Richard Deloney has found a comfortable home with the Jeffersontown High School football program and helped keep the Chargers alive in the Class 5-A playoffs Friday night.
The junior running back carried 11 times for 90 yards and a touchdown and also had an interception on defense as host J’town held on to beat Bullitt East 17-16 in a first-round game.
Deloney transferred to J’town from Fairdale before the season and has rushed for 924 yards and eight TDs.
“I came to a winning squad, so that’s always a plus,” said Deloney, whose J’town team improved to 7-4. “The coaches are great over here. I love it.”
J’town recorded its second one-point victory over Bullitt East this season — also winning 28-27 on Aug. 24 — and will play at Shelby County next week in a second-round playoff game. Shelby County beat North Hardin 35-28 on Friday.
Bullitt East finished 4-7, with five of its losses coming by seven or fewer points.
“They fought their guts out,” Bullitt East coach Darrell Vincent said. “There’s just no quit in those guys. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t get over the hump there.”
The teams traded 1-yard touchdown runs in the early going before Deloney broke loose for the longest play of the game. On first-and-10 from the 27-yard line, Deloney broke out of a pack at the line of scrimmage, cut to his right and raced 73 yards for a touchdown that gave J’town a 14-7 lead with 5:08 left in the first half.
“I saw that I didn’t have a hole, so I wanted to bounce outside and see what I could get,” Deloney said. “I just kept my feet going and made it to the end zone.”
Vincent said his team actually had the play defended well.
“We had two or three guys at the point of attack,” he said. “We just didn’t wrap up, and he ran through a tackle. Other than that I thought we played great defense all night.”
Mandera Jackson’s 29-yard field goal gave J’town a 17-7 lead with 3:42 left in the third quarter before Bullitt East made a frantic rally in the final minutes.
Quarterback Anthony Doran completed passes of 17 and 14 yards to Jesse Porter and then scored on a 1-yard sneak to pull Bullitt East within 17-14 with 1:33 left in the game.
Bullitt East recovered the ensuing onside kick, but J’town’s Mikal Howard intercepted a Doran pass with 55.5 seconds left. J’town tried to run out the clock but eventually took a safety, pulling Bullitt East within 17-16 with 16.4 seconds left.
Bullitt East had three final plays, but Doran threw two incompletions and then was sacked by J’town’s Devin Watson on the final play of the game.
It was an appropriate finish for a J’town defense that held Bullitt East to 96 total yards.
“Their defensive line has given us more fits that anybody this year, just shooting gaps and stuff,” Vincent said.
Deloney said the final minutes were hectic but was proud of the defense for pulling out the victory.
“We shouldn’t have given that last touchdown up, but we kept fighting and got the win,” Deloney said. “That’s all that matters.”
BE – Blake McGill 1 run (Devyn Noe kick); J – Kendrick Gardner 1 run (Mandera Jackson kick); J – Richard Deloney 73 run (Jackson kick); J – Jackson 29 FG; BE – Anthony Doran 1 run (Noe kick); BE – Safety.