Prep Football: Boyle County needs win at Lexington Catholic to avoid return trip in playoffs
Boyle County running back Seph Burke (20) and the Rebels will have to control the ball Friday if they want to knock off Lexington Catholic in a key district contest in Lexington. (Clay Jackson / September 27, 2012)
But perhaps the only way for French and Boyle County to avoid that is for the Rebels to score a victory at rival Lexington Catholic on Friday in a key district contest.
“With both of us in the same district, that gets home field advantage in the playoffs if you end up beating one another,”¿French, the Boyle coach, said. “That’s our goal for Friday night is to try and get home-field advantage.
“If we can upset Catholic, that’s the ultimate goal. If not, we’ll go back to the planning and try to do something different next time.”
But knocking off No. 2 Lexington Catholic (5-1, 1-0 Class AAAA, District 5) means slowing down an offense averaging 30 points and 384 yards per game.
Seventh-ranked Boyle (3-3, 1-0) may have gotten a glimpse of how to slow down the Knights last week.
Lexington Catholic scored 20 straight points last Friday to avoid an upset bid by Mercer County and win 34-16. Quarterback Kyle Bolin threw for 273 yards and two scores, but was intercepted twice.
“They did a pretty good job of covering their receivers, but that opened up avenues to run the football,”¿French said. “You can’t take everything away from them. They are so versatile, they can run the football and throw the football. You’ve got to defend the whole field.”
Bolin, who has committed to Louisville, leads Lexington Catholic in passing as well as rushing. He is 108 for 195 for 1,508 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has also run for 161 yards and four touchdowns.
“He’s well-rounded, and he’s probably the best quarterback we’re going to face all year,”¿French said. “And he may be the best in the state. He’s legitimate.”
Bolin’s top target is David Bouvier, who has 51 catches for 771 yards and two touchdowns. Sam Letton has 16 catches for 182 yards and five scores, and Casey Nash has 10 receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns for Lexington Catholic.
Jaylen Jones las 149 yards rushing with one touchdown, Amoh Kumengisa has 119 yards and four touchdowns and Noah Mitchell has 125 yards on the ground for the Knights.
But beating Lexington Catholic also means trying to move the ball against a strong defense, which has given up just 10 points per game against five Kentucky opponents. The Knights lost to Tennessee power Ensworth 62-14 in the second game of the year.
“They’re good up front and they’re front people are probably as good as any team we’ll face all year,”¿French said. “And they are big and they play good, sound fundamental defense.
“You’ve got to create blocking angles and try to get the backs through there and find weaknesses in the defense, see what they’re going to give you. They can’t take away everything from you, but they can force you to do things offensively you’re not capable of doing. We’ve got to be careful of what we do and how we do it in order to have a chance.”
That means not having silly mistakes and penalties that could negate a potential big play. Boyle had 11 penalties, four of which caused touchdowns to be called back, in a win over Taylor County. Those mistakes may not be a big deal against a team like Taylor, but French said they will kill the Rebels against Lexington Catholic.
“You can’t make those mistakes against good football teams in order to have a chance to win. We’ve got to block the right people and hang on to the ball and have no turnovers,”¿French said. “No foolish mistakes. We’ve got to put the ball in the end zone and get the ball back and keep our offense on the field.”
Boyle comes in averaging 34 points and 391 yards on offense, with 247 yards per game coming on the ground. Seph Burke has 653 yards and eight touchdowns rushing and Lloyd Hall has 427 yards and four scores for the Rebels.
Casey Whittle is 45 for 96 for 734 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions for Boyle. Hall leads the team with 16 catches for 228 yards and a touchdown, Josiah Robbins has eight receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns, and Blake Mason has eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.
“We’d like to consume as much clock as we can. Mercer was able to do that in the first half last week, they controlled the clock and did a nice job of doing that keeping the ball away from Lexington Catholic,”¿French said. “We’ve got to convert our third- and fourth-down plays in order to keep the ball. Catholic is a big-strike offense. They like to get out there quick and run their offense quick. We’d like to keep them off the field.”