Smith helps Boyle County ‘through the wall’

Published 11:06 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

The “Through the Wall” motto has been Boyle County’s call this season.

And, for the first time in seven years, the Rebels are through the wall.

Head coach Chuck Smith has led his team to a semifinal spot in Class 3A for the first time since 2010, which is also the last time Boyle won a state championship. For that, he’s won the Advocate-Messenger Coach of the Year award.

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“It’s really an honor,” Smith said. “I consider it really a compliment to our coaching staff. I’ve got a great coaching staff and they work really hard. It’s a compliment to how hard they’ve worked, it’s quite an honor and privilege that I’m appreciative of.”

The Rebels are 12-1 entering their semifinal matchup with Elizabethtown and have scored more points than any team in Class 3A. But the Rebels have also done it defensively, limiting teams to less than 14 points per game. No team has scored more than 19 points on the Rebels this year.

And those teams weren’t easy: Both Wayne County and Collins are 4A teams that are still in the hunt for a state title, and Boyle crushed both — 38-14 and 45-17, respectively.

Smith also credited his senior class for taking the team motto to heart and leading by example.

“As far as our football team goes, our goal this year was to get through that wall,” Smith said. “We’ve been struggling the last three years, moreso with the mental part of it than the physical part of it, just being able to understand what the expectations were, what our expectations are as coaches. I’m not sure the other three classes really got it, but this senior class, I mean, wow. What a job of leadership they have done. They’ve just been awesome. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do, and more.”

Senior lineman Will Bramel said that it’s “no surprise” that Smith is the area coach of the year.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better coach,” Bramel said. “It’s more than just football with him, he teaches us really what life can be like. I think that’s what separates him. Obviously, his resume is one of, if not the best for high school coaches out there.”

That resume — Smith won five state titles with the Rebels from 1999-2003 — is part of what makes Smith’s return to success with Boyle all the more impressive, according to Mercer County head coach David Buchanan.

“I think it’s really hard for a coach to go back to a school where he was the first time,” Buchanan said. “Because not only does he have to deal with (current) expectations, he’s got to deal with the expectations of the Chuck Smith that won five state titles. I think he has navigated that extremely well. Not many people can do what he’s done. I think it’s really impressive, to be able to go back and get your team to achieve at a very high level.”

But the Rebels aren’t done achieving this season. Smith again praised his seniors for wanting to push the bar back to state championship heights.

“They’re still hungry,” he said. “They’ve got their mind set on a goal and they’re not going to ease up till they reach that goal. It has been one of the best senior groups that I’ve really ever coached. They’ve really been awesome. They’ve done everything that I’ve asked them to do.”