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BUCKNER – The Oldham County High School football team has faced plenty of challenges this year and managed to overcome most of them.
None of those challenges, however, may equal what faces the Colonels at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Elizabethtown when they go to John Hardin High School for the regionaltitle.
“They’re fast, they’re athletic and they have a ton of players at every position,” OCHS coach Matt Brown said. “They are just a very good football team.”
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 2 in 5A are 12-0 this season. OCHS, ranked No. 6, enters the game at 8-4.
The Bulldogs feature one of the state’s most explosive offenses averaging nearly 40 points a game with a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Alex Dingle, tailback Landon Savoy and tight end Matt Simmons.
They employ a Wing-T running attack at times and like to throw if teams concentrate on stopping the rushing attack.
“They definitely want to run the ball first,” Brown said. “If you stop that they will screen you or go to the big tight end (Simmons). They can get some big plays out of their passing.”
Savoy leads the Bulldogs’ runners with 1,066 yards on 108 carries with 13 touchdowns. John Hardin lost its second leading rusher, Michael Wright in the first round win over South Oldham to a knee injury and he is considered doubtful for Friday’s game.
In Wright’s place, fullback Darrell Alston has stepped in. In last week’s 37-7 win over Doss Alston led the Bulldogs with 98 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Dingle has completed 105 of 160 passes for 1,752 yards with 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Simmons has caught 22 passes for 416 yards and 10 scores.
Wide receiver Jeremy Harness leads the team with 40 catches for 665 yards with six touchdowns this year.
OCHS will attack the Bulldogs’ offense with a defense that has steadily gotten better behind the play of linebackers Kirk Yepko, Tyler Oldham and Chris Campbell along with lineman Austin Fletcher and Zach Littlefield.
Defensively the Bulldogs are just as tough with their 3-4 look keyed by middle linebacker Sammy Smith, an all-state candidate.
Smith, a three-year starter, leads the team with 48 individual tackles.
John Hardin also returns its four-man rotation on the defensive line in William Buford, Justin Taylor, Stanley Johnson and Matt Linton.
“They are big, quick and strong,” Brown said. “They will use their athleticism to make plays.”
The Colonels will counter with its running game. Backs Yepko, Oldham and Brett Leary.
The trio have all rushed for more than 500 yards this season and each has had his time in the spotlight with big games.
Chase Hamby has shown steady improvement at quarterback since moving into the starting spot five weeks ago while Kiley Obradovich and Brandon Cook have emerged as reliable receivers.
“We think there are some things we can do to keep them off balance,” Brown said. “We just need to make sure we execute our game plan and we will have to play about a perfect game to be successful.”
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