold have scored 125 points against the same three teams.

“I just think the kids have more confidence in what we are trying to do,” the coach said. “The offensive line is doing and a good job and the backs are seeing the holes. Plus, we aren’t putting the ball on the ground (turnovers).”

The defense is giving up yardage, but they are making big plays at the right times.

“They had some tendencies and we capitalized on that,” Vincent said of the Fairdale rushing game. “They tried to run early. In the second half they only tried to run it one or two times.

“It is contrasting styles,” the coach added. “We took some time off the clock with the run.”

Fairdale did get the first points of the game when Crabtree kept the ball and scored from two yards out in the first quarter. Bullitt East answered that early in the second quarter when the Chargers marched down the field on a sustained drive that ended when Doran connected with Cruise.

Bullitt East led 7-6 after the Cruise score and they added to the margin when Robert Hartley scored from 15 yards out. Doran then made it 21-6 on an 8-yard run.

The Bulldogs were not done in that frantic second quarter as Crabtree scored again on a 10-yard run. Crabtree’s two-point pass to Clark Darius made it a one-touchdown game again. The Chargers then got some breathing room when McGill scored from 13-yards out in the closing moments of the half.

Early in the third quarter, Bullitt East put the pedal down, adding touchdowns as Samuels scored from a yard out before Doran added a 3-yard touchdown run.

With the game no longer in doubt, Fairdale added two late touchdowns on 25- and then 31-yard passes. The final margin came when Samuels scored from 5-yards out.

After all seven of the touchdowns, Bullitt East senior Devyn Noe kicked the extra point. Noe was hurt in the second quarter a week earlier in the one-point loss to Jeffersontown and his absence affected the outcome of the game.

Another positive for the Chargers through the first three games is that the team has stayed relatively healthy. Porter did miss this game with a high ankle sprain and he will probably miss another week of action, but otherwise the red and gold are healthy.

NEXT GAME: The Chargers will go on the road on Friday as they will take on neighboring Spencer County. Bullitt East won the meeting last year in Mount Washington 7-6. The Bears stand at 1-2 this season after losing to LaRue County 14-12 last week.

Game time in Taylorsville is set for 7:30 p.m.