Boyle County breaks through the wall, tops Lexington Catholic 57-15
Published 11:51 pm Friday, November 17, 2017
The wall has fallen.
Boyle County has had many successes since Chuck Smith returned in 2014 for his second stint as its coach, but the Rebels hadn’t been able to push past the third round of the postseason.
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That changed Friday night at Rebel Stadium, as the Rebels leveled Lexington Catholic 57-15 and steamrolled into the Class 3A semifinals.
The Rebels scored on their first five possessions to secure a mercy-rule victory that got them over a hurdle that has been too tall in recent years.
“It’s been a hump for us,” Smith said. “Our motto this year is ‘Through the Wall,’ and we just wanted to get through that wall and over that hump. I’m proud of the seniors, but I’m not satisfied, and I know they’re not satisfied, either.”
Boyle (12-1) racked up 487 yards and got little resistance from Lexington Catholic (7-6) in the most lopsided game in what has become one of the most compelling series in the state since the teams first crossed paths in 1997.
“We definitely won the game before we even left the locker room,” offensive lineman Mitchell Paycheck said. “We were locked in. It’s such a big rivalry, both teams play at a high caliber when we play each other, and I think we just came out more ready to play.”
Smith agreed that the Rebels were ready for this one.
“They were focused, they were locked in, and they had a game plan and they weren’t going to be denied that game plan,” he said. “They’ve been practicing hard, really, since that last game. They’re practicing like a championship team, and they’ve just got to continue to do that.”
Boyle stands one win away from the chance to play for a championship. The Rebels will play next Friday at Elizabethtown (12-1), which rolled into the semifinals with a 52-6 victory at Caldwell County.
None of Boyle’s players have been this far before; the Rebels last reached the semifinals in 2010. They were eliminated by Lexington Catholic in 2014, and they lost second-round games to Central in 2015 and ’16 after regular-season losses to the Knights forced them on the road.
“They’ve taken us out every year, and to beat them twice this year is just a real great feeling,” Paycheck said.
Boyle and Lexington Catholic have played 26 times in 21 seasons, including 10 times in the playoffs, but they have never played a game like this one. This was the first running clock game in the series, which is now dead even at 13-13. (Boyle has won six of 10 playoff games between the teams.)
Boyle had thumped Lexington Catholic 48-17 earlier this season to earn the right to host the rematch, and this game wasn’t even that close.
Tanner Crawford ran for 267 yards and four touchdowns and Landen Bartleson scored three times for the Rebels scored more than 50 points for the fifth time this season and has put up 165 points in three playoff games.
Paycheck also got into the end zone for the first time in his four-year career, as he got the chance to line up in the backfield and scored a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve had that play in for about four weeks now,” he said. “It’s great to get to use it, especially in my last football game on this turf.”
Crawford scored on a 10-yard run less than three minutes into the game. Bartleson then had a pair of 1-yard TD runs and caught a 17-yard pass from Reed Lanter for another score, and Crawford scored again on a 6-yard run to give Boyle a 36-0 lead and start the running clock with 8:42 remaining in the first half.
Crawford also scored twice on 1-yard runs in the second half; he averaged 9.5 yards on 28 carries.
Lanter completed six of eight passes in the first half and finished 8 for 10 for 115 yards.
Boyle got one player back but lost another. Wide receiver-defensive back Reese Smith returned after missing three games due to a concussion; he had one reception and broke up a pass in the end zone. However, defensive end Aaron Hatter was ejected in the first quarter following a scuffle with a Lexington Catholic player in which officials said he threw a punch; Hatter will have to serve a one-game suspension next week unless Boyle can successfully appeal for reinstatement.
Lexington Catholic 0 8 7 0 – 15
Boyle County 14 22 7 14 – 57
Boyle – Tanner Crawford 10 run (Harrison Mesplay kick), 9:07.
Boyle – Landen Bartleson 1 run (Mesplay kick), 5:01.
Boyle – Bartleson 1 run (Mesplay kick), 11:01.
Boyle – Bartleson 17 pass from Reed Lanter (Mesplay kick), 9:21.
Boyle – Crawford 6 run (Sam Tiller pass from Lanter), 8:42.
Lexington Catholic – Gavin Cameron 10 pass from Beau Allen (Dameon Jones run), 1:59.
Boyle – Crawford 1 run (Mesplay kick), 6:59.
Lexington Catholic – Nathan Schnurr 69 fumble recovery (Trey Woody kick), 5:38.
Boyle – Mitchell Paycheck 1 run (Mesplay kick), 10:47.
Boyle – Crawford 1 run (Mesplay kick), 3:09.
First downs 6 25
Rushes-yards 8-29 44-372
Passing 110 115
Comp-Att-Int 10-23-0 8-10-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 7-121 8-57
RUSHING–Lexington Catholic, Dameon Jones 8-29. Boyle, Tanner Crawford 28-267, Landen Bartlesonn 11-67, Reed Lanter 2-17, Nick Walker 1-11, Grant Hotchkiss 1-9, Mitchell Paycheck 1-1.
PASSING–Lexington Catholic, Allen 10-23-0-110. Boyle, Lanter 8-10-1-115.
RECEIVING–Lexington Catholic, Trenton Neuer 3-46, Gavin Cameron 3-25, Jones 1-28, Luke Powell 1-7, Carson Brownell 1-4, Nathan Schnurr 1-0. Boyle, Walker 3-27, Reese Smith 1-27, Bartleson 1-17, Clete Hellyer 1-17, Sam Tiller 1-16, Reiley Colwick 1-11.