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Rebels overcome slow start, beat Belfry 41-24

BELFRY — Boyle County continues to run the gauntlet.

The Rebels traveled to Belfry and beat the Pirates 41-24 behind a stellar performance through the air and a opportunistic defensive effort.

It was the first home loss for Belfry in the playoffs since 2009.

Reed Lanter was 16-for-26 with 264 yards and five touchdowns for the Rebels, throwing four of those scores to Reese Smith.

Smith had himself a day, catching six passes for 138 yards. He also had one interception on defense.

Boyle’s defense allowed 300 yards on the ground but forced five fumbles on the night, recovering four.

Will McDaniel showed his nose for the football, recovering three of those four fumbles. Hayden Bottoms recovered the fourth.

Boyle’s offense was slow to start the game and Belfry took advantage early: The hosts led 7-0 after one quarter thanks to a 30-yard touchdown run from Isaac Dixon.

The Pirates would go up two scores after a 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Boyle’s defense would come up big on Belfry’s next drive, recovering a fumble at the Pirates’ 16 yard line.

And from there, it took just one play for Lanter to find Smith for the first Boyle touchdown of the game.

The two would connect again just before halftime to make the score 13-10 at the break.

In the third quarter, the two 3A juggernauts would trade haymakers.

But Boyle County’s stars came to play.

Just 16 seconds into the second half, Lanter hit Reiley Colwick on a slant, and Colwick took the pass 56 yards for a score to put the Rebels ahead 20-10.

The two teams would trade touchdowns in the next eight minutes. Brett Coleman scored for Belfry, then Lanter and Smith teamed up for a 59-yard score.

Belfry responded with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to make the score 27-24.

Lanter and Smith would team up for the fourth time of the game with 1:30 left in the third quarter on a 39-yard score to put Boyle ahead 34-24 entering the fourth quarter.

Boyle’s defense stayed strong while Belfry’s offense slowed in the fourth quarter.

The Rebels kept Belfry out of the end zone and Boyle’s offense was able to gain yards on the ground, draining the final 12 minutes.

Tanner Crawford would deal the final blow with a one-yard touchdown run with 7:15 left in the game to put it out of reach.

Crawford finished with 22 carries for 77 yards, while Lanter had two runs for a one yard loss.  No other player carried the ball for Boyle.

Colwick had five catches for 75 yards, Cameron Yates had three catches for 21 yards, Landen Bartleson added one catch for 22 yards for the Rebels.

Boyle County’s gauntlet continues next week, when the Rebels travel to Corbin in a state championship rematch. Boyle beat Corbin 40-21 at Kroger field last year.