Rebels rout LexCath, 47-13; Advance in playoffs to face Scott

Published 6:11 am Monday, November 15, 2021

It doesn’t get much better for Boyle County than a running-clock win over Lexington Catholic. Or does it?

Boyle obliterated its longtime rival Friday night to make quick work of a second-round playoff matchup between the two top-rated teams in Class 4A.

By every measure, statistical and otherwise, the Rebels dominated the rematch of a game five weeks earlier that had been decided by a single score.

And if Justin Haddix is right, there’s more where that came from.

The Boyle coach was plenty pleased with the way his team played in its 47-13 victory at Rebel Stadium, but he said he’s pretty sure the Rebels can play even better.

“We’ve got a lot of room to grow still,” Haddix said. “We haven’t played our best in my opinion. We’ve still got a lot of room to grow, and we’re going to continue to work at that each week.”

That could be bad news for the remaining teams in the 4A playoff pool, beginning with Scott, the team the Rebels will host this Friday in a regional championship game.

Boyle (11-1) scored twice in just over three minutes at the outset of the game that decided the District 4A-5 championship, then spent the rest of the first half imposing its will on LexCath (9-3), the team ranked right behind the Rebels at the top of the KHSAA’s Ratings Percentage Index.

The Rebels hung 27 points in the second quarter to take a 41-0 halftime lead and trigger the mercy rule for the seventh time this season and the fifth time in its current nine-game winning streak against the Knights.

It was a far cry from the game these two teams played on the same turf Oct. 8, when Boyle reached the end zone only once and fought off LexCath for a 16-10 win.

“We didn’t want to come out flat like last time,” Boyle quarterback-linebacker Jagger Gillis said. “We were going to set a statement — set a statement. We had a great week of preparation, and it all worked out in the end.”

Boyle won its sixth consecutive district championship and ended LexCath’s season for the third straight year, and the Rebels did so by controlling virtually every aspect of the game.

“It was a total team win for us. We got after them early and stayed on them,” Haddix said.

A Boyle offense that scored only one touchdown in its first meeting with LexCath reached the end zone on seven of its eight possessions in the first half Friday. (A fumble kept them from going 8 for 8.)

The Rebels averaged 10.9 yards per play in a first half in which they rolled up 392 yards and 15 first downs

And their defense was just as dominant. LexCath had only 11 offensive yards and two first downs at halftime, averaging 0.5 yards per play.

The Rebels’ success was due in large part to their ability to control the line of scrimmage.

“The line of scrimmage is where you win these games here,” Haddix said. “O-line and D-line is what makes it happen this time of year.”

On one side of the ball, Boyle rushed for 248 yards in the first half and 258 overall. The Rebels were led by Avery Bodner, who had 13 carries for 156 yards, and he said he benefited from some big holes opened up by offensive linemen.

“I’ve got to give credit to my O-linemen. They opened up big holes. … It looked like you could drive a Mack truck between them,” he said. “We worked on our run game pretty strong all week, and we just came out here and did what we did.”

Austin Gorley, one of Boyle’s offensive linemen, said that unit is getting better each week.

“We’ve got good players, we’ve got good coaches, and we just work well together,” Gorley said.

On the other side of the ball, Boyle held a LexCath offense that was averaging 380 yards per game to 103 yards and kept the Knights off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter.

The Rebels effectively eliminated LexCath’s passing threat by coming after quarterback Jack Gohmann, forcing him to make errant throws and keeping him from scrambling to extend plays. Gohmann was just 2 for 12 for 15 yards, and he was sacked five times.

“Last year when we played them in the playoffs, he scrambled all over us in the second half, so our job was just keep him in the pocket and let our rush do the work, and they did a great job tonight,” Gillis said.

It didn’t take long for the Rebels to begin imposing their will. Boyle scored on the second play from scrimmage when Sage Dawson got behind the defense and caught a long pass from Gillis for a 79-yard touchdown.

The Boyle defense then backed LexCath to its own 8-yard line with a sack for a 13-yard loss. The Rebels took over at the Knights’ 37 after a punt into a stiff wind and scored two plays later on a 23-yard run by Bodner.

LexCath managed only one first down on its first five possessions, all of which ended with punts.

Boyle turned two long drives into second-quarter scores, driving 72 yards in eight plays for a 2-yard touchdown run by Gillis, then covering 84 yards in eight plays for a 20-yard TD run by Cole Lanter.

Gillis scored twice more before halftime on runs of 9 and 4 yards — he had 51 rushing yards on eight carries — and Dalton Stone had a 4-yard TD run in the third quarter to give Boyle a 47-0 lead.

Pushing forward: One of Boyle’s offensive linemen went the extra mile for an extra 5 yards on one of Gorley’s second-quarter rushing attempts.

Gorley came from behind Bodner to keep him on his feet as LexCath’s Chris Kern attempted a tackle, and he kept his arms around the running back as the two surged forward to turn what would have been a 5-yard gain into 10 yards.

“I knew it was one of my guys,” Bodner said. “He picked me up off the ground and he just took me.”

Gorley said he was just helping Bodner out of a tight spot.

“He got stuck, and my running back, he’s not going to get negative yards, so I just grabbed him by the back plate and I just kept on going,” Gorley said. “We hit the weight room, and we drive that sled every day (in practice), so I put it to good use.”

So which is more difficult – pushing the sled or pushing the 170-pound Bodner?

“I think it was a little bit easier pushing Avery, but I think that meant a little bit more, too,” Gorley said.

Lanter’s 20-yard touchdown run on the next play made it 27-0 midway through the second period, and Bodner said he believed that effectively finished the Knights.

“I think that really put a hurting on them,” Bodner said.

No limits: Haddix said while he didn’t necessarily expect a Boyle blowout, he wasn’t surprised that the game turned out as it did.

“I don’t put nothing past our guys and what they can do,” he said. “We don’t put limits on them, and they don’t put limits on themselves. We’re going to come out and play our best and play to our level, it doesn’t matter who we play against, and we’ll let it play how it goes.”

Extra points: Gillis passed his way past the 2,000-yard mark for the second straight season. He threw for 2,037 yards in 2020, and he has 2,109 yards this season after going 6 for 8 for 144 yards Friday. … Cole Sims had three sacks and Daulton Peetz had two for the Rebels, who had a total of eight tackles for loss.

The average score of Boyle’s nine consecutive wins over LexCath is 46-16. … The Rebels now lead the series 21-13 overall and 9-5 in postseason games.

Playoff week three: Scott will return to Rebel Stadium for a regional championship game for the second time in three seasons.

The Eagles advanced with a 43-7 victory over Harrison County in the District 4A-6 final in which quarterback Gus Howlett threw four touchdown passes, three of them to Nolan Hunter.

Scott (8-4) passed for 162 yards and rushed for 124 against Harrison, and those numbers are indicative of their season averages of 135 passing yards and 124 rushing yards per game.

Howlett, a senior and a three-year starter, has completed 53 percent of his passes for 1,616 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and he leads the Eagles in rushing with 622 yards and nine TDs. As a defensive back, he has returned two interceptions for TDs, including a 65-yard pick-six against Harrison.

Scott was the No. 3 seed in its district after finishing in a three-way tie for first place with Holmes and Rowan County, and it avenged a 40-0 loss to Holmes in the regular-season with a 35-8 win in the first round of the playoffs.

The Eagles’ resume includes only one win against a team that is still alive in the postseason, a 31-13 victory over Class 2A Walton-Verona in its season opener. They were No. 16 in the final Class 4A RPI.

This will be Boyle’s second postseason meeting with Scott in three seasons. The Rebels defeated the Eagles 55-0 in a 2019 regional final.

Of the other six teams still alive in Class 4A, three would be possible opponents for Boyle in the semifinal round Nov. 26. If the Rebels defeat Scott, they would play Allen County-Scottsville (No. 15 in the RPI) if Allen defeats Franklin County; if both Boyle and Franklin win, the Rebels would play the winner of the game between Spencer County (No. 8) and Logan County (No. 7).

Scoring summary
Lexington Catholic   0  0  0  13 — 13
Boyle County           14  27  6  0 — 47

First Quarter
Boyle — Sage Dawson 79 pass from Jagger Gillis (Jackson Smith kick), 11:04.
Boyle — Avery Bodner 23 run (Smith kick), 8:57.
Second Quarter
Boyle — Jagger Gills 2 (Smith kick), 11:57.
Boyle — Cole Lanter 20 run (kick blocked), 6:09.
Boyle — Gillis 9 run (Smith kick), 2:04.
Boyle — Gillis 4 run (Smith kick), :03.
Third Quarter
Boyle — Dalton Stone 4 run (pass failed), 5:38.
Fourth Quarter
LexCath — Blake Busson 4 run (pass failed), 10:52.
LexCath — Busson 7 run (Max DeGraff kick), 5:06.