Mud grabs the spotlight Friday

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By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE - As the two teams shook hands at the end of The Game on Friday night, Bullitt Central head coach Danny Leasor and his North Bullitt counterpart met off to one side. After shaking hands, the two long-time rivals smiled and then Newton broke out laughing.

What was said in that short moment?

“He told me we had a really nice team,” Leasor said back in the dry confines of the coaches’ office. “And that we had a really bad field.”

Leasor couldn’t argue and he certainly could see the humor in the quote.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of very bad football fields around the state this season. Six straight rainy Friday nights will do that. At Bullitt East, where the Chargers will host a play-off game this Friday, there is also more mud than grass.

It was just three years ago that the Bullitt East field might have been in the worst condition of any field I’ve ever watched a game be played on. That was a North Bullitt-Bullitt East play-off game and North Bullitt came out on top that night. At least everybody says the Eagles won that night. The players were so muddy that it was hard to tell just who was wearing which color jerseys.

Leasor says it takes a special mentality to perform in the bad weather.

“You have to be a player to know just how tough it is in these conditions,” the coach said. “It will be the same field next week. It’s pretty bad out there.”

And Newton might be chuckling again this week. The word on the coaching grapevine is that the field at Western, where the Eagles will open the Class 4-A post-season has no grass remaining.

Obviously, the weather has been the biggest factor in the poor field conditions this fall. At Bullitt Central, both of the Cougar soccer teams also played home matches on the football field this fall. At Bullitt East, the Ninth District Boys’ Soccer Tournament had the last three games played on the football field.

That is not to mention all the junior-varsity and freshman football games that have been played on both fields.

At this point, there is not a lot schools can do to improve the situation.

Bullitt East worked hard after that play-off game three years ago and the field has been above average since that time. It will have to be done again over the next eight months.

At Bullitt Central, this was a brand new surface. A lot of work went into it back in the summer to change over to the Bermuda surface like already is in place at North Bullitt and Bullitt East. The new grass just did not have enough time to take hold. The conditions should be better next season.

How do you prepare to perform in such conditions?

“We practiced in the biggest mud hole we could find this week,” Leasor said after the game. “We only had a fumble or two tonight. I was pleased the way we handled it.”

North Bullitt had a lot of problems with snaps from center, particularly in the second quarter.

The situation improved in the second half. Amazingly, the Eagles did not lose a fumble on Friday.

“We just made it clear at halftime that we didn’t care if he blocked the right guy or not, but that his first job was getting the snap to the quarterback,” Newton said of his center.