HEBRON ESTATES - While the North Bullitt Eagles have done some good things - and some not so good things - through the first three weeks of the season, veteran head coach Brett Newton has one simple point to make before the team takes on winless Waggener this Friday in Jefferson County.
“We’re not in position to take anyone lightly,” the coach said on Monday.
North Bullitt has some tougher games on the horizon so this is a good chance to gain some much-needed confidence while getting the record back to the .500 mark at 2-2.
“I hope we can do that,” Newton said. “They are just scary because they have a couple of kids that if you do the wrong things, they can take it the distance.”
So far, that hasn’t happened too often for the Wildcats, a Class 5-A team that will open district play next week against Bullitt Central.
In three outings, coach Robert Ross’ team has scored just 35 points. The season started with a 39-7 setback to Oldham County and then there was a 33-12 loss to Jeffersontown. It didn’t get any better last Friday when the Wildcats lost in overtime to South Oldham 22-16, snapping the Dragons’ 19 game losing streak.
North Bullitt beat South Oldham 20-7 the week before they played Waggener.
Waggener now has one of the state’s longest losing streaks as they have not won in their last 16 contests dating back to 21-20 victory over Iroquois on Oct. 19, 2007.
North Bullitt and Waggener have played off-and-on over the years. In the most recent meeting, the Eagles won 55-13 in 2007. The two teams were supposed to play on this week last year, but the game never took place when the windstorm in the area forced Jefferson County to cancel all football games for a week last fall.
Waggener went 0-10 last season, being outscored 515 to 90 in just ten games. That season ended with a 58-6 loss to Oldham County in the first round of the Class 5-A play-offs.
After that season, coach Wade Williams was replaced by Ross. He does have nine defensive starters back and seven on offense. Ross is the third coach in the past four seasons at Waggener.
In the past, Waggener has been a Wing-T offense, but they have expanded that this year with a more open look. The quarterback is junior Shazzon Humphrey or senior Jonathan Tidwell. The speedster that worries Newton is senior running back Shawn Wright who has run a 4.5 40-yard dash.
“The quarterback is an athlete,” Newton said. “You don’t want to chase him. You want to force him to throw it. They do have some decent running backs with speed.”
Up front, the Eagles will be bigger than the Wildcats. It will be the first time this season North Bullitt has had a size advantage in the trenches.
On defense, Waggener uses a 3-3 stack, an alignment that the Eagles have seen in recent weeks.
Still, before the season began Newton said that he wanted to use the first six games as a learning tool for his team and that he just wanted to see improvement each week. To this point, that has pretty much been the case.
“We threw for 260 yards and to nine different receivers last week,” Newton said of the tight loss to Woodford County. “We just have to keep doing that.
“That is kind of the object of our offense,” the coach said of using a lot of different receivers for quarterback Dalton Hadley to throw to. “We don’t want to give opponents one person to shut down.”
Newton did say that the team should be at full strength again this week.
Game time in St. Matthews at Waggener is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday.