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TAYLORSVILLE - Into every high school football season, a little rain must fall.
Unfortunately, for the Bullitt East Chargers, it poured bad news on Friday as the red and gold had no answers as the Spencer County Bears ran to a 27-0 victory that put a quick halt to what have been a positive start to the 2012 season in Mount Washington.
In just the second meeting ever between the two neighbors, Spencer County did not complete a pass, attempting just one, but overpowered the Chargers on the ground, carrying the ball 47 times for 302 yards.
It was just the opposite story on the other side of the ball as the Chargers could not get out of their own way. Bullitt East rushed for 161 yards, but completed just three of seven passes for 16 yards.
After starting the season 2-1 and averaging nearly 42 points a game over those contests, the Chargers were ill-prepared for a contest that both schools hope can become an annual rivalry.
"It's all on me," second-year Bullitt East head coach Darrell Vincent said after the meeting with his players on the field. "We weren't prepared to play. That's my job. For whatever reason, we didn't come to play tonight.
"We tried to tell them how important this game was to their program," the coach added of a Bear's program that has only been playing football for about the last ten years. "Then we had the penalties and we hurt ourselves. Our linebackers didn't attack until the second half."
Bullitt East just could not make the big plays at the right time. Or made the wrong plays at the wrong time.
On the opening drive of the game, the Chargers moved from their own 29-yard line to the Spencer County 29-yard line on seven plays. On the eighth snap, quarterback Anthony Doran broke through an opening on the right side and reached the 20-yard line. When Doran hit the ground, the ball came loose and the Bears recovered on a play that was hotly contested by the Bullitt East sideline.
That would be the deepest penetration for the Chargers until the final minute of the game.
Still, down 14-0 at halftime, Bullitt East came out to start the second half and the defense shut down the Bears on three straight plays, forcing a 3-yard loss to the 17-yard line. That forced Spencer County into a punting situation.
First, the Chargers were called for being off-sides. Then, when the ball was punted, they failed to catch the low, line-drive, allowing it to hit and bounce 20-yards to the 17-yard line. That translated into a 66-yard change of possession that not only backed the Chargers up, but also ended any momentum gained from the defensive stand.
"We started out OK and then the fumble and they gained the momentum and we were not aggressive," Vincent pointed out. "We didn't do anything we schemed until the third quarter. Then we put the ball on the ground and that is something we haven't been doing this year."
In both of the earlier wins this season, the Chargers have had two different running backs rush for at least 100 yards. In this game, the best the Chargers could do was 53 yards from Brandon Samuels on nine carries while Blake McGill had 45 yards on 14 carries.
It was Spencer County that had the duel rushing threats as junior Shawn Boykin carried the ball 11 times for 98 yards while freshman Logan Holbrook finished with 97 yards on the ground as he carried the ball 13 times.
"Spencer did a nice job running to their strengths," Vincent noted. "We didn't maintain our blocks like we have been this season. We weren't focused and that is on the coaching staff.
"The way we had scored points in the first three games we weren't concerned that we wouldn't move the ball," the coach added. "The kids did different things. We would open a hole outside and then run inside and other times the hole would be inside and we'd go outside."
In a game in which there were 92 rushing plays and only eight passes, the clock moved quickly. The 14-0 deficit at halftime was a bigger hurdle than it might have been in other contests.
The Chargers' split-back veer offense is powerful in tight games, but it is not well suited for playing from behind, especially by more than a touchdown. Doran has throw touchdown passes this season, but those have come when opponents crowd the line of scrimmage trying to stop the rushing attack. When Spencer County slowed the Chargers' rushing game, there was no room to throw the ball.
"We have some kids who have made plays," Vincent pointed out. "We put the ball in the hands of the receivers and we dropped the ball. Those are plays we have to make."
After the early Bullitt East fumble, the two teams exchanged punts before Spencer County's Chase Smith broke loose on a 53-yard run to the Bullitt East 21-yard line. However, that drive ended when the Chargers' Kevin Carter blocked a field goal attempt.
Bullitt East picked up just one first down and then punted only to have Spencer County give the ball back with a fumble two plays later. That Bullitt East push garnered two first downs but then stalled when a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Spencer County had 12 plays in the game of negative yardage, but when they did get rolling, they put up big numbers. In the next drive, the Bears had consecutive runs of 21-, 14- and 25-yards to reach the Bullitt East 6-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Trent Holbrook kept the ball and scored from 2-yards out.
After picking up just one first down, Bullitt East had to punt and the short effort gave Spencer County the ball at midfield. Three of the four plays in that drive went for 14-, 14- and then 18-yards when Logan Holbrook got the touchdown on the 18-yard run with 2:16 remaining in the half.
That made it 14-0 at halftime.
Bullitt East made the good defensive stand to start the second half, but the offense went 11 minutes without a first down. In fact, the Chargers had only three first downs in the second half.
Early in the fourth quarter, Spencer County took over on their own 12-yard line after a Bullitt East punt. The Bears ran the ball on 14 straight plays as they took eight and a half minutes off the clock. Twice the Bears fumbled in the drive but managed to get the ball back.
The big drive ended when Boykin cut a sweep play inside and scored from 12-yards out with 3:34 remaining in the game.
Two plays later, Bullitt East fumbled trying to make a big play. The frustration showed as the Chargers were whistled for a pair of penalties after Spencer County recovered, one by a player and another by the coaching staff. That put the ball on the 7-yard line and the Bears scored two plays later as Smith covered the final 5-yards to account for the final score.
NEXT GAME: The Chargers will be back on the road on Friday as they will take on Waggener. The Wildcats are 0-3 after losing to Grant County last Friday.
Game time in St. Matthews on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.