A lot of teams began district play last week, Bracken County will get their crack at it this week.
The Polar Bears head down to Paris to take on the Greyhounds looking to get their district slate off to the right start. The last time Bracken County went down to Paris, the matchup was epic, the Polar Bears coming away with a thrilling, 43-41 victory over the Greyhounds, helping pave the way to a share of the Class A, 5th District title with Nicholas County.
Paris got revenge last season, coming to Brooksville and handing the Polar Bears a 34-14 defeat on their way to an outright district title. Matthew Barber ran wild for 211 yards and three touchdowns, but the Greyhounds won’t have the junior’s services this year, suffering a season-ending injury in the second game of the season.
“Losing Barber was a big loss, a huge loss and it took a toll on us,” Greyhounds coach Brian Washington said.
The Polar Bears enter at 4-1, recovering nicely after a 48-0 defeat to Ludlow in Week 2. After a season opening win over Switzerland County and the loss to Ludlow, the Polar Bears have knocked off Pendleton County, Jackson County and Dayton by a combined score of 78-31.
Defense has been the key in the resurgence, but the offense is seeming to find its rhythm as well, putting up 66 points the last two weeks after just 24 in their first three games.
Tad Fisher and Trey Brausch have been the driving force of that, accounting for 768 yards of offense throwing or running in that span. The “Bear Down” defense has also seen success, allowing just 31 points in their four wins and forcing 16 turnovers in those contests.
Now comes their biggest test since Ludlow. A Paris team that has “yet to put together a full game,” Greyhounds coach Brian Washington said as they’ve battled injuries and inconsistent play.
“We just need to play harder. I haven’t seen the best play from us and we’re ready to see the team put together a full game,” Washington said.
In the two games following the loss of Barber, the Greyhounds failed to register a point in losses to Harrison County and Louisville Holy Cross. They rebounded last week with a 51-8 win over Berea to get them to 2-3 on the year.
Finding a replacement for Barber has been more of a collective effort with Jamaun Clark and Zion Jackson. The two combined for 216 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the win over Berea.
Defensively the Hounds have been good in wins, allowing just 16 points, not so good in losses, allowing 103 points.
“Pressure. We’ve got to be able to put pressure on teams,” Washington said.
They’ll definitely look to put the pressure on Fisher, Brausch and the Polar Bears offense.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. It’s the Greyhound Hall of Fame game.
WHO: Bracken County Polar Bears (4-1, 0-0) at Paris Greyhounds (2-3, 1-0)
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Blanton Collier Stadium, Paris
PREVIOUS MEETING: Paris won, 34-14, September 29, 2017
SERIES: Paris leads all-time, 7-2