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EARLIER: Rockets hammer Bullitt Central, 62-12

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Boys use final tune-up to fine tune offense

By Todd Martin

Whatever they wanted to do, whenever they wanted to do it.

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That’s what the SCHS football team’s offense did Friday against Bullitt Central in the final scrimmage.

The offense rolled up 446 yards, and the defense stymied Bullitt Central all night, allowing a meager 149 yards.

Despite the gaudy statistics, the Rockets' coaches were left wondering after the two preseason victories.

“Lafayette was without a couple of their top guys, and Bullitt Central was not the best team we’ll see, so it’s really hard to gauge where we are,” SCHS Coach Todd Shipley said. “We’ll find out in a hurry Friday night [against Bryan Station], but right now it’s kind of hard to tell.”

One problem that came out of the first scrimmage against Lafayette was quarterback Branden Cresap’s timing with his receivers.

“The deep ball was a little off against Lafayette,” Shipley said. “But he didn’t seem to have any trouble now [against Bullitt Central].”

Cresap completed 12 of 15 passes for 339 yards and five touchdowns against the Cougars, and those passes weren’t short. Cresap hit Tavis Elzy for touchdowns of 46, 58 and 24 yards and connected with Matt Page for a 63-yard TD.

“It was good to see him hit those balls,” Shipley said. “And from Lafayette to Bullitt Central, he got the ball off quicker. Now, part of that may have been that their [Bullitt Central’s] pass coverage wasn’t very good. We were able to get behind them without having to do much, but the passes were well thrown. He put them on the money.”

The Rockets also ran the ball effectively, amassing 102 yards on just 18 carries, including Quinten Cottrell’s 43-yard TD run in the first quarter.

Shipley said that was one area that the Rockets could’ve worked on.

“Bullitt Central’s line was pretty good,” he said. “We couldn’t just run at will against them. But we realized that we could throw the ball, so we didn’t focus as much on the run.”

Defensively, Shipley said he still wants to see the Rockets’ pass coverage step up, although they weren’t really tested by the Cougars.

“I think that’s an area we need to work on,” he said. “We’re young with [junior] Tyler Phillips and [sophomore] Cedric Hinkle, and they’re doing OK. The thing they’re doing well right now is not giving up the big play, but I think that’s something we need to continue to work on.”

Shipley said he was impressed with the play of the linebackers and the defensive line.

“With Michael Brooks and Logan Forrest there in the middle [of the linebackers], we’re getting to everything,” Shipley said. “We got pressure in the backfield, and we did a great job stopping their run.”

After controlling both sides of the ball so well, where do the coaches push the team?

“We definitely have to work on our kickoff coverage,” Shipley said. “And on our extra point and field-goal protection.”

The Rockets gave up 267 yards on nine kickoffs, almost 30 yards per return, including one that Bullitt Central nearly retuned for a score before being dropped at SCHS's 14-yard line. That return led to the Cougars' only first-half score.

However, Edwin Thomas followed with a 92-yard kickoff return for TD.

“Our kickoff return was nice, but we can’t let teams continue to get big returns on us,” Shipley said.

With such a dominating performance, do the coaches have to pull the players in before Friday’s season-opener against Bryan Station?

“We won’t really know until this Friday, but I don’t think so,” Shipley said. “We had the same thoughts after the Lafayette scrimmage, but we came out fired-up [against Bullitt Central]. I don’t think our seniors are going to let this team get too big. They fought through last year, so I think they’ll keep this team focused.”