One win does not a rivalry make, but The War is hot

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By Mike Farner

MOUNT WASHINGTON - Without a doubt, one win does not a rivalry make.

That is true of any rivalry and very true of The War.

Still, that said, Bullitt Central’s 30-27 victory a year ago in Shepherdsville sure has breathed new life into what was a morbid series for a handful of years. Remember, Bullitt East had won ten games in a row in The War and in the four meetings previous to Bullitt Central’s win, the Chargers had outscored the Cougars 169-19.

That’s not to say that the two teams were not rivals. That will never happen. It was just that fans for both teams looked to other schools when they wanted to talk big games during the summer. That is not the case in 2009. I don’t think a week went by in even June or July when somebody didn’t want to talk Bullitt East-Bullitt Central football. In August it was more a daily occurrence.

Now, it is game week, and everyone is talking about The War.

High expectations do that.

Bullitt Central fans would normally be ecstatic about a 2-0 start. This season, they are shaking their heads about why the two wins were not more convincing. The defense has made big plays, but the offense can’t seem to put together consistent performances from one quarter to another.

At Bullitt East, the defending state runners-up in Class 4-A were riding high when they were 2-0. The team was ranked as high as fourth in the state in that class and talk started to percolate of another big November. A 45-30 loss last week to DeSales, a game in which the defense gave up 416 yards to a team that had lost to Central Hardin the week before, dampened some of the post-season talk.

That put the focus back on this week’s showdown in Mount Washington. If you can call a non-district game in the first half of the season ‘important’, then this game is it.

“Until we win more than one, we’ll be considered a one hit wonder,” Bullitt Central head coach Danny Leasor said on Monday. “That’s not what we want. I came back to build a consistent football winner.”

This game might tell us a little more about Bullitt Central only because Bullitt East has a tougher non-district schedule than the Cougars. In fact, Bullitt Central won’t be pushed the next two weeks when they travel to Atherton and Waggener. Winning this game pretty much sets the Cougars up for a 5-0 start. Bullitt East has already played good teams and still has Shelby County and Eastern before their open date.

Still, everyone has to remember that this is not the game of the century. No one has to think back past last season to recall that Bullitt East lost this game and then reached the state championship contest. This is a great early season rivalry, but it has no bearing on the post-season.

When Bullitt East and North Bullitt play in mid-October, the game will have a lot more bearing on the post-season than this one will this week.

“I try to approach them all the same,” Bullitt East head coach Doug Preston said of the non-district games. “We want to attack every game the same. This doesn’t affect the post-season, so we try to approach them all the same.”

Team Markings

In games last week, both Bullitt East and North Bullitt wore stickers on the back of their helmets to honor fallen teammates.

Bullitt East had red and gold number ‘32’ stickers on their helmets to show they are thinking of teammate Jesse Bratcher who has been hospitalized for over two weeks now after suffering a brain injury in a junior-varsity game against Holy Cross.

The report on Friday was all good news as coaches said that Bratcher is improving at a promising rate and has already started his rehabilitation.

North Bullitt lost former player R.D. Reynolds in an automobile accident just a few hours after the team opened the season with a loss to Doss. On Friday, against South Oldham, the team wore green and gold stickers on their helmets with ‘RD 9’ to honor Reynolds who quarterbacked the Eagles to the 2007 Regional final game against Lone Oak.