LEBANON - Whatever it was that was holding Boyle County back Friday night, it was long gone by halftime.
Gone, but not forgotten.
For even after the Rebels shredded Marion County by scoring four touchdowns in a 7-minute span in the second quarter and went on to crush Marion County 63-0 at Boswell Field, their coach was concerned that they didn’t play better sooner.
It took Boyle some time to get going against an obviously overmatched opponent, and coach Larry French said that shouldn’t be the case so deep into the season.
“We had good practices all week long, and to come out and not be focused on offense was disappointing,” French said. “Once they got going and got the rust off a little bit, I thought we did a lot better. But we’ve still got a long way to go and a lot of improvement to do and a short time to get there.”
The Rebels sputtered early in the game, scoring only once in the first 16 minutes. But once their engine got revved up, there was nothing Marion could do to stop them.
Boyle racked up 555 yards on offense, including a season-high 301 passing yards, and its defense forced four turnovers, all of which led to scores, as it won by its largest margin in eight years.
Casey Whittle threw a career-high five touchdown passes, and freshman Josiah Robbins scored a career-high four touchdowns — two receiving and two rushing.
“I’ll definitely remember it,” Robbins said.
Seph Burke and Lloyd Hall also scored two touchdowns each for Boyle, which hit its stride on offense almost immediately after offensive coordinator Chris Mason ripped into the Rebels during a second-quarter timeout. Mason could easily be heard from across the field as he challenged the players.
“It’s a shame that we have to do that,” French said. “I think they looked at film and they thought it would be a little easier than what it actually was in the first quarter. But they’ve just got to learn those things. You can’t overlook anybody.”
Robbins admitted that the Rebels overlooked Marion (2-6, 1-2), especially after Mercer County routed the Knights 55-0 a week earlier.
“I think we came out flat, because we thought we had this game because of what Mercer County did last week,” he said. “We prepared well, we just came out like we had already won the game.”
French said there also might have been traces of rust on players who were coming off an open date and who had been out of school and out of their regular routine all week.
“That probably was some of our problem, but we shouldn’t do that. We should be ready to play. This bunch, they’ve just got to learn. We’re a long way from being where we’d like to be right now,” he said.
Still, Boyle put up some eye-popping numbers in its most lopsided win since a 76-6 win over Taylor County in October 2004. The Rebels averaged 10.5 yards per play, and ran 19 more plays than Marion.
Whittle completed 11 of 21 passes to six different receivers for 231 yards, and he threw his last pass of the night 3 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.
“Casey and me and the rest of our receivers get better in sync every week,” Robbins said.
Whittle also caught a pass from Hall for a 51-yard gain on the Rebels’ first offensive play, which led to his 17-yard, fourth-and-10 touchdown pass to Robbins four plays later.
Boyle’s next two drives died in Marion territory, but the Rebels responded after Mason’s timeout tirade, taking a 14-0 lead on Whittle’s 22-yard pass over the middle to Robbins with 7:32 remaining in the first half.
Burke recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return, and Whittle hit him with a 26-yard touchdown pass two plays later. Then came a 1-yard TD run by Burke that capped an 80-yard drive and the first of two touchdowns by Hall, who ran past a handful of solid blocks on a 56-yard catch-and-run scoring play.
“Our entire team just went harder. Our linemen blocked better, our wide receivers ran better routes, and we just pulled together,” Robbins said.
Burke rushed for 120 yards on 18 carries, outgaining Marion’s entire offense by 2 yards, and Hall had four receptions for 106 yards.
“We threw the football pretty good, and once we ran the right routes, we were able to complete some passes, and that opened up the running game a little bit,” French said.
Boyle scored twice in 17 seconds in the third quarter on Hall’s second receiving touchdown and Robbins’ first rushing touchdown to take a 49-0 lead and activate the continuous-clock mercy rule, and rushing touchdowns by Aiden Hoskins and Robbins capped the scoring.
The Rebels’ defense did its job as well, holding Marion to 118 yards and six first downs. Burke and Bryce Marshall recovered fumbles, Joe Shewmaker wrenched the ball out of a Marion receiver’s hands after a catch and Trevor Thompson intercepted a pass.
“For the most part, I think we attacked pretty good defensively. We’ve still got some problems that we need to iron out, but I thought we attacked a little better tonight,” French said.
Boyle hosts Mercer County this Friday in a game that will award the winner second place in their district and the chance to host a first-round playoff game, and Robbins said the Rebels can’t afford another slow start.
“We cannot have quarters like we had the first quarter,” he said. “We have yet to put four quarters together throughout the season. We’ve got to put four quarters together to be a good team.”
Boyle County 7 28 21 7 — 63
Marion County 0 0 0 0 — 0
Boyle — Josiah Robbins 17 pass from Casey Whittle (Will Harris kick), 8:39.
Boyle — Robbins 22 pass from Whittle (Harris kick), 7:32.
Boyle — Seph Burke 26 pass from Robbins 22 pass from Whittle (Harris kick), 7:32.
Boyle — Burke 1 run (Harris kick), 1:42.
Boyle — Lloyd Hall 56 pass from Whittle (Harris kick), :53.
Boyle — Hall 19 pass from Whittle (Harris kick), 8:27.
Boyle — Robbins 9 run (Harris kick), 8:10.
Boyle — Aiden Hoskins 19 run (Harris kick), 1:08.
Boyle — Robbins 40 run (Addison Coffey kick), 2:44.
First downs 18 6
Rushes-yards 30-254 21-59
Passing 301 59
Total Net Yards 555 118
Comp-Att-Int 13-23-0 4-13-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 4-3
Penalties-Yards 11-86 4-35
RUSHING—Boyle, Seph Burke 18-120, Aiden Hoskins 3-57, Josiah Robbins 3-49, Casey Whittle 2-19, Eric Brown 2-11, Zach McCullom 1-2, team 1-minus 4. Marion, Tyran Sickles 2-28, Jalen Powell 5-26, Anton Cowherd 5-9, Hayden Taylor 6-2, Cameron Brown 1-minus 2, Logan Breeding 1-minus 2, team 1-minus 2.
PASSING—Boyle, Whittle 11-21-0-231, Lloyd Hall 1-1-0-51, Robbins 1-1-0-19. Marion, Taylor 3-11-0-32, Deshay Epps 1-2-1-27.
RECEIVING—Boyle, Hall 4-106, Robbins 3-45, Austin Muntz 2-42, Whittle 1-51, Burke 1-26, Levi McKinney 1-19, Blake Mason 1-12. Marion, Lincoln Hayden 1-30, Dre Bridgewater 1-27, Cowherd 1-4, C. Brown 1-minus 2.