MOUNT WASHINGTON – The calm before and after the storm was nothing more than a few sprinkles for Bullitt East on Friday as the Chargers closed out the regular season with a 51-21 win over visiting Oldham County.
Coming a week after the impressive win over Male and a week before the Class 6-A Playoffs start this coming Friday, there was the possibility of a letdown for the surging Chargers against an Oldham County team that has struggled through the regular season without a win.
There were a few issues here and there that head coach Keegan Kendrick talked about cleaning up this week, but overall the Chargers were still hitting on all cylinders. The red and gold scored on every possession of the game and added a defensive touchdown for good measure.
“Before the game I challenged them,” Kendrick said on the field after the win. “Responding to high success is just as difficult to responding to high adversity. A mature team came together and did the job to the best of their ability.”
It wasn’t hard. Oldham County is just a shadow of the team that beat the Chargers 26-20 a year ago in Buckner. In fact, the win by Bullitt East snapped a three- game losing streak to the Colonels.
The Bullitt East coaches did not want to change anything after the big win over Male.
“We had success last week,” Kendrick explained. “We still did our thing the way we have all year. We were a little slow in sports, but ultimately they executed.”
Closing out the regular season to cap a 9-1 record was perfect with offensive lineman Peyton Stafford.
“It was a ton of fun,” he said after the team gathering in the end zone. “We went 9-1 for my senior year. There is nothing more I could ask for.”
Well, he could have asked for 10-0, but Stafford felt the opening week loss to Spencer County put this team on the track that now has it ranked among the top five teams in Class 6-A.
“After the Spencer County game, everything changed,” Stafford pointed out. “We came into that game with big heads. We found out we had to keep working. We knew our talent and now we have won nine straight.
“I think we’re playing our best football now,” the senior added. “I don’t think anyone can stop us.”
Kendrick knew that Oldham County was not very good. The coach scripts the opening plays and it took just six plays for the Chargers to score a pair of touchdowns.
On the first play of the game, the coach got many of his key players involved with a double reverse that ended up with the ball back in the hands of quarterback Travis Egan, who hit tight end Bryce Hoover for 28 yards. Egan then threw for 22 yards to Mason Gauthier and then for 16 yards to Austin Wilson that led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Gauthier.
After Oldham County gained a little yardage before punting, the Chargers were back in business when senior Camron Brogan returned the punt 20 yards to the Chargers 47-yard line. On the very next play, Egan had plenty of time, finding Hoover over the middle for a 30-yard connection before Hoover did the rest for a 53-yard score.
Oldham County did score the next time it got the ball as the Colonels began passing instead of handing it off to powerful running back Caden Sheppard. The touchdown came on a 33-yard pass from quarterback Kingston Dugan to Travis Edgar.
That momentum was shortlived by the Colonels. Before the first quarter ended, Bullitt East was back in the end zone as Egan and Brogan connected on an 8-yard touchdown pass. Then just before the end of the quarter, Dugan stepped back on fourth down and threw the ball over the middle and into the hands of Charger senior Nolan Davenport, who returned it 62 yards for a touchdown.
Now the rout was on. In the second quarter the Chargers added three more touchdowns. Egan and Brogan had another score on a 12-yard pass and just over two minutes later, Ryan Still carried the ball in from the 7-yard line.
Just before halftime, the seventh touchdown of the half came when Egan threw for 9 yards to Davenport in the end zone.
After the sixth touchdown, Kendrick had kept the offense on the field to try for two-points and start the running clock a little early. It didn’t work and the coach was not happy about the execution on the play. When the Chargers got the ball back, the first three plays that he called were the same plays that had failed on the extra point and Gauthier ran for a combined 35 yards.
Other than the failed two-point conversion, senior Colin Elder, who is now fully focused on football after the end of the soccer season, was perfect on extra point kicks.
Bullitt East did not run a play from scrimmage in the third quarter as Oldham County scored on the first possession of the half. The Colonels then recovered an on-sides kick and marched down the field to score again, this time in the fourth quarter.
The Chargers reserves played in the fourth quarter and did move the ball all the way to the Oldham County –yard line. On third down and time running off the clock, Elder ran onto the field and converted a 22-yard field goal on the final play of the game.
“I do script the first few plays of every game,” Kendrick said. “There are reasons to do that. We’re poking and seeing what might be open.
“It was Senior Night so we ran that reverse pass and got everyone involved,” the coach added. “The kids did their job and had some success.”
Kendrick also said that his plan was to keep things pretty basic as upcoming playoff foes will be watching a lot of tape on the team.
“We wanted to get back to our base stuff,” the coach pointed out. “It wasn’t too complicated. There was one play I wasn’t happy with (the two-point conversion attempt so we ran that play the whole next series. We’ll have it ready for the next game.”
Bullitt East did not have junior defensive end Isaiah Hare dress for this game, but Kendrick said that he could have played in tougher situations. After hauling in the early touchdown, Hoover went out with a knee injury. He had ice applied and he did not return, but Kendrick said that was more precautionary than anything else.
Next Game: Bullitt East will open the post-season at home on Friday in the Class 6-A playoffs with a game against Butler. The Bears will enter the game with a 2-8 record. The only wins came in the first half of the season over Western and Fern Creek. However, the Bears were within 23-14 of a good Manual team just two weeks ago.
Game time in Mount Washington is set for 7:30 p.m.