Cougars need inner-strength to win Friday

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – The Bullitt Central Cougars lost a lot of their ‘mojo’ last Friday when they were speared by Bullitt East.

Now, there isn’t a lot of time for the maroon and gray to regain what was lost. But, the season is not lost or over.

Bullitt Central (4-3) has another ‘big’ game this week as they play host to Shelby County in the last of three games for the Cougars in Class 5-A, District 4 play. Bullitt Central stands 1-1 in the district and with a win can all but wrap up a first-round home play-off game in November.

(Officially, Bullitt Central will finish second in the four-team district with a win on Friday along with a win by Bullitt East over North Bullitt. If those two things don’t happen, then the seeding numbers won’t be decided until next week when Bullitt East travels to Shelby County.)

On Mondays after any loss, Bullitt Central head coach Danny Leasor is normally full-speed ahead for the next Friday. This week, he was still scratching his head over how his team could have been so lackluster in a game that meant so much.

“I told the other coaches before the season that our opponents would not be the problem, that it would be us,” Leasor said bluntly before the start of practice. “I thought if we could overcome ourselves that we could be a pretty good team. There are times we have done that and times that we have not. We haven’t had consistent effort and there has been finger pointing.

“Ultimately, the kids have to be accountable,” the veteran coach said. 

There have been more questions than answers in recent weeks.

“I don’t know what is wrong with us,” Leasor said. “I have a lot of experience with a lot of clubs over the years, but this one has me puzzled. We’re grasping for straws right now.”

If there is any good news, it is that the Cougars face a team this week with many of the same questions that still need to be answered. This Shelby County squad has shifted offensive schemes in recent weeks and doesn’t yet have an identity after losing 48-42 to North Bullitt last week.

Coach Todd Shipley’s team has a 3-3 record after back-to-back losses. The Rockets have an odd schedule this season in that they will play only nine games in the regular season. The team has already had two ‘byes’ this fall.

Before playing North Bullitt, the Rockets kept the ball mostly on the ground in a power type attack. Against the Eagles, Shelby County came out in a spread attack and threw the ball 30 times.

The trigger-man in the Shelby County offense is senior quarterback Dalton Thompson. He threw for 235 yards against North Bullitt, his highest output of the season on 18 completions. Thompson ran for one touchdown last week and passed for another to wide receiver Breaman Harris, a junior.

The top running back is sophomore Malik Manica who scored three touchdowns in the loss to North Bullitt.

Bullitt Central has two games remaining in the regular season after this contest with Shelby County.

“It will be a motivational issue,” Leasor said of the key to performing well on Friday. “It’s bounce back time for us. We have to have a strong final three games.”

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