Game preview | Male football team might face ‘full game’ vs. Ballard

Game preview | Male football team might face ‘full game’ vs. Ballard

Football

Game preview | Male football team might face ‘full game’ vs. Ballard

Each of the Bulldogs’ games has included running clocks because of the mercy rule

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Each of the Bulldogs’ games has included running clocks because of the mercy rule

Highlights of last week’s game between Male and Jeffersontown.

Pleased with his team’s success through its first four games, Male High School football coach Chris Wolfe is a bit concerned things might have come too easily.

After all, each of the Bulldogs’ games has included running clocks because of the mercy rule. Wolfe figures those days will come to an end when his team hosts Ballard at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

“We haven’t really played a full game yet,” he said. “That concerns me to a point … because I’m wondering if we’re ready for a four-quarter game or not.”

Male, No. 12 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, has averaged 49.3 points in running roughshod over Floyd Central, Butler, Fairdale and Jeffersontown.

The Bulldogs were off last week as they prepared for the meat of their schedule. They’ll host Meade County — last year’s Class 6-A runner-up — next week before beginning “Super District” play against St. Xavier, Trinity and Manual.

Male has done most of its offensive damage through the air, as senior quarterback Davis Mattingly has completed 44 of 69 passes (63.8 percent) for 819 yards and 14 touchdowns with just one interception. Backup Hayden Shelton has seen plenty of action as well, passing for 313 yards and four TDs.

Junior receiver Keion Wakefield is showing why he’s considered among the top college prospects in the state, hauling in 14 receptions for 353 yards and seven TDs.

“We’ve had matchups on the outside that we really like, and you don’t get a quarterback like Davis every year,” Wolfe said. “We have an advantage at quarterback, and you lose that when you hand it off.”

Devin Gentry (150 yards, three TDs) and Tyrone Wilkerson (148 yards, two TDs) are the Bulldogs’ leading rushers, but senior Ellis Cain is healthy and likely will see his numbers increase. He missed the first two games with a shoulder injury and was used sparingly (seven carries, 58 yards) over the past two.

Ballard (3-2) put a scare into No. 2 Manual last week before falling 13-7. Coach Mike Jackson said his defense finally is adjusting to the new scheme brought in by first-year coordinator LaKunta Farmer.

“I don’t have words for how different our defense is playing right now,” Jackson said. “We’re a lot more attack-oriented now, and that’s been a big transition for our kids. We had some growing pains, but the kids are doing a great job.”

Senior quarterback Kenshawn Washington missed the Manual game for disciplinary reasons but will start against Male, Jackson said. Sam White will return to his tackle spot on the offensive line after playing quarterback last week.

With the improvement he saw against Manual, Jackson said his team “has a chance” against a Male squad that clobbered the Bruins 40-0 last season.

“Male has a really good defense, and they’re more potent offensively than Manual,” Jackson said. “Getting Sam back on the offensive line is huge for us. … There’s no comparison to where we are this year versus this time last year. We laid a huge egg against Male last year. They were better, but they weren’t that much better than us.”

GAME OF THE WEEK

Who: Ballard (3-2) at Male (4-0).

When: 7:30 tonight.

Jason’s pick: Male 31-14.

 

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Game preview | Male football team might face ‘full game’ vs. Ballard
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