COVID-19 has forced everyone to change their plans in some form or fashion so far in 2020.
Southwestern was originally scheduled to end their regular season with a road trip to Lexington to face Paul Laurence Dunbar, but thanks to COVID-19, the Warriors will now conclude their regular season with an away game at Bullitt Central.
The Warriors, who are 7-1 overall and ranked eighth in Class 5A, will face the Bullitt Central Cougars for the first time in school history this evening. The Cougars sport an overall mark of 3-4 coming into tonight's regular-season finale in Shepherdsville.
Jason Foley and the Warriors will look to cap off an impressive regular season with a road victory over the Cougars. Southwestern began the year with six consecutive wins before a three-point loss to Pulaski County. The Warriors picked up their seventh win of the 2020 campaign last week at Madison Central.
It has been an interesting year for the Cougars, who have had one game canceled due to the coronavirus and picked up another win over Iroquois due to a forfeit. Bullitt Central began the season with three straight losses before evening up their record to 3-3 with a three-game winning streak. The Cougars fell to one game below .500 with a 45-12 loss to Christian Academy-Louisville last Friday.
Before the state playoffs get underway next week, both Southwestern and Bullitt Central will have one final tune-up to get everything ready and squared away for their postseason matchups.
Offensively, Bullitt Central averages 21.4 points per game, 168.3 rushing yards per game, and 103.3 passing yards per game. The Cougars will face a Southwestern defense that gives up, on average, 19.5 points per contest.
The Cougars will lean heavily on the play of running backs, Kylor Close and Zachary Shofner. Both players have contributed by rushing the football and catching the ball out of the backfield.
Close, who has 20 receptions for 301 receiving yards and four touchdowns, leads the team with 647 rushing yards and 11 scores on 96 attempts. Along with 13 catches for 101 yards, Shofner has carried the ball 71 times for 373 yards and a trio of touchdowns.
Throwing the ball to those pair of backs is Cougar quarterback Eli Burkhead, who is 45 of 93 on the year for 675 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions. The Bullitt Central quarterback has 150 rushing yards and a lone score on 45 rushing attempts.
The Warrior offense, who averages just under 30 points per game, will go up against a Bullitt Central defense that gives up 36.9 points per contest. Southwestern is currently averaging 260.3 rushing yards per game and 88.7 passing yards per game.
Southwestern's rushing attack is coming off of one of their best rushing performances of the season, as three running backs went over or were extremely close to the 100-yard rushing mark in the Warriors' 41-35 win over Madison Central. Tanner Wright recently went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the year, as he has 146 carries for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns. Joining Wright in the three-headed monster rushing attack is Giddeon Brainard (60 attempts for 484 yards and 12 scores) and Connor Crisp (50 rushes for 354 yards and four touchdowns).
The Warriors plan on using tonight's game to get some final in-game reps before the KHSAA Class 5A State Playoffs begin next Friday, November 13th. Southwestern, the district's No. 2 seed, is set to host three-seeded Whitley County in the opening round of the postseason.
As mentioned earlier, tonight's game will be the inaugural time that the Cougars and the Warriors have played one another. Southwestern has played Bullitt East and North Bullitt before, but never Bullitt Central.
Kickoff for this evening's contest is set for 7:30 p.m. at Bullitt Central High School. Tonight's game can be heard live on lakecumberlandsports.com
Follow Michael Childers on Twitter -- @MChilders_22