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Rebels hit the road for ‘must-win’ game

The No. 2 seed in the district is on the line for Boyle County against Western Hills.

It’s another tough challenge for the Rebels, who were knocked down in a 38-7 loss at Lexington Catholic after a four-game win streak.

It’s a game that we really have to win,” coach Chuck Smith said. “It’s for second place, a chance to host the first round of the playoffs. It’s just a game that we need to win to rebound from that disappointing loss that we had to Lexington Catholic.”

Smith said he didn’t like the way his team performed at Catholic and he didn’t like the way his team started the week in practice.

“It’s been slow. I won’t lie about that, it’s been slow, a little dead,” he said. “We’ve got to regroup. It’s the time that the leadership has got to step up and say, ‘hey, we’ve worked too hard this year to let this thing slip away. We need to step up and get back on course.’”

The Rebels are tasked with stopping one of the most electric sophomores in the country in WanDale Robinson. The star running back has accumulated 1,319 rushing yards on just 106 carries this year. He’s also caught 19 passes for 345 yards and two scores. Last week against Garrard County, Robinson ran 29 times for 254 yards and three scores.

“It’s really tough because he’s so hard to tackle, he’s so fast,” Smith said. “He’s explosive, too. It’s not like he’s just fast, he’ll run through your tackles if you’re not ready to break down and deliver the blow. He’s every bit as good as the kid we struggled with last week. This kid is every bit as good and he’s extremely fast, really explosive and their offense centers around him.”

Smith compared Robinson to Lexington Catholic running back Dameon Jones, who ran for 185 yards on 32 carries last week. Stopping talented running backs has been a problem for the Rebels this season, something that Smith hopes his team can fix this week.

“We’ve got to be able to tackle a good running back,” he said. “If we can’t do that, then we really can’t talk about going very far in the playoffs, because everybody is going to have a really good running back. We’ve got to be able to tackle those guys if we want to move on. We’ve got to get people to the football to help do it and all that other stuff too, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to be able to tackle somebody.”

Offensively, Smith said he’ll have quarterback Sam Tiller leading the line.

“We’ll just go into the game and see what the defense gives us, see what they allow us to do,” the coach said. “But I think it’s important that our offense gets off to a good start. We got hit last week, we didn’t do a good job offensively against Lexington Catholic at all. We’ve got to be able to produce more than what we were able to produce last week. We’ve got to be more careful with the ball, take care of the ball more and we’ve got to score some points. At the end of the day, we’ve got to score points.”

Follow Matt Overing on Twitter @MOvering