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FOOTBALL: Playoff road begins tonight

November 28, 2012
Bardstown High School



FOOTBALL: Playoff road begins tonight 

By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor
 

In recent weeks, Nelson County has twice faced do-or-die situations, engineering game-winning drives in each case.

<div class="source">Peter W. Zubaty</div><div class="image-desc">Former coaching colleagues David Clark (above) and Ron Koontz (below) come into the playoffs with their respective teams on seemingly divergent paths. Clark and the Bardstown Tigers have won three straight going into their home contest against Metcalfe County, while Koontz, the former Bardstown assistant and current Bethlehem head coach, is hoping his team can stop its three-game skid tonight at Russellville.</div><div class="buy-pic"><a href="http://web2.lcni5.com/cgi-bin/c2newbuyphoto.cgi?pub=191&amp;orig=dclark.JPG" target="_new">Buy this photo</a></div>
Peter W. Zubaty
Former coaching colleagues David Clark (above) and Ron Koontz (below) come into the playoffs with their respective teams on seemingly divergent paths. Clark and the Bardstown Tigers have won three straight going into their home contest against Metcalfe County, while Koontz, the former Bardstown assistant and current Bethlehem head coach, is hoping his team can stop its three-game skid tonight at Russellville.
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Now, with the playoffs on our doorstep, the Cardinals are feeling good about having to dig deep for wins, wins that have Nelson County riding a momentum wave.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Cardinal quarterback Dylan Beasley said. “We’ve had close games, and on the last drives we’ve just kept our composure and stayed calm. We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves and we’re ready for Friday.”

That composure can be a big ally late in a game when nerves can be the overriding factor. Poise is your friend.

“We feel like we’re going to be OK with that pressure, play our game and we’ll be all right,” Beasley said.

Nelson County heads into the Class 4A Region 2 playoffs at 6-4, hitting the road to take on a familiar foe in Spencer County (7-3), a team the Cardinals beat in a preseason scrimmage.

“They’ve gotten better,” Nelson coach Jamie Egli said. “They’re going to run it and run it and run it.”

The Bears have passed for a grand total of 271 yards all season and don’t seem to be concerned about their predictability, with five different backs with at least 350 yards rushing. Quarterback Trent Holbrook has tallied 12 rushing touchdowns and 579 yards on the ground, while Shawn Boykin leads the team in ground yardage at 781.

Egli figures the Bears will also lay back and not pressure Beasley too much, forcing the Cardinals to have to piece together long drives to win the game.

Conditions figure to be cool Friday night, in the lower 50s and upper 40s, but without the rain that wreaked havoc on offensive play last week. Nelson County was not immune to that, building a 28-0 lead on Bullitt East before the rains came, then having to hang on for dear life as the Chargers came back and tied it up. Egli said the Cardinals can’t worry about things they can’t control, most notably the weather.

“At the end, we put a focus on what we needed to do and executed,” Egli said of the game-winning drive to beat Bullitt East. “We made some plays, and the kids did a great job, but we need that for four quarters. Not two quarters.”

And besides, both teams have to deal with the weather, no matter if it’s good or bad. If you lose in the playoffs, only the score is listed, not an asterisk indicating if the field was muddy.

“This week, we’ve had good practices and some terrible weather,” Egli said. “I think they understand that it doesn’t matter now what the weather is.”

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.


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