HEBRON ESTATES - When Darrell Vincent and his Bullitt East staff was scouting North Bullitt, there really wasn’t any mystery.
Todd Asbury was going to run the ball a vast majority of the time.
The only problem Friday night was how to stop the senior running back.
And after Asbury ran for a school-record 406 yards on 46 carries, the mystery on how to stop him remains unsolved.
In a see-saw intracounty classic, North Bullitt scored the final 12 points to defeat Bullitt East 39-28.
The victory clinched the district title, the Bullitt Cup and possibility two home playoff football games.
For the home fans, it appeared to be a short night. On the first play from scrimmage, Asbury broke loose and ran 80 yards for the touchdown. Derek Schweinhart kicked the extra point.
After Bullitt East punted, North Bullitt went on an incredible 20-play drive that resulted in no points. When the drive stalled at the 3, North Bullitt lined up for a field goal but holder Cameron Davis ran the ball but was stopped on the 1.
However, Davis recovered a Charger fumble at the 23. On the second play of the drive, quarterback Patrick Egnor hit Ryan Collins on a 21-yard touchdown toss. Schweinhart’s conversion made it 14-0.
It was Bullitt East’s offense that went on a 17-play drive with Buzz Hadley covering the final two yards for the touchdown. Devyn Noe hit the kick to make it 14-7 with 47 seconds left in the first half.
Trying to run the clock out, a fumbled exchange gave Bullitt East the ball at the Eagle 14. On the third play, quarterback Nathan Christmas found Jessie Porter in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard scoring toss with 15 seconds left. Noe’s extra point gave Bullitt East the momentum and a 14-14 tie at intermission.
“We felt good at halftime,” said Vincent. “We fought back and tied the game and we got the ball first in the third quarter.’
However, what Eagle head coach Brett Newton called the biggest series of plays transpired.
On the first play, Collins came up with a Charger fumble. On the very next play, Asbury scored on the second of five touchdowns on the night from the 18.
But on the very next play, Taylor McMillen took the kickoff at the 1 and didn’t stop until he reached the end zone 99 yards away. Noe’s kick knotted the score again at 21.
North Bullitt needed just seven plays to cover 85 yards with Asbury busting through the line and scoring from the 50-yard line. The conversion kick was low, leaving the Eagles ahead 27-21.
The Chargers came right back and went 63 yards on six plays. McMillen got his second touchdown from the 10-yard-line. When Noe converted his kick, Bullitt East was back on top 28-27 with 6:37 left in the third quarter.
To answer, North Bullitt needed 15 plays to cover 80 yards. However, it was midway in the drive that Vincent called a big play. On fourth and nine, Egnor appeared to be in trouble but was able to find Mitchell Allen open for a 24-yard conversion.
For Vincent, there were North Bullitt linemen downfield prior to the pass but nothing was called.
Instead of getting the ball back near midfield, Asbury got the opportunity to score on a 2-yard play to open the fourth quarter.
Up 33-28, the North Bullitt defense made one last stand and forced a Bullitt East punt with 8:10 left to play.
Asbury capped off an eight-play drive, in which he carried on every play, with a 44-yard touchdown with 4:22 left.
“I don’t think of yardage,” said Asbury. “We just want to win and I want to help us win.”
Before the game, Asbury said he told his mother that he would score a touchdown on the first play. And he did.
“Credit the offensive line. They opened up holes and I just try to run hard,” said Asbury, who now has over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season.
Although the victory was big, Asbury said the Eagles aren’t finished.
“It’s huge but we have bigger goals,” said Asbury.
For Newton, he didn’t expect to be 7-1 at this stage of the season. But he never expected an offensive line with little varsity experience to mature so quickly.
“It’s a mature bunch,” Newton said of the team. “We get behind but no one panics. We’ve come back before.’
Still, Newton admitted the halftime talk was more about missed opportunities and adjustments that needed to be made.
“We should have been up 21-7 but we weren’t,” said Newton. “The kids just needed to come out and play a little more aggressive on defense.”
Coming off a great week of practice, Newton said he was very pleased with the continued improvement of the offensive line.
And he was pleased that a few of the adjustments on defense worked.
“We felt like if we could get a turnover or make a stop, we’d be OK,” said Newton. “But credit Bullitt East for playing hard. They have a lot of talented runners.”
Offensive play calling isn’t too difficult with Asbury in the backfield.
“He just has a knack,” Newton said of Asbury’s ability to gain yardage. “You don’t realize it but he has a lot of yards. He spins, he bobs and he runs hard.”
“He runs hard but they all play well together,” Vincent said of the Eagle offensive unit.
The first-year head coach was again pleased with the effort of his players.
However, the turnover to open the third quarter was a key, as was the non-call on the screen pass.
“We’re just a play away,” said Vincent, whose team is now 1-1 in the district. It will be battling for a home playoff game when it entertains Shelby County next Friday.
“I’m proud the way we fought back,” said Vincent.
For the game, North Bullitt had 518 total yards, with only 45 coming through the air. Bullitt East had only 20 yards in the air with another 170 on the ground.
North Bullitt (7-1) did not punt in the game and Bullitt East (4-4) punted only three times.
NEXT GAME - Bullitt East will return home to entertain Shelby County, which is winless in two district games. A Bullitt East victory will guarantee a second seed in the first round of the post-season and that will be played in Mount Washington. A loss would result in Bullitt East, Bullitt Central and Shelby County having one district victory.
North Bullitt will hit the road next Saturday as they travel to Trigg County for a 6 p.m. kickoff.