On paper, Boyle County’s 53-0 victory over Taylor County looked like the sort of game Boyle coach Larry French wanted out of his team.
The Rebels outgained Taylor 436 yards to 133, had no fumbles or turnovers and held the Cardinals to 2.1 yards per carry and just seven first downs Friday night.
But Boyle also had four touchdowns called back by penalty and was stopped on downs three times in its district opener.
“We didn’t practice well all week long, and we came out and we were overthrowing passes. We were probably a little hyped up throwing the ball. But receivers weren’t running full-speed routes, and that makes it tough on your quarterback,” French said. “We didn’t run the ball much in the first half, but we came out in the second half and established the run and we took it to them.”
Boyle ran for 191 of its 276 yards in the second half and held Taylor to just 60 second-half yards.
“Overall in the second half, I thought we played much better. We played much better defensively tonight,” French said. “We still gave up a play here or there, but you’re not going to be perfect. But any improvement defensively is big.”
Senior Lloyd Hall had a huge game for Boyle (3-3, 1-0 Class AAAAA, District 5), which has beaten Taylor (4-1, 0-1) by a combined score of 110-0 over the last two years.
Hall accounted for 293 all-purpose yards — not even counting an 87-yard punt return for a score which was negated after a penalty — and scored a touchdown.
He had all 91 of his receiving yards in the first half with a 31-yard touchdown and got all of his 95 rushing yards in the second half. He also had a 67-yard kickoff return and a 38-yard punt return.
But he knows that what Boyle left on the scoreboard could be crucial in this week’s contest at Lexington Catholic.
“We left four on the board. Next week, we can’t let that happen,” Hall said. “We have to fix the little things. But overall, it was a good win.”
Casey Whittle and Josiah Robbins combined to throw for 154 yards in the first half as Boyle led 25-0. Whittle finished 6 for 15 for 100 yards, and Robbins completed both of his attempts for 60 yards.
Boyle’s margin could have been more. The Rebels wasted Hall’s 67-yard kickoff return on their first series when their drive stalled at the Taylor 23-yard line.
But Boyle struck quickly on its next possession. A bad punt gave the Rebels the ball at the Taylor 35. On the first play, Robbins took an end around for a touchdown, but the play was called back for holding, and Whittle then hit Robbins for a 24-yard gain and later scored on a 3-yard keeper to give them a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After forcing another punt, the Rebels mounted an eight play, 40-yard drive capped by a 20-yard run by Kyle Kephart, who got a good downfield block from Hall as Boyle led 15-0 with 11:32 left in the first half.
Hall then did most of the damage on Boyle’s next drive.
He caught a 41-yard bomb from Robbins on a reverse pass and a 2-yarder from Whittle. He then caught another short pass from Whittle, made a couple of Taylor defenders miss and raced practically untouched into the end zone for a 31-yard score that gave Boyle a 22-0 lead.
“There’s some good downfield blocking, so I just had to catch the ball and run with it,” Hall said.
Hall’s 38-yard punt return set Boyle up at the Taylor 17 with 1:33 left in the half, but Boyle had to settle for a 30-yard field from William Harris and led 25-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, Hall ripped off a 29-yard run, then Seph Burke busted around the left side and outran the Taylor defense for a 49-yard touchdown that made it 32-0.
French has been pleased with how Hall has adjusted to switching between receiver and running back.
“He’s been stable all year long, he’s getting better at running back,” French said. “He’s got good speed, and he’s starting to see the field and is getting his confidence up and he’s starting to do a good job.”
Boyle then had two straight plays called back from penalties. Hall’s 87-yard punt return was negated by a holding penalty, and on the next play Whittle hit Kephart on a flare pass that netted 87 yards, but there was a flag for an illegal man downfield.
But the Rebels were finally able to punch it in. Hall ran for 38 yards and Taylor was called for a personal foul, Burke ran for 12 yards Hall added a 24-yard run and Kephart scored from 6 yards out to make it 39-0.
Zack Coffey blocked a punt on the next series, but Boyle was stopped on downs at the Taylor 12. But getting one block wasn’t good enough, because Coffey took the next punt off the punter’s foot in the end zone for a touchdown that gave Boyle a 46-0 lead.
“The first one, I was just wanting to make a play. I got it on my hand, and I saw it going back and I was just wanting to get a touchdown,” Coffey said. “And I was sort of upset I didn’t get that one, so the second one I was just wanting to get a touchdown.”
Coffey then recovered a muffed kickoff, which set up Boyle’s final score on a 13-yard run by Zach McCullom.
Taylor County 0 0 0 0 — 0
Boyle County 7 18 14 14 — 53
Boyle — Casey Whittle 3 run (William Harris kick), 7:37.
Boyle — Kyle Kephart 20 run (Blake Mason run), 11:32.
Boyle — Lloyd Hall 31 pass from Whittle (Harris kick), 2:45.
Boyle — FG¿Harris 30, :44.
Boyle —¿Seph Burke 49 run (Harris kick), 9:53.
Boyle — Kephart 6 run (Harris kick), 4:28.
Boyle — Nick Coffey blocked punt in end zone (Harris kick), 6:55.
Boyle — Zach McCullom 13 run (Harris kick), 4:03.
First downs 7 19
Rushes-yards 36-76 31-276
Passing 57 160
Total Net Yards 133 436
Comp-Att-Int 5-9-0 8-17-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-48 12-77
RUSHING—Taylor, Daulton Turpin 13-46, Josh Gillmer 10-24, Garrett Haggerty 2-9, Dylan Bright 2-9, Chase Turner 1-4, Ryan Cox 1-0, Hunter Christie 5-minus 13. Boyle, Lloyd Hall 6-95, Seph Burke 9-67, Kyle Kephart 5-54, Casey Whittle 7-26, Zach McCullom 3-21, Josiah Robbins 2-13.
PASSING—Taylor, Christie 5-9-0-57. Boyle, Whittle 6-15-0-100, Robbins 2-2-0-60.
RECEIVING—Taylor, Gillmer 3-48, Colton Harris 1-5, Conner Fair 1-4. Boyle, Hall 4-91, Robbins 2-44, Levi McKinney 1-19, Kephart 1-6.