When the Berea Community football team opens its home schedule today against Bethlehem, coach Adam Coleman doesn’t expect his Pirates to come out as flat as they did against Gallatin County last week.
“We came out slow and sluggish, that’s something we addressed this week,” Coleman said. “I think we’ll be able to get a better start on them this week.”
The Pirates (1-1) and Eagles (0-2) kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Berea.
Just what Bethlehem has to offer isn’t immediately obvious. The Eagles haven’t scored in their two losses this season (40-0 at home against Washington County and 45-0 at Bardstown).
The Eagles managed just 32 yards from scrimmage in the loss to Bardstown and coughed up a pair of fumbles. Bardstown scored 19 points in the first quarter and cruised to an easy win.
That can all be deceiving, Coleman said.
“They played one of the better teams in 2A last week,” he said. “They’re a traditional (powerhouse) at that level of ball and they contend every year, so it’s hard to judge (Bethlehem) on that game.”
The Eagles look similar to Berea’s last opponent, Gallatin, who used Berea miscues and some luck to roll to a 44-12 victory in Grant County Saturday.
“They like to run the ball out of the shotgun,” Coleman said. “I felt pretty good about us defensively (last week). We made some good stops.”
A lot of last week’s preparation should serve the Pirates well against the Eagles.
“They have a quarterback who likes to run as well,” Coleman said. “(Bethlehem) is similar to Gallatin in that they run a two-back gun and in the double wing set they’ll put the wings in motion. It looks like they try to run a little more misdirection and counters maybe than what Gallatin did. So that’s something we worked on, making sure of our reads on the misdirection plays.”
If the Pirates want to avoid anymore similarities between the Gallatin game and the contest against Bethlehem, they’ll have to secure the ball.
Each of the Wildcats’ first four touchdowns were set up by Berea turnovers — a blocked punt in the end zone, an interception, a fumble on a punt and another fumble.
Those big plays allowed Gallatin to take a 26-6 lead into halftime.
Berea got a pair of touchdown passes from Darius Whitaker (59 yards to Major McGraw and 39 yards to Eli Woodie), but it wasn’t enough to overcome those mistakes.
“We didn’t turn the ball over in the first week (a 19-8 win over Trimble County) and had some takeaways. This past week we had more turnovers than we took it away,” Coleman said. “I think that was probably the biggest difference in the game.”
The Pirates split their two road games to open the season and now open their home schedule, the first home game for first-year coach Coleman.
“Several other teams around us will be playing at home and a lot of football will be played in the area Friday night, but we hope we got a pretty good crowd for our first home game,” he said.