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MOUNT WASHINGTON - As the visitors were celebrating in the rain, the Bullitt East Chargers were already in the locker room on Friday night.
The Bourbon Bowl may spend the next year in Nelson County’s trophy case but coach Doug Preston’s Chargers have another prize in mind.
Putting the 31-6 defeat into the past, Preston and his team were already talking about this Friday night’s playoff opener in Mount Washington against 4-A foe Fairdale.
In reality, there weren’t a lot the Chargers wanted to remember from a windy, rainy night.
“I thought we played well in the first half,” said Preston. “But they owned us in the second half.”
With the game against the Class 6A Cardinals having no bearing on the playoffs, Preston said he played a few more younger players as injuries have continued to mount all season.
Besides the injuries, Preston said too many players are competing every play on each side of the ball.
On its first play, Wade Kelly ripped off a 51-yard gain but the drive stalled at the Nelson County 14. Ad the rain began to fall, the snap for a 32-yard Caleb Noe field goal was high.
On its second drive, Bullitt East would get its lone points. The 43-yard drive took eight plays before Zach Caudill scored from 15 yards out. The conversion kick again featured a bad snap and the run was no good.
Nelson County came right back to take the lead for good.
On its fourth play from the Nelson County 44, Daniel Mudd hit Josh Pride for a 56-yard touchdown pass. Mudd also kicked the extra point for the 7-6 lead.
With the Bullitt East offense unable to move the ball, Nelson County scored just before halftime.
Starting on its own 49, the Cardinals’ Alex Downs ran for 12 yards and Mudd hit Quentin Brooks on consecutive passes. Downs would then run 15 yards to the 1.
It was Mudd who called his own number for the touchdown and the conversion.
After intermission, it was all Nelson County as Bullitt East could muster just one first down and committed two fumbles on special teams play.
Mudd connected on a 28-yard field goal with 1105 left in the fourth quarter and Bullitt East came up short on a fourth and one attempt. Three plays later, Downs got free for a 36-yard touchdown.
The kickoff was fumbled and Nelson County needed just two plays to score. Mudd covered the final six yards.
“We’re just very young,” said Preston. “It’s not an excuse; it’s reality.”
He felt the visitors controlled both sides of the line.
‘Nelson County is big up front and they hurt our young tackles,” said Preston, whose team finished at 4-6 and the second seed in the district.
He was pleased with the play of Zack Martin at the running back position.
While it was senior night and about a dozen were honored prior to the game, only four actually suited up as injuries have sidelined a number of Chargers.
A major loss was Jonathan Bernard and Preston wasn’t sure if the running back would be cleared to play on Friday.
“We’re just so young and we have so many players going both ways,” said Preston.
He tried to get some of the starters out of the game when the margin grew. He said it did give him an opportunity to see some of the younger players in action and it prevented possible injuries to the remaining healthy players.
“We go back to work on Monday,” said Preston, who said the coaches talked to the players about getting a clean slate heading into Friday’s playoff game.
NEXT GAME - The Fairdale Bulldogs will bring a 7-3 record into Mount Washington on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The winner will advance to play the Western-North Bullitt winner the next week.