Prep Football: Boyle County preparing for another playoff run by hosting Clay County on Friday
Boyle County quarterback Casey Whittle (4) has thrown for 1,538 yards and 19 touchdowns going into Friday¿s Class AAAA playoff opener against Clay County at Rebel Stadium. (Hal Morris / November 1, 2012)
Now Boyle coach Larry French said the Rebels are playing their best football as the Class AAAA playoffs begin, starting this week when Clay County coming to Rebels Stadium.
“We’ve played in playoff atmospheres before and we should be well-tested and should be able to handle the pressure and handle the moment,”¿French said. “And we just line up and play one play at a time and know our opponent is Clay County and they do certain things and we’ve got to be able to stop those things.”
And stopping Clay (4-6) mean s`lowing down Kentucky recruit Jacob Hyde, a 6-3, 325-pound senior lineman who has 49 tackles on the year. But French said Boyle (6-4) won’t do anything different to adjust to Hyde to start off.
“He’s a pretty good football player and moves well, and we’ve got our hands full,”¿French said. “But we’ll stay with what we’ve been doing all year and we what we can do. Our offense has been moving the ball well all year and defensively we’ve been clicking and well see if we can keep on clicking.”
Clay has not been clicking at the end of the year, losing five of its final six games. But four of those losses came to Knox Central, Russell County, Bell County and Breathitt County, all highly ranked in their classes.
“They’re a good team. They’ve played a tough schedule, but we’ve played a tough schedule too,”¿French said. “We think we’re ready and I know they’re going to think they have a shot. So Friday, we’re going to kick it off and maybe the best team will win.”
The Tigers’ offense comes in averaging 23 points and 330 yards per game, and the Tiger mainly try to get the ball to running back Sam Carr and running back/receiver Joey Dezarn.
Carr, a 5-10, 165 pound sophomore, has rushed for 1,277 yards and 14 touchdowns ad has 15 catches for 236 yards and two scores. Dezarn, a 6-foot, 170 pound senior, has rushed for 455 yards and two scores and has 22 catches for 558 yards and four scores.
“They play power football. They’re going to run the toss sweep and isolation and they have power players. And they’re going to run some trap and they’re going to give you difference offensive sets,”¿French said. “They’re going to be in the shotgun and I-formation and wishbone power-I.
“So there’s a lot of things there they do that we’ve seen all season long. So nothing should surprise us, it’s just a matter of whether we can stop it or not.”
Quarterback Ryan Holland is 65 of 110 passing for 1,116 yards and eight touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He has also rushed for 117 yards and five scores, while receiver Travis Smith has 18 catches for 189 yard and two touchdowns.
Beside Hyde, French said Christian McNeal, a 6-3, 245 pounder, has been impressive on the line.
“He’s a pretty good size young man that plays well, too and I like him an awful lot,”¿French said. “They’ve got some good people and they’re pretty effective in what they try to do.”
Boyle’s defense is giving up 21 points and has forced 24 turnovers, including 18 interceptions.
Josiah Robbins has four of those picks, and Lloyd Hall has three, while Zack Coffey has two fumble recoveries. Kyle Kephart leads the team with 60 tackles, Austin Muntz has 58 and Keegan Kendrick 55.
Boyle’s offense, which is putting up 39 points and 410 yards per game, will be going against a Clay defense which allows 31 points and 268 yards per game.
Quarterback Casey Whittle is 93 of 178 passing for 1,538 yards and 19 touchdowns. Seph Burke has carried 184 ties for 1,155 yards and four 14 touchdowns.
Hall has caught 29 passes for 503 yards and four scores, and has rushed for 478 yards and four ore touchdowns. Robbins has 20 catches for 442 yards and six touchdowns and has run for two more and Blake Mason has 18 catches for 250 yards and four scores.
French said his team is playing its best football of the season after finishing the year winning five of six games by an average of 41 points. The lone loss was a 24-21 setback at Lexington Catholic.
“I think we’re as close now to playing as well as we can play,”¿he said. “We’ve gotten better every week, and that’s what you want ot do as a tea, get better as the playoffs approach.
“The biggest thing is that we’ve gotten some experience with our young people. And some of our older people that didn’t have that experience at the beginning of the season, now they’ve got a season behind them and they’re playing with more confidence and hopefully we can continue that.”