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The first objective – and probably the second and third – for the Shelby County football team tonight is stopping Bullitt Central running back Trevor Carnell.
Carnell, only a sophomore, is the leading rusher in Class 5A and the main reason the Cougars come into the District 4 showdown (kickoff is 7:30 p.m.) on a 6-game winning streak and unbeaten in the district.
“He’s the reason why they are who they are,” Shelby County Coach Todd Shipley said. “We have to know where he is at all times.”
In eight games Carnell, who’ll sometimes line up at quarterback in a “Wildcat” formation, has rushed 201 times for 1,560 yards (195 per game) and 19 touchdowns for Bullitt Central (6-2, 2-0).
“He has great vision and cuts so well. He creates a lot of problems for people,” Shipley said.
Just ask Bullitt East. Last Friday night Carnell rushed 28 times for 254 yards (9.1 yards per carry) and four TDs in the Cougars’ 28-21 victory over their county-rivals.
However the Rockets (5-2, 1-0) have one of the top run defenses in 5A. They are allowing 130.9 rushing yards per game, and only 3.6 yards per carry, and have given up just six touchdowns on the ground all season.
“We returned pretty much everybody on the line and with [junior] Jalyn [Perry] and [sophomore] Garrett [Perry] improving we are much better up the middle, and that frees up our linebackers to make plays,” Shipley said.
Bullitt Central, which has six consecutive victories since losing back-to-back games (41-35 to South Oldham and 28-7 at Glasgow) to start the season, also has a senior quarterback – Bradley Combs. He has rushed for 230 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 740 yards and four more scores.
“He’s a huge part of their success too,” Shipley said.
Combs passed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, while Carnell rushed for 147 yards and one TD, in the Cougars’ 35-21 victory over Shelby County last season.
“We helped them with turnovers,” said Shipley, whose team had four miscues and was penalized nine times for 77 yards in last year's game. “We can’t help them out
[tonight], they’re good enough on their own.” The Rockets were better than good last week when they annihilated North Bullitt 49-0 for their third shutout of the season. They rolled up 543 yards of total offense – 366 rushing, 177 passing – in their fourth victory in their last five games.
“If they watched the film they might say, ‘North Bullitt didn’t bring a lot of pressure,’ so we’re going to have to be able to throw the football,” said Shipley, whose team has one of the top ranked passing attacks in 5A, averaging 191.7 yards per game through the air.
And take care of it, too.
Shelby County had only one turnover last week, while forcing two, a trend that Shipley hopes to continue as the Rockets look to tackle their main objective.
“We’ve got to be able to create some turnovers and we’ve got to be able to hold onto [number] eighteen [Carnell],” Shipley said.
Bullitt Central at Shelby County, 7:30 p.m.
Records:Bullitt Central 6-2, Shelby County 5-2.
Coaches:BC – Dan Leasor; SC – Todd Shipley.
BC key players:RB/FS Trevor Carnell (No. 18; 201 rushes for 1,560 yards and 19 TDs & 9 catches for 153 yards and 3 TDs); QB/DB Bradley Combs (No. 16; 58 rushes for 230 yards and 2 TDs & 61-for-122 passing for 740 yards with 4 TDs and 8 INTs); RB/DB Zack Patton (No. 22; 39 rushes for 183 yards and 4 TDs); WR/DB Tyler Bray (No. 89; 16 catches for 218 yards and 1 TD); RB/DB Nicholas Norris (No. 26; 15 catches for 142 yards); LB DJ Dennison (No. 19; 6 INTs); WR/DB Jesse Sharp (No. 7; 4 INTs); TE/LB Dylan Downs (No. 83; 107 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries); RB/DE Justin Jefferies (No. 41; 52 tackles); RB/LB Jacob Fulkerson (No. 23; 49 tackles); RB/DB Michael Saunders (No. 49; 43 tackles).
SCHS stat leaders:QB/S Zach Shipley; WR/DB Michael Barry; WB/LB Chase Manica; TE/LB Deric Hyman; FB/DE Justin Stewart.
Common opponents:Henry County and North Bullitt. Bullitt Central beat Henry County, 21-7, and North Bullitt, 7-6, and Shelby County shut out the Wildcats, 21-0, and the Eagles, 49-0.
Class 5A, District 4 standings:Bullitt Central 2-0, Shelby County 1-0, Bullitt East 0-1, North Bullitt 0-2