North faces a ‘pride’ game with visit to Marion County

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By Mike Farner

HEBRON ESTATES - The North Bullitt Eagles will try to stop one of the hottest teams in the area on Friday when they travel into central Kentucky to battle district rival Marion County.

The Knights have won six straight games including a 33-7 victory over LaRue County last week.

This game will have no affect on the post-season bracketing for either team. Marion County has already wrapped up the number one seed for Class 4-A, District 4 with a 2-0 mark while at 0-2 North Bullitt will go on the road in November as the number four seeds.

“They are really good,” North Bullitt head coach Brett Newton said on Monday. “I guess we’re just playing for respect. We’re still trying to find answers to some of our own questions.”

Marion County is 6-2 overall this season with both losses coming at the start of the season. In their own ‘bowl’ game, the Knights were beaten by defending Class 4-A State Champion Bell County 26-21 and then they lost to Nelson County 31-14.

Since that time, the Knights have been on a rampage. Other than a four-point win over Bullitt East, coach Jeff Robbins’ team has won the other five games by at least 20 points each, including a 67-0 win over Taylor County.

Bullitt East gave Marion County a solid game before the Knights prevailed 18-14. Everybody expected a showdown last week against LaRue County but the Knights scored the last 33 points of that game for the easy win.

“I was pretty surprised at that,” Newton said since his team had lost to LaRue County 42-6 a week earlier. “It wasn’t a total domination. LaRue County moved the ball and played well at times, but didn’t get it in the endzone very much.”

Marion County held the Hawks to just 144 total yards of offense.

North Bullitt’s first job will be to try and contain the Bell brothers in Marion County’s high-powered wishbone offense.

Junior Jordan Bell gets the offense started for the Knights at quarterback. He has carried the ball 79 times for 482 yards. Marion County rarely throws the ball, but Bell has completed 19 of his 34 passes for 308 yards.

At times this season, Ryan Peterson has played at quarterback, but he is not nearly as athletic as Bell.

The top rusher for the Knights is senior Dylan Peterson who has 90 carries for 792 yards. The rushing is more by committee as Marion County has rushed for 2,560 yards in just eight games. Conversely, the team has thrown for just 488 yards.

The top receiving threat when the ball does go in the air is senior Bryson Bell who has caught a pair of touchdown passes amongst his nine receptions for 144 yards.

“They are very balanced since they have had number 10 (Jordan Bell) at quarterback quite a bit,” Newton said. “He’s faster. They have a lot of weapons.”

The good news for North Bullitt is that the Knights’ offense is much the same as the team has seen the last two weeks from LaRue County and Bullitt East.

“Those two teams did a lot of things, but as far as total weapons Marion County has that,” Newton pointed out. “It’s three different teams doing the same type of things.”

Of course, North Bullitt has had trouble slowing down that look, losing both of those district games. Newton isn’t looking to change his defense as much as he may change his offense some to slow down the Knights.

“We may try a few different things with the explosiveness of Marion County,” the coach said. “We might want to run the clock a little more, but mostly we’ll do the same thing.”

On defense, the Knights use a 5-3 alignment.

“They are strong up front and they will bring pressure and play man,” Newton explained.

North Bullitt has won its last two meetings with Marion County. Last season the Eagles prevailed 21-14 at home while a year earlier the Eagles won the district championship game, beating the Knights 20-13 in Lebanon. Marion County had beaten the Eagles 27-20 earlier that season at home.

Game time at Marion County on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.