First up, Rockets will try to stop first option

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LaRue’s Newberry hurt them last season

By Josh Cook

Todd Shipley’s No. 1 goal for tonight is to stop LaRue County’s No. 1 one option.

Hawks senior fullback Drew Newberry rushed 22 times for 129 yards and his team’s only touchdown in LaRue’s season-opening, 26-7 loss to North Bullitt last Saturday.

“He makes the engine go on offense,” Shipley, the Shelby County football coach, said.

So Shipley’s Rockets will try their best to stall Newberry in their season-opener at 7:30 p.m. tonight at LaRue. They had a hard time doing so last year, when Newberry rushed for 145 yards in the Hawks’ 19-7, come-from-behind victory over Shelby (which led, 7-0, at halftime) in a Class 4A district game (this season LaRue has dropped to 3A, and the Rockets have climbed to 5A).

“We had our opportunities last year, so it should be very interesting,” Shipley said. “Last year, late in the game, they just gave it to [Newberry] and we couldn’t stop him. [This year] we’ve got to stop Newberry, and make someone else beat us.…Our middle linebacker, Deric Hyman, he’s got a key at fullback all night.”

Like last year, though, when three Hawks rushed for more than 100 yards, Newberry won’t be the only one Shelby will have to stop. Senior tailback Cody Thompson, who rushed 11 times for 100 yards in last season’s meeting, gained 119 yards on 18 carries in the Hawks’ loss to North Bullitt.

“He’s a great compliment,” Shipley said. “Those guys are probably 75 percent of their offense…they’re the one-two punch.”

That workload, though, eventually caught up to Newberry and Thompson.

“As the game went on, we just wore down, that’s the bottom line,” LaRue County Coach Rodney Armes, who is in his 16th and final season, told The News-Enterpriseafter the game. “Drew and Cody were cramping in the game, and that’s just something that can’t happen.

“Everyone knows Drew and Cody are going to get the ball, and they’re going to load up against them. We’ve got to develop another back, or find a way to get the ball in somebody else’s hands – whether it’s passing the ball or whether it’s the quarterback running. We’ve got to find another guy to run the ball.”

Three other players combined for 10 carries for negative 6 yards in the loss to North Bullitt, and the Hawks attempted only six passes. Senior Slade Owens and junior Travis Ramsey only completed three of those attempts, but they were all to the Eagles, who returned one for a late touchdown.

Owens, who didn’t play football last year because he wanted to train for baseball, was 0-for-5 with two interceptions in his first varsity start, andRamsey’s only attempt was intercepted for the Hawks, who trailed North Bullitt just 12-7 entering the fourth quarter.

“They’re a very solid, well-coached football team,” Shipley said. “They’re going to try and move down the field go ten, eleven, twelve plays on offense and keep the ball from you.”

The Rockets would like to do much of the same.

Shelby will try to utilize its running game with halfbacks Brandon Ford and Zakk Bailey, and fullback Chase Manica, as well as junior quarterback Zach Shipley. Shipley sat out last week’s scrimmage against DeSales as a precaution after banging his right (throwing) shoulder in the Rockets’ first scrimmage against Owen County.

“Our three running backs, and Zach, we’ve got to get them established,” Shipley said. “When you run the type of offense, we run we’ve got to establish our fullback. If we can establish Chase, I think we’ll be fine. Chase has had a real good week of practice.”