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The road hits back as Central falls at McCracken

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By Mike Farner

 PADUCAH, KY. – Bullitt Central’s early season momentum came to a screeching halt on Saturday night as the Cougars did very little right in a 48-0 loss on the road at McCracken County.

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     After winning three straight games to open the season, the Cougars were looking to find out a little more about themselves against better competition. What the team learned is that they still have a lot of work ahead of them if they are going to make this a successful season.

     The contest was the final game of the three-game McCracken County Bowl at the new school just outside Paducah. The new school is a consolidation of Lone Oak, Heath and Reidland. The new Class 6-A program played like they had been together for decades.

     “They were better athletes and they played better and were better coached,” Bullitt Central head coach Danny Leasor said as his team changed after the game in McCracken County’s indoor practice facility with an artificial surface, the same as on the football field.

     “From the get-go I could see this coming,” the coach added. “When it was 14-0 I knew. I could see it in our players’ eyes. We were shell-shocked. They have a tremendous football team.”

     Bullitt Central had won three straight games to open the season for the first time since 2009, so they have been doing something right, but now they have to pick up the pieces with a final non-district game this Friday at Elizabethtown before the three-game stretch of intra-county/district games that will define their season.

     “This game didn’t count except for pride,” Leasor pointed out. “Our pride was smothered some tonight. I have nothing good to say about any part of the game.”

     The nearly four-hour bus ride took something out of the Cougars.

     “We have very little fight,” Leasor admitted. “It didn’t seem like we wanted to play.”

     Bullitt Central got a break on the second play of the game when Mustang running back Jordan Troutman was hit and fumbled 20-yard run. The ball bounded forward, but the Cougars recovered on their own 39-yard line.

     The offense managed to move the ball and they did pick-up a first down when Trevor Carnell had the first three carries of the night for 17 yards. However, the drive stalled just over midfield and the Cougars ended up punting.

     Unfortunately, that was the high-water mark for Bullitt Central on the night.

     The next six times that McCracken County touched the ball in the first half, they scored. Conversely, Bullitt Central managed just two more first downs in the half and they never took another snap on the Mustangs’ side of the field. Five times Cameron Dukes was called on to punt the ball.

     McCracken County ran a hurry-up spread offensive attack that dictated the speed of the game for the rest of the first half. Mustang quarterback Zyaire Hughes, who is only a sophomore, was too fast and too elusive for the Bullitt Central defense. When they weren’t chasing Hughes, they did no better trying to tackle Troutman.

     Troutman had a 30-yard run the first time he touched the ball after the early fumble and on the next play Hughes connected with Cole Ousley for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The next drive ended with Highes throwing a short pass to Troutman who ran in from 10-yards out.

     That made it 14-0 after the first quarter.

     On the very first play of the second frame, Hughes scored from 6-yards out to cap a 24-yard drive following a long punt return by Rasheed Jones.

     It just kept getting worse for the Cougars when the normally sure-handed Carnell fumbled and the Mustangs recovered on the 17-yard line. Hughes and Jones teamed up two plays later to score on an 11-yard completion.

     Before the end of the half, McCracken County got another score on a 31-yard run by Troutman. The final points of the half came with 2:11 remaining when Jones carried the ball on consecutive plays for 45 yards. The touchdown came on a 22-yard dash that made it 41-0.

     At that point the clock began to run continuously for the rest of the contest.

     The only points in the second half were scored on a 65-yard punt return by Jones.

     “They beat us very badly up front,” Leasor said. “We didn’t block and we didn’t tackle. If you don’t do those two things you are not going to beat anybody.

     “All is not lost,” the coach added. “We have another game on Friday against Elizabethtown. Then we have the games that count.”

     The Cougars played without running back Zack Patton, who is still on crutches with a broken foot, as well as defensive lineman Nate Ennis who hyper-extended his knee in practice during the week.

     In the first half on Saturday, Bullitt Central senior defensive back Brett McConahay left the field and it was thought after the game that he had a concussion.

     “Our pride was dented tonight,” the coach added. “It will be a long bus ride home.”

     Next Game: The Cougars will go back into action on Friday when they make the short trip down the road to renew a very old rivalry with Elizabethtown. The Panthers, a Class 3-A team is 4-1 this season after drubbing helpless Breckinridge County 67-0 on Friday.

     Game time on Friday in Elizabethtown is set for 7:30 p.m.