Rebels finish regular season undefeated
Published 11:14 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018
Mercer County scored the first two points of the game.
After that, it was all Boyle County.
The Rebels scored 42 unanswered points after a slow first quarter to finish the regular season with a win, 42-2 over Mercer County. It’s the 22nd-straight victory for Boyle, who heads into the postseason with a spotless 10-0 record.
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“We didn’t come out early very good but I think that had something to do with Mercer,” Boyle head coach Chuck Smith said. “Mercer came out very physical and aggressive, they got after us, especially our defense pretty good. The other two phases I thought we were pretty solid, offense and special teams. But defensively they got after us and I think you’ve got to give Mercer credit for that.”
Mercer County drove the ball with tempo on the first drive of the game but couldn’t reach paydirt after reaching the Rebels’ two yard line.
Even without scoring on offense, it didn’t take long for Mercer to score.
Boyle County running back Landen Bartleson was caught in the end zone for a safety on the Rebels’ first play to put the Titans ahead 2-0 with 5:50 left in the first quarter.
That’d be the only score of the first 12 minutes.
“They did a good job keeping the ball away from us,” Boyle quarterback Reed Lanter said. “Their offense came out ready to go, their defense stopped us on that first play and then it took us awhile to start moving the ball.”
It wouldn’t take long for the Rebels to score in the second quarter: Lanter hit Reese Smith for a 28-yard touchdown on the second play of the quarter to give the Rebels the lead.
From there, it was all Boyle.
Luke Sheperson would catch two passes from Lanter to give Boyle a 21-2 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Rebels found their footing on the ground — although it was without speedster Bartleson.
“Second half, we came out much more enthused and fired up and got after it a bit better,” coach Smith said. “Tanner (Crawford) ran the ball really well. Andrew Sacco has been starting for us on defense so we haven’t used him as much on offense, but he’s very capable. Landen is just beat up, he hasn’t been healthy for a couple of weeks. I don’t know if he’ll be fully healthy again this year, I really don’t.”
The Rebels finished with 139 yards on the ground and were led by Crawford’s two second-half touchdowns.
“Our O-Line is getting experience now and we’ve got three running backs that we can rely on,” Lanter said. “Landen has the speed, then you’ve got Tanner and Sacco that can hit it up there. The line has been getting better each week, that has been a focus for us.”
Lanter would find Reese Smith one more time in the second half, in between Crawford touchdowns. By the end of the third quarter, the Rebels had doubled their score.
Lanter was nearly perfect through the air: He finished 18-for-19 with 304 yards and four touchdowns. Reese Smith finished with five catches for a team-high 114 yards. Sheperson had three catches for 60 yards, and Reiley Colwick led the team with six receptions for 75 yards.
“We’ve had so many injuries, Luke has had to step up before his time as a sophomore but he has stepped right in,” Lanter said. “He’s playing good, he’s already a stud and he’s only going to get better.
“We’re always putting in new plays to get them the ball in certain parts of the field, just trying to make it look different. But you’ve got to know who your playmakers are, we’re always going to have plays for Reese and Reiley.”
Mercer finished the game with 148 yards of offense, all on the ground. Quarterback Kaelin Drakeford finished 0-for-6 through the air but had 16 runs for 26 yards. Running back Malachi Yulee led the team with 18 carries for 60 yards. Bryson Yeast had five runs for 47 yards.
The two teams will now prep for postseason: Boyle County hosts Floyd Central (5-4) on Nov. 2, while Mercer County (4-6) hosts Breckenridge County (4-5).
“It’s getting ready to start, playoffs are here,” coach Smith said. “Our record is 0-0 like everybody else, it’s single elimination. We’ve done everything so far for this time, this phase, the playoff part of the season. It starts next week. We’ve got to be ready to go.”
At Boyle County
Mercer County 2 0 0 0 — 2
Boyle County 0 21 21 0 — 42
Mercer County — Malachi Yulee tackles Landen Bartleson for a safety, 5:50
Boyle County — Reese Smith 28 yard pass from Reed Lanter (Jackson Smith kick), 11:22
Boyle County — Luke Sheperson 13 yard pass from Reed Lanter (Jackson Smith kick), 4:07
Boyle County — Luke Sheperson 26 yard pass from Reed Lanter (Jackson Smith kick), 1:15
Boyle County — Tanner Crawford 8 yard run (Jackson Smith kick), 10:52
Boyle County — Reese Smith 20 yard pass from Reed Lanter (Jackson Smith kick), 7:07
Boyle County — Tanner Crawford 3 yard run (Jackson Smith kick), 1:48
First downs 9 16
Rushes-Yds 49-148 26-139
Passing yds 0 304
Total yds 148 443
Comp-Att-Int 0-6-0 18-19-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yds 3-19 9-60
Total Plays 55 45
RUSHING — Mercer: Malachi Yulee 18-60, Kaelin Drakeford 16-26, Bryson Yeast 5-47, Jamason Sherrow 4-19, Bryce Walton 1-(-4). Boyle: Tanner Crawford 8-33, Landen Bartleson 5-11, Marquise Kinley 1-14, Reese Smith 2-(-1), Chris Duffy 2-18, Coleman Clark 1-9, Cash Logan 1-2, Jacob Graves 2-2, Cole Lanter 1-0, Cas Phillips 2-51, Gray Rahbany 1-0.
PASSING — Mercer: Kaelin Drakeford 0-6-0. Boyle: Reed Lanter 18-19-304.
RECEIVING — Boyle: Reiley Colwick 6-75, Reese Smith 5-114, Luke Sheperson 3-60, Cameron Yates 1-15, Landen Bartleson 1-23, Cash Logan 1-7, Chris Duffy 1-10.