Rockets ready for opener

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Bryan Station boasts powerful, fast attack

By Todd Martin

After his team demolished Bullitt Central in a scrimmage last week, SCHS Coach Todd Shipley said it was hard to tell how good the Rockets might be, but he added that Bryan Station would let them know.

“We’ll find out quickly just how good we are this Friday,” he said.

Well, that Friday is here, and Bryan Station has already established just how good they are.

“They are everything they’re billed to be, and that’s a top-10 caliber team,” Shipley said. “They have size, speed and talent.”

SCHS quarterback Branden Cresap said the Rockets know what to expect.

“They’re athletic all over the field, and they’re really fast,” he said.

The Defenders (1-0) are ranked No. 10 in The Associated Press poll for Class 6A, No. 16 by BluegrassPreps.com and No. 17 in The Lexington Herald-Leader all-class rankings.

Shelby County is ranked No. 18 by the Herald-Leader and No. 17 by BluegrassPreps.com.

A lot of that was based on the team’s near upset of eventual 5-A champ Highlands last season, but last week Bryan Station backed up that hype with a 56-24 victory over George Rogers Clark in its home opener.

Most of that damage was done by running back Tevin McCaden.

On just 14 carries McCaden had 234 yards and four touchdowns. He also added an 82-yard kickoff return for a TD.

“He has great field vision and tremendous cutback ability,” Shipley said. “They’re not a fancy team. They’re going to line up and run.”

Shipley said the Rockets’ defensive line will have its work cut out.

“Our defensive line may be a little undersized, but hopefully we can use our speed,” he said. “It’s going to be a fantastic challenge for us.”

While focusing on the run, the Rockets must take note of wide receiver Chaz Mitchell. Although the Defenders’ quarterbacks were a combined 4-for-16 last week, the Rockets can’t lose sight of Mitchell’s world-class speed. Literally, Mitchell is the cousin of former world-record sprinter Tyson Gay.

“The gene-pool is very wide; he’s definitely in that class of speed,” Shipley said. “They’re going to move him around, so we have to make sure we know where he is.”

Mitchell caught just one pass last week for 11 yards.

On offense, the Rockets hope to be able to use Bryan Station’s athletic ability against them.

“Their defense returns just about everybody,” Shipley said. “They’re going to be fast and good against the run. We have to mix things up to try and keep them off balance. They’re also very aggressive, so that’s something we’re going to try to use against them.”

Cresap noted that he will look for his receivers getting one-on-one coverage.

“They’re not real disciplined, so we’ll look to take advantage of that,” he said. “And hopefully we can use some double-moves against one-on-one coverage and get behind them.”

But, he cautioned, that their athleticism can make up for mistakes.

“We have to be careful because they’ll jump routes, and they’re so quick they’ll get there faster than you think.”

Cresap said the two scrimmages have shown the Rockets’ versatility, and he believes the offense is rounding into form.

“In that first scrimmage against Lafayette, we came out and ran it down their throats,” he said. “Then against Bullitt Central we got our timing down and hit some long ones [throws]. I think our confidence is pretty high right now.”

The game, being played at Tates Creek High School, is part of the Fayette County Invitational Bowl and is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. but will begin about 20 minutes after the Tates Creek/Mercer County game ends. The first game is scheduled to kickoff at 6 p.m.

If you’re going

Tates Creek High School is located at 1111 Centre Parkway in Lexington.

According to Mapquest the trip is about 51 miles and should take just less than an hour.

• Take I-64 East to Exit 58 US-60 Frankfort/Versailles

• Go right onto US-60 toward Versailles

• Take a slight left to stay on US-60/Lexington Road

• Merge onto New Circle Road/KY-4 South

• Take Exit 18 and go right onto Tates Creek Road/KY-1974

• Turn left onto Armstrong Mill Road

• Turn left onto Appian Way

• Turn left onto Centre Pkwy.

• Tates Creek High School will be on the right