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Louisville high school football: Central shuts out Shelby County

Louisville Courier-Journal logo Louisville Courier-Journal 10/5/2019 David J. Kim, Louisville Courier Journal

Clark Simpson jumped on a screen pass and intercepted it – Central’s’ second pick of the game – in the second quarter of Yellow Jackets’ 14-0 win over Shelby County. He then ran towards the team’s sideline as his teammates mobbed him on the field and at the bench. Simpson emerged from the celebration on the running track and celebrated with a growl that echoed through Friday night at Shelbyville.

The interception was one of three plays that swung the momentum for Central. The first was a second-quarter interception by Von Johnson in the endzone. On the next play, wide receiver Jaylen Thomas connected on an 80-yard flea flicker with fellow receiver Deondre Howard as Thomas caught a lateral from quarterback Vernon Duncan and, with a couple of defenders just inches away from bringing him down, calmly threw it over 50 yards for the eventual touchdown.

“They were playing cover zero, so it was there,” Central coach Marvin Dantzler said. “They gave us the go-route all night. You just got to take what they’re giving you.”

The Yellow Jackets improved to 3-4, which is already double the losses from last year’s 3A state championship squad that went 13-2. While there is no shame in losing to teams such as Manual, South Warren, St. Xavier and Fern Creek, Dantzler is unfazed by the young team’s record.

More: Kentucky high school football scores from Friday, October 4

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“Any of those teams that are ranked ahead of us let them play the schedule we play and see what their record would be,” Dantzler said. “They’re not playing who we’re playing, so we can’t get caught up with that. We play those games to prepare for the playoffs. We take it one game at a time and they’ll grow up one game at a time. that’s why you play the schedule, so hopefully that young team will grow up.”

A handful of stars left the program last season and with just seven returning starters, Dantzler had to rely on many new faces entering the season. The learning curve was evident more than halfway into the season.

The third-year coach screamed throughout the night to get his players in correct formation and spots on the field. Miscommunication in defense, confused by Shelby County’s offensive motion, led to big gains by the Rockets.

“Me being a senior and a returning starter from last year,” said running back Dayshawn Mucker, who finished with 118 rushing yards and a touchdown, “we got to clean a lot of things up, but we’ll be good.”

Also: Terrance Mitchell's three long touchdown runs lift Fern Creek football past Oldham County

Nonetheless, the Yellow Jackets’ stout defense, the strength of last year’s championship team, still held Shelby County (3-4) scoreless, their second shutout of the season. Howard’s interception with less than two minutes left sealed the win.

“Defense wins championships. We found that out last year,” defensive end Aiden Moore said. “But it’s not last year’s team. We learned that we came back to the ground level and learned that we got to earn it. It’s not last year’s team. We got to have the same motivation to go back to Kroger Field.”

David J. Kim: DKim@courierjournal.com; Twitter: @_DavidJKim. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/subscribe

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville high school football: Central shuts out Shelby County

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