Boyle blanks LexCath, 40-0
By MIKE MARSEE
LEXINGTON — This was not the most memorable game between these two rivals, yet it was not without significance.
Boyle County has dominated Lexington Catholic over the past four seasons, but one thing was different Friday night. For the first time in a rivalry that has become one of the best in central Kentucky over the past 24 years, there was a zero on the scoreboard at the end of the night.
The Rebels’ 40-0 victory at Joseph K. Ford Stadium was the first shutout for either team in 31 games between these perennial powerhouses. In a series that has seen both low-scoring games and blowouts, this was the first time that one team failed to score.
Boyle (4-0, 1-0 District 4A-5) kept Lexington Catholic (1-2, 0-1) off the board by making big plays and small ones throughout the night. There were turnovers at opportune times, a handful of pass breakups, and crucial stops on third- and fourth-down plays.
“We just came out with great intensity,” said linebacker Dalton Stone, who had one of Boyle’s three interceptions. “We talked about making them one-dimensional, trying to stop the run, and I think we stopped two dimensions. We stopped the pass, we stopped the run.”
LexCath averaged 329 yards in its first two games, but the Knights were held to less than half that many on Friday, when they passed for 98 yards and threw for 57 in their sixth consecutive loss to the Rebels.
“We say it all the time, the defense has got to be the constant,” Boyle coach Justin Haddix said. “Offensively you’re going to have some off nights … but our defense played well. (They) had a great game plan and executed it.”
Boyle had intercepted three passes in its first three games and got three more picks Friday — all in the red zone.
“I think our secondary, this is the best game we’ve played all season,” Stone said.
Cash Logan snuffed out LexCath’s first scoring threat on its first series when he picked off a pass at the Boyle 2-yard line after the Knights had driven to the 14. He did it again later in the first period, this time in the end zone after the Knights got to the 10.
“Every DB in our secondary has been ready because we know they like to pass the ball a lot,” Logan said. “I didn’t do nothing special, just playing my keys, and I ended up getting those two picks to help us out.”
LexCath might have scored before Logan’s second interception, but Logan ran down the Knights’ J.D. Woodall at the 16-yard line after he returned a kickoff 83 yards.
The Knights were knocking at the door again late in the first half as they tried to cut into a 19-0 deficit. Facing fourth-and-9 at the Boyle 11, LexCath quarterback Jack Gohmann threw a pass under pressure that was picked off by Stone at the 10-yard line.
Stone raced to the opposite end zone for an apparent pick-six, but the touchdown was nullified by a penalty and he was credited with a 40-yard return.
Jagger Gillis and Cole Lanter each had two pass breakups for Boyle, and Coleman Clark had two sacks and a team-high 8 1/2 tackles.
LexCath was just 1 for 13 on third-down conversions and 1 for 5 on fourth downs, and the Knights had only four first downs all night.
“As soon as our defense needed to make a stop, we made a stop tonight,” Logan said.
Running Rebels: Boyle had more yards on the ground than through the air for the first time this season. The Rebels rushed for 222 yards — their previous high was 159 — and passed for 112.
They ran the ball on 47 of their 71 offensive plays behind an offensive line that controlled the line of scrimmage.
“It’s always just leg-drive off the ball and try to get them moving so we can get our run game going, and then hit them over the top with the pass,” left guard Zach Mason said.
The Rebels’ longest carry was for 18 yards, but they got the yards they needed time after time.
“You’ve got to be able to run the football, you’ve got to be physical, and I felt like we were physical up front. That’s what you got to have,” Haddix said.
Mason said the Rebels were the more physical team right from the start.
“The O-line the entire game, we had a huge surge off the ball,” he said. “We were moving them back 3 to 5 yards every time. That’s all we really want so that we can get our run game going.”
Running back Will McDaniel and quarterback Gillis both had season highs in rushing yards for the Rebels. McDaniel ran 24 times for 119 yards and a touchdown, and Gillis had 15 carries for 66 yards and three TDs.
“Coach (Travis) Leffew does a great job with the offensive line. They’ve really bought in, and our backs have made some big time plays. Then you get a running quarterback in there, too, and there’s a lot of things that you have to defend. It makes it tough.”
Extra points: Boyle leads the series with LexCath 18-13, and the Rebels are 12-9 in regular-season games. Their six straight wins since 2017 have come by a combined score of 303-81. … LexCath was shut out for the first time since 2015, when Belfry beat the Knights 43-0 in the Class 3A championship. … Gillis was 12 for 23 for 112 passing yards. He connected with Cole Lanter for a 7-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter after he had run for touchdowns of 2, 3 and 1 yards. … Lanter led Boyle in receiving with six catches for 45 yards. … Stone scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard run in the third quarter. … Jackson Smith punted twice, and his first attempt easily cleared two LexCath backs and went for 65 yards to pin the Knights at their own 6-yard line. … The Rebels played before the smallest crowd they have seen this season in the smallest facility in which they have played.
Game five: Gills remembers well what happened in Boyle’s two wins over Anderson County last season. And if he doesn’t, his teammates will probably be quick to remind him in the coming days as Boyle prepares to face Anderson this Friday.
Gillis was Anderson’s quarterback last year before transferring to Boyle for his senior season, and he didn’t fare well either in the Rebels’ 52-7 win during the regular season or its 64-14 win in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
He said it has been fun joking with his new teammates — the same ones who were trying to tee off on him last year — about those games.
“We still talk about it and joke about it,” Gillis said. “But it’s great to play against them and then come over here and be teammates and friends with them.”
In two games against Boyle, Gillis completed nine of 24 passes for 84 yards with one interception and one touchdown, and he netted minus-8 yards on 20 rushing attempts. He was sacked five times in the postseason loss.
He said he has enjoyed playing with the Rebels far more than playing against them.
“It’s a little different … but it’s been great, having coach Haddix there and a bunch of great athletes and teammates around me,” he said. “They’re a better group of guys than they are players, and I love it.
“When you’re in a great program, you just have fun, and you keep working hard because you know what you can achieve down the road.”
Haddix said he’s glad to have Gillis on his side.
“We’re glad to have Jagger, and Jagger’s done a great job buying into our team,” he said.
The Boyle coach said he knows Friday’s game will be different for his quarterback, but he doesn’t think it will be a distraction.
“It’ll obviously mean a little bit, playing against his old buddies. I’m sure he’s got friends there,” Haddix said. “But we’re playing between the white lines, and the rest of that stuff’s got to be out the window.”
Anderson is 0-5 in its first season under coach Mark Palmer, who coached in Virginia for 32 years before coming to Lawrenceburg. The Bearcats lost to Bourbon County 41-21 in their district opener Friday.
The rebuilding Bearcats have become a running team, getting 87 percent of their yardage on the ground through their first four games and averaging 178 rushing yards per game. Leading rusher Isaiah Fitzpatrick had 373 yards and five touchdowns entering the Bourbon game.
Anderson’s defense has allowed 50 points or more in three of its five losses — to Franklin County, Lincoln County and Collins.
This will be Boyle’s first home game since its season opener Sept. 11. The Rebels play three of their final four games at home.
Boyle County 6 13 14 7 — 40
Lex. Catholic 0 0 0 0 — 0
Boyle — Jagger Gillis 2 run (pass failed), 2:19.
Boyle — Will McDaniel 5 run (Jackson Smith kick), 9:07.
Boyle — Gillis 3 run (pass failed), 5:13.
Boyle — Gillis 1 run (Smith kick), 7:45.
Boyle — Dalton Stone 2 run (Smith kick), 1:05.
Boyle — Cole Lanter 7 pass from Gillis (Smith kick), 9:34.