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WILD ONE at BCHS: South Oldham wins roller-coaster opener over Cougars

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South Oldham 41, BULLITT CENTRAL 35

By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Throw in all the cliques you would like. Talk about the exciting play to end the game. Talk about the changes in momentum.

Bullitt Central’s season opener against visiting South Oldham had all that and a whole lot more.

But, on a night in which Trevor Carnell amassed almost 400 all-purpose yards and where DJ Dennison would kick three field goals and intercept a pass, the memories would taste a little bitter as the Cougars fell 41-35 to South Oldham on the final play of the contest.

Chase Lightfoot found Nick Reid in the corner of the end zone with no time on the clock for a 22-yard winning touchdown to break the 35-35 tie.

“This was a great high school football game,” said veteran Cougar skipper Dan Leasor. “This game will make us better.”

Throughout the evening, Bullitt Central would battle from behind.

The only lead came when Dennison converted on an opening drive 26-yard field goal with 8:43 left in the quarter. However, on the very next play from scrimmage, South Oldham’s Ticorion Williams busted loose for a 63-yard run. Williams finished the drive by kicking the extra point for a 7-3 lead.

Dennison would then cap off a 12-play drive with a 26-yard field goal.

Once again, the Dragons would answer. A 12-play drive, which was aided by a fake punt for a first down by Dallas Banks, culminated in an 18-yard scoring toss from Lightfoot to Banks. 

Not to be outdone, Carnell took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 83 yards for the touchdown. The hardest hit the sophomore endured was one he administered to a blocking teammate around midfield. Dennison’s extra point tied the game at 13.

Bullitt Central, which lost two fumbles on the night, suffered a breakdown in the kicking game to allow South Oldham to lead at intermission. A high snap over Carnell’s head in punt formation allowed the visitors to take possession at the Cougar 27. Seven plays later, Banks scored from the 2.

This time the Cougars answered. Taking over at its own 37 with 51 seconds in the quarter, Carnell’s 32-yard romp got Bullitt Central into scoring range at the 14. With six seconds left, Dennison booted his third field goal, this one from 21 to bring Bullitt Central to within 19-16 at halftime.

The visitors stretches the lead to 27-16 with 5:03 left in the third quarter when Lightfoot hit Williams with a 6-yard pass on fourth down.

Not to be denied, Carnell took the second play from scrimmage on the next possession and raced 66 yards for another touchdown.

On one of the more bizarre plays, Bullitt Central came up with an interception but Reid took the ball away and scored from 25 yards out. Lightfoot’s extra point put South Oldham up 35-22.

Saying that the fourth quarter was their quarter, the Cougars held true to those words.

With Carnell taking direct snaps, the sophomore got the ball down to the 2-yard-line. From the one, Combs snuck his way into the end zone.

Lightfoot would throw his second interception as Dennison stepped in front of the pass at midfield and ran it back to the 14.

After Combs hit fellow senior Nicholas Norris for seven yards, Carnell covered the final seven yards. Dennison’s kick knotted the score at 35 with 8:27 left in the game.

The Dragons went on what appeared to be a game-winning drive. With the ball at the Cougar 2, Dylan Downs would make what would be the first of four big sacks in the final quarter when he pinned Lightfoot for an eight-yard loss.

Williams’ 27-yard field goal attempt was wide.

Bullitt Central’s drive stalled but Carnell took the ball and ran the fake punt to perfection for a second time to get the first down at its own 33. Carnell had to leave the game for cramps and the next Cougar carry resulted in a fumble.

The game-winning drive started at the Cougar 49. Lightfoot hit Matthew Hamilton on fourth and 10 and this connected with Kevin Kuriger for a 15-yard third-down play to set up the final frantic seconds.

With nine seconds left, a receiver got free in the back of the end zone but could not corral the pass.

On the final play as the buzzer sounded, Lightfoot put a perfect pass into the end zone where Reid went up and collected the winning 22-yard pass.

The George Valentine Field crowd sat in silence.

“We had to fight and scrap all night,” said Leasor. “We’ll be OK. We had our chances. You can’t have as many mistakes as we made and still beat a quality football team.”

“It was a game of errors and big plays,” said Leasor. “They made the big plays and we made the errors.”

Going into the final quarter down 12, Leasor was confident his team would claw back and find a way to win.

“Everybody got their money’s worth,” joked Leasor. “It’s tough to come up on the short end of the score but I am very proud of my team.”

He said the coaches saw toughness in the players that will bode well for the rest of the season.

“We played through some adversity,” said Leasor. “We never gave up and it just came down to a final play.”

For the evening, Carnell had 142 yards from scrimmage, over 167 return yards and three touchdowns.

“He can break it at any time,” Leasor said of his running back.

Associate head coach Mike Gossett said the game plan is to be Carnell involved in as many plays as possible.

“He’s hard to stop,” said Gossett.

Combs, who suffered a few dropped passes from his receivers, ended up hitting just four of 12 passes for 39 yards but Gossett said he was pleased the way his senior ran the offense and made wise decisions.

Bullitt Central had 248 total yards, compared to 380 for South Oldham. Lightfoot was more effective through the air as he hit 16 of 25 passes for 169 yards.

NEXT GAME: Bullitt Central will be on the road Friday as they travel to Glasgow High School, which is about an hour south on Interstate 65. Game time is 8 p.m. Shepherdsville time.