NB gets in win column with late stand

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By Thomas Barr

 JEFFERSONTOWN – If North Bullitt head coach Brett Newton had any question about the heart and determination of his football squad, those doubts were erased on a hot and humid Friday night.

     Coming off a pair of losses, North Bullitt would get an important 22-20 victory over the Jeffersontown Chargers.

     But the victory wasn’t sealed until the final buzzer as a 26-yard field goal was just wide left.

     “This is the proudest I’ve been in a long time,” said the veteran head coach. “We’ve had some big struggles with injuries and attrition but we survived tonight.”

     Throwing out its original offensive scheme, North Bullitt went to the shotgun set with Logan James taking a majority of the snaps.

     “We had to do something,” said Newton, whose team had struggled offensively the first two games. “We’ve got to get the ball in the hands of Dalton Casey more and Logan has the ability to making things happen.”

     Casey, who earned the starting quarterback’s spot, is now being used both as a running back and as a key receiver.

     But the key has been the improved play of the young offensive line, which returns just one starter from last season.

     “The line is playing much better but we have a long way to go,” said Newton. “The line is blocking better and that gives the quarterbacks a little more time to throw.”

     It looked like it might be a long evening for the Eagles.

     On the opening possession, Jeffersontown went 60 yards in just four plays with quarterback Kendrick Gardner covering the final eight yards. The key play was a 35-yard connection.

     Down 6-0 with 10:20 remaining in the first quarter, North Bullitt’s offense was ineffective in the opening half.

     However, the Eagles put together a 10-play, 62-yard drive.

     The big play on the drive was James hitting Casey for a 31-yard completion.

     It was Casey who carried the ball the final four yards for the touchdown with 3:33 left before intermission. On the third attempt of a two-point play, James kept the ball and got into the end zone.

     The host team appeared poised to take the lead just before halftime. However, the drive stalled at the one yard line as time expired.

     On fourth and eight, Gardner threw a 25-yard pass play to the 1. With the clocking running out, Gardner was stopped short of the goal line as time expired.

     Using that momentum, North Bullitt took the first possession of the third quarter with James breaking free for a 52-yard touchdown. James, a sophomore, then hit Nate Johnson for the two-point conversion and the 16-6 lead.

     The Chargers came right back covering 56 yards in just four plays. T.J. Sanders busted up the middle to cover 48 yards for the score. Gardner’s run made it 16-14 North Bullitt.

     On its next possession, the home team went 12 plays and covered 59 yards. On a fourth and goal from the 2, Gardner was able to pick up a bad snap and got outside the defense for the touchdown. With 39 seconds left in the third quarter, Jeffersontown took the 20-16 lead.

     North Bullitt would do what it likes to do – control the ball -- for its winning drive.

     Starting at its own 8-yard line, North Bullitt appeared to be out of trouble when James hit Matt Coulardot for a 22-yard gain. However, the quarterback was past the line of scrimmage.

     No problem as James connected with Casey for a 43-yard play.

     Another key play in the series was a personal foul against Jeffersontown which gave North Bullitt a first down at the 36.

     Having been a run-oriented team in the past, North Bullitt went to the air for its final three plays of the game.

     After James hit Casey for a three-yard gain, he connected with Brady Threlkel for a 12-yard play to the Charger 11.

     On the first next play, James lofted a pass to Casey who dove into the corner of the end zone with 44 seconds left to play.

     Jeffersontown had one more chance down 22-20.

     After a 14-yard completion, North Bullitt was assessed a penalty for a late hit.

     With the ball at the 46, Sanders ran 12 yards to the 33. A final pass completion got the ball to the 15. With less than a second left, the field goal attempt went wide.

     “The kids have not given up,” said Newton, whose team has an off week this Friday. “We’ve had some injuries and our numbers weren’t great to start with. The kids are giving great effort.”

     Coming into the game with expectations of just wanting to get better, Newton said the victory would mean more.

     “It will give the kids belief that they can get the job done,” said Newton. “I am very proud of their effort tonight.”