North hosts Shelby in key district game

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By Mike Farner

  HEBRON ESTATES – The North Bullitt Eagles won’t have much time to rebound from last week’s loss to Bullitt Central as they have an important date on Friday with visiting Shelby County.

The Rockets are the defending Class 5-A, District 4 champions and managed to beat the Eagles 49-0. That Rockets team went on to post a 9-3 mark, eventually losing to Jeffersontown in the second round of the play-offs.

Shelby County and veteran head coach Todd Shipley suffered heavy graduation from that strong team a year ago. Still, they have managed to get off to a 3-2 start heading into district play starting this week. The Rockets will play Bullitt Central and then Bullitt East over the next two weeks.

One odd thing about the schedule for the Rockets is that they will play only nine regular season games this season. They have already had two ‘open’ dates.

If you like looking at comparative scores, which many coaches don’t, then it appears that this two teams are very evenly matched. Shelby County opened the season with a 27-20 win over Henry County in New Castle and five weeks later the Eagles beat the Wildcats 22-17 on the same field.

The Rockets have also beaten Spencer County and Ryle this season while the losses have come to Martha Layne Collins and Frankfort. The loss to Frankfort was last Friday by a 27-14 score.

Leading the way for the Rockets is sophomore Malik Manica who will start on both sides of the ball. On offense he will be the running back and through the first four games he had 275 yards on the ground.

Actually, the leading rusher for the Rockets is senior Dalton Thompson who has 338 yards. Thompson completed 25 of 55 passes through the first four games for 318 yards. Shelby County has picked twice as much yardage on the ground as they have through the air.

The Rockets pretty much line up tight and run a power type offense. North Bullitt head coach Brett Newton recalls seeing that team in that formation a few times last season, but for the most part the Rockets were a team that looked t pass first last season. Now they are run first.

“One game earlier they threw it quite a bit, but in the most recent films we saw they didn’t throw it much at all,” Newton said earlier this week.

This is Fall Break for Bullitt County school students so there is no school at all. On Monday, the Eagles practiced in the morning and the team will not be playing any junior-varsity or freshman game this week. Still, Newton didn’t plan to practice any longer than normal leading up to this game.

On Monday, Newton did say that starting center Luke Humphrey will not play on Friday. The senior was injured early in the Bullitt Central game and did not return. While the injury was not as severe as it first appeared, Humphrey does have a high ankle sprain and a strained ligament in his knee. He will be out a couple of weeks.

Game time at North Bullitt on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.