In a fiercly contested game, the Henry County Wildcats fell to the North Bullitt Eagles, 22-17.
The Cats held a 17-14 lead going into the fourth quarter, but the Eagles were threatening when the horn sounded to end the third.
North Bullitt’s first play of the final period was a halfback pass that was good for the go-ahead, 20-yard touchdown on third-and-6. The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving Henry County in position to win if they could get to the end zone one more time.
Cameron Johnson made a nice return on the ensuing kickoff to give the Cats good field position at the Eagles’ 35-yard line.
The Cats grinded downfield with Bodie Clark getting a big 8-yard run on third-and-5 from the 30-yard line.
The Cats got three yards from Brennan Peniston on first-and-5 from Austin Hartsell on second down to make it third-and-2 from the 14-yard-line.
Mason Fish was stopped for no gain and then Hartsell was sacked attempting to pass on fourth down and the Cats’ threat was over.
North Bullitt had difficulty moving the ball on their next possession before Devin Hagan came up with a big interception at the 35-yard line to give the Cats good field position again with 4:35 to play.
Henry County quickly found themselves at another fourth-down. The Cats attempted to run a sweep but the pitch was bobbled and a North Bullitt defender grabbed the ball out of the air, returning it to the Wildcat 24-yard line with 2:34 to play.
It seemed that the Cats had squandered their final chance but the Eagles coughed up the ball two plays later and Henry County had one more chance.
On first-and-10 from their own 22, the Cats attempted a long pass that was intercepted on the North Bullitt 38-yard line. The Cats still had time to get the ball back until a personal foul call gave the Eagles a fist down with 1:20 to play. From there the Eagles took a knee on three consecutive possessions and the game ended with the Cats having missed a couple of golden opportunities.
“The keys to the game were turnovers and blown defensive assignments,” coach Jason Spencer said.
The game started brightly for the Cats when Hartsell ran it in from two yards out after a long drive. With 1:35 left in the first period, Jacob Buckley hit the extra point attempt to make it 7-0.
But North Bullitt struck back quickly. After the kickoff, the North Bullitt quarterback passed under heavy Wildcat pressure to an open receiver 20 yards downfield. The receiver ran it all the way to the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown reception. The Eagles went for two and were successful to make it 8-7going into the second period.
North Bullitt struck first in the second quarter when the Cats gave them good field position on a blown special teams play. The Golden Eagles got possession deep in Henry County territory and scored on a 15-yard run nine minutes before halftime. The two-point conversion made it 16-7
The Cats came back just minutes later when they drove down the field and Hartsell scored from 2 yards out with 5:26 to play. The Cats got another PAT from Buckley to make it 16-14.
Buckley wasn’t finished helping the Cats with his right foot.
The Cats stopped the Eagles on their next possession and quickly moved the ball downfield with big, tough runs. Using their timeouts wisely and tearing off huge chunks of yardage the Cats managed to get to the 3-yard line where they faced fourth down. Buckley was brought on to attempt the 20-yard field goal and came through to give the Cats the lead at 17-16 going into the locker room.
After a scoreless third period the Cats tried to hold on to their slim margin but it was not to be.
“We had two fumbles, two interceptions and a bad special teams play,” Spencer said. “William Collier and the rest of the offensive line played well. We moved the ball up and down the field. We just had turnovers at inopportune times. There were just too many costly mental mistakes.”
“We have got to go to work this week and fix mistakes. We have two weeks to get ready for the next one”
After a week off the Cats start district play with a game at LaRue County on Oct. 11.