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Boyle County survives in Frankfort, beats Western Hills 54-35

By Susan Riddell

The State Journal

FRANKFORT — The Boyle County High School football team came into Friday’s game against Western Hills having outscored opponents 317-99 on its way to a perfect 8-0 record, No. 1 ranking in Class 3A and all the accolades that come with those lofty numbers.

One thing the Rebels had not seen all season was a deficit. Against the Wolverines, they saw three.

But in the fourth quarter, the Rebels showed why they are the only unbeaten team in class 3A, answering WHHS every time as Boyle County went on to win the game 54-35 at WHHS.

Andrew Sacco’s 44-yard touchdown run with 10:16 to go in the game proved to be the difference for Boyle County, and Tanner Crawford added a 71-yard insurance touchdown with 6:16 to go. With WHHS driving late, Reese Smith scored the final touchdown of the game for Boyle when he intercepted a WHHS pass and returned it almost 100 yards in the game’s final two minutes.

Credit a balanced WHHS attack, however, with making this a nail-biter through three-plus quarters. Multiple players had huge games for WHHS as the Rebels focused most of their attention on Mr. Football favorite Wandale Robinson.

Down 14-13 to open the third quarter, Boyle’s Hayden Bottoms recovered a Wolverine fumble and returned it to the WHHS 7 less than a minute into the second half. Rebel quarterback Reed Lanter soon found Luke Sheperson with a five-yard touchdown pass. The conversion failed, leaving the score 19-13 Rebels.

But as quickly as the Rebels faced their first deficit of the season, they quickly met their second. Just more than a minute later, Wolverine QB Nate Johnson placed a beautiful pass into coverage, hitting Logan Bell in the middle of the field. Bell scampered 53 yards for the score. Jack Caldwell’s extra point put Western Hills ahead by two.

Lanter led his team back down the field, however, hitting Smith with an 18-yard touchdown pass. Cameron Yates caught the conversion pass from Lanter to give Boyle a 27-21 edge.

Robinson broke free for a 47-yard touchdown run to give the lead back to Hills with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter. Caldwell’s PAT made it 28-27.

Reiley Colwick put Boyle back on top with a nine-yard reverse run, and Reese Smith’s two-point conversion accounted for a 35-28 edge.

Bell went 70 yards on the ensuing kickoff return, setting up a five-yard touchdown run by Robinson. Garrett Clark’s point-after kick tied the game at 35, setting up Boyle County’s final three scores.

From the start of the game, it was clear that WHHS wasn’t about to back down from the Rebels.

Boyle County struck first with 6:13 in the first quarter when Lanter hit Smith with a 38-yard touchdown pass. Jackson Smith converted the extra point kick. That drive followed a three-and- out series for Western Hills after Johnson recovered a Boyle fumble on the opening kickoff.

Western Hills tied the game, however, with two minutes to go in the quarter. WHHS fielded a punt at midfield. Following a Boyle County targeting penalty, Johnson found a wide-open Carlos Gonzalez deep on the left side, and that pass completion resulted in a 34-yard touchdown. Caldwell made the extra point for a 7-7 score.

Lanter and his receiver, Smith, struck again in the second quarter with a 27-yard touchdown pass and reception. The conversion failed, making it 13-7 with 9:36 left in the first half.