MOUNT WASHINGTON - In the first-round of the Class 5-A play-offs, the Bullitt East Chargers will get a chance that few football teams do - revenge.
In the second game of the season for the Mount Washington Chargers, they went into Louisville and despite leading for much of the game, ended up losing to Jeffersontown 28-27.
Now, ten weeks later, Bullitt East will make the same trip with a chance to reverse that loss on Friday in the first-round of the post-season.
On Monday, Bullitt East head coach Darrell Vincent said that he sees very little difference in the team that the red and gold played back on Aug. 25 and the squad they will face on Friday.
“We watched them play Oldham County (a 16-12 loss for Jeffersontown) last week and we saw the same formations and plays and the same percentage run to pass as in August,” Vincent pointed out. “They still have a lot of team speed and hit the deep ball.”
Still, the key player that Bullitt East must stop is junior Richard Deloney. He played against the Chargers last year when he was at Fairdale and the game back in August was his first since transferring to Jeffersontown. He has missed two games this season, but when he does play, he averages 104 yards on the ground a game.
The quarterback for Jeffersontown is junior Kendrick Gardner and through ten games this season has completed 70 of his 132 passes for 1,232 yards. Gardner has thrown 11 touchdowns, but he has been intercepted eight times.
If it is not Deloney getting the ball, the Chargers will hand it to senior Charvez Strickland who has 707 yards on 88 carries. Along with Gardner’s 290 yards on the ground, no other Jeffersontown player has rushed for more than 140 yards this season.
When he does throw the ball, Gardner has a paid of speedy receivers in seniors Mikal Howard and Jawayne Rose.
“Deloney is good and moves around,” Vincent explained. “He plays fullback and quarterback and in the pistol he might be the runner behind the quarterback.
“They still look to make big plays,” Vincent said. “Last week they had a kick-off return and a long pass to number 21 (Howard) and he was one of the ones that got us back in August.”
After playing against Shelby County and Nelson County the past two weeks, the Chargers have gotten better at pass defense.
“No question” Vincent said. “We struggled a little early against Nelson County. We gave them some short fields early but as the game progressed we got better.
“Jeffersontown doesn’t do the underneath stuff too much,” the coach added. “They look for big plays and we’re better at stopping the long passes.”
To help with the play in the secondary, Bullitt East quarterback Anthony Doran will also play some defense this week. That is something he has been doing since the North Bullitt game. He started out at safety but has moved to outside linebacker where he will play again this week.
“He has played quite a bit of defense the last two weeks,” Vincent said. “He has always been one of our better defenders. At this point we need to get him on the field. He has picked it up like he has played it all year.”
Vincent said that Jeffersontown will run the ball about 60 percent of the time.
On defense, the Louisville Chargers will use an odd front with the linebackers up tight trying to shoot the gaps.
“That defense gave us some problems early,” Vincent said. “But, we made some adjustments and have done things better since then.
“Watching Oldham County, they do some things we do and they moved the ball on them,” the coach added. “So, we think we can move the ball on them.”
Jeffersontown stands at 6-4 after the loss to Oldham County. The Chargers beat Grayson County 22-21 three weeks ago to claim the number two spot in District 3 with the right to host this play-off game.
Vincent had mostly good news on Monday on the injury front. Bullitt East should have both Cruise Coulter and running back Brandon Samuels available on Friday. The only player who could miss the game would be Trey Hurley.
Back in that first meeting, Bullitt East bolted ahead early before running back Jesse Porter and defensive back/kicker Devyn Noe went out with injuries. Both players are back at full strength for this game.
Playing the same team twice in the same season doesn’t happen very often, especially this early in the post-season, but the chance at redemption is important.
“It was such a close game it could go either way,” Vincent said. “Both teams have improved. Our kids feel they have had some close losses, but our kids think we’re a better team.”
(There will be no rematch starting next season as Bullitt East and Jeffersontown will not play during the regular season.)
Game time at Jeffersontown is set for 7:30 p.m.