Prep Football: Boyle County seeks to get better on defense against Collins
Boyle County's Troy Yeager (55) sacked Highlands' quarterback Donovan McCoy last week, but the Rebels gave up 446 yards in the loss. (Clay Jackson / August 23, 2012)
“We didn’t play good defense the entire game, and that was one of our weaknesses big time,” French said. “We didn’t tackle very well. We had people there, we didn’t tackle well, and that was very disappointing.
“We didn’t stop the run well at all (allowing 354 yards) and that’s something we’ve been good at in the past. We’ve got to do something to correct that. And hopefully we’ll work on things and this week, and make a couple of personnel changes that we think will help us and see if that helps.”
So needless to say, French expects a better defensive effort from the Rebels on Saturday against 1-0 Collins in the Stuart Powell Ford Tough Bowl.
Collins opened the season with a 21-14 win over Meade County. The Titans scored all 21 points in the first half and made Meade play from behind.
“Meade is a good team, and they play good defense, and Collins was able to put a couple of quick scores on the board through the air,” French said. “They ran a couple of plays where the defensive back got caught up in the play-action and the receiver got behind them and scored.”
That receiver is Nathan Sames, a 5-10, 183-pound junior who caught four passes for 120 yards and the two touchdowns last week. Junior quarterback Lawson Page, a 6-1, 190-pounder, was 11 for 23 passing for 178 yards. Collins, which runs a spread offense, ran for only 96 yards last week, led by Page’s 42 and Deandre Farris’ 33 yards.
“They’ve got a good offensive line in front of them, and they looked pretty good, pretty solid. They’ve got some skill people that are extremely fast. Their quarterback throws a good ball, they’ve got some receivers and have athletes all over the place. They’re a quick team, they spread you and make you cover the entire field,” French said. “And that’s where we had trouble Friday night. We didn’t tackle in the open field.”
Collins did give up 182 yards rushing to Meade, and 222 total yards. And what French did like about Boyle’s game was the improved play of his offensive line, which allowed the Rebels to rush for 262 yards and amass 401 yards of offense.
“I thought the line did a nice job. They came off the ball real well, blocked well and opened up some nice holes for our running backs.”
Seph Burke ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns, and Lloyd Hall ran for 92 yards on nine carries, including a 42-yard touchdown run.
“Seph ran hard, and that was Lloyd’s first time lining up at running back. The did a great job of finding holes,” French said.
But the Rebels fumbled the ball away twice and had three turnovers, which helped Highlands rip off 28 straight points in the third quarter. Quarterback Casey Whittle was 10 for 22 for 139 yards with a touchdown pass to Josiah Robbins and threw an interception.
“Those turnovers really hurt us, and the inability to field a kickoff really hurt us in the second half,” he said. “But even after that, we moved the ball (before turnovers). We were driving on both drives. I don’t think they stopped us, we stopped ourselves.”
Boyle led by nine at halftime last week before giving up 37 straight points and losing by three touchdowns.
But French said his team has to put that disappointing loss behind it and get ready for a Collins team which advanced to last year’s Class AAAA semifinals.
“We have to forget the past and worry about this week,” he said. “I think we’re ready to play. I think our kids, they feel confident they can win football games,” French said. “And we’ve got to rely on our 18 seniors to lead us in the right direction, and hopefully we’ll put it together and step it up and play well.”