Douglass the latest big game for Boyle

Published 1:57 pm Thursday, October 27, 2022


Contributing writer

It’s one more chance for Boyle County to prepare for the playoffs — against one heck of a football team.

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On paper, Frederick Douglass appears to be the best in a series of good teams the Rebels are measuring themselves against, and there will be much at stake for Boyle in its regular-season finale Friday at Rebel Stadium.

“I think it’s going to be a great test for us to see where we’re at,” Boyle coach Justin Haddix said. “We’re going to see one of the better teams in the state of Kentucky.”

Douglass is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A and one of only 10 undefeated teams in Kentucky, and it’s exactly the kind of team Haddix wants on Boyle’s schedule.

“Those are the ones you’re really fired up for,” he said. “Our kids are going to be fired up, and the same for them.”

This is perhaps the fourth time this season that Boyle (8-1) will play in one of the best games in the state in a given week, and he said that’s an attraction as well.

“That definitely goes into scheduling,” Haddix said. “Those are the games coaches like to coach in and players like to play in.”

Douglass (9-0) is a force on both sides of the ball. The Broncos are No. 1 in the state in points per game (53.4) and No. 2 in points allowed (5.2).

Douglass’ defense has shut out three of its last four opponents, allows only 93 yards per game and has given up more than one touchdown only once in eight contested games. (One win was by forfeit.)

“They returned all three of their defensive linemen and their whole secondary. They had to replace some linebackers, but the guys they put in there are really good, too,” Haddix said. “They’re really good up front, they can stop the run, and they’ve got great athletes in the secondary.”

Three Douglass defenders are ranked among the top 20 class of 2023 recruits in Kentucky by defensive lineman Jamarrion Harkless (No. 8), safety Ty Bryant (No. 11) and cornerback T.J. Horton (No. 13).

Bryant has committed to Kentucky; Harkless and Horton are among 10 other Broncos with Division I offers, according to the team’s website.

Horton is also Douglass’ leading rusher with 345 yards and 11 touchdowns. Quarterback Cole Carpenter has thrown for 1,123 yards and 13 TDs, while DuRi Trahan, who also plays regularly, has 351 yards and four TDs.

The Broncos have lost only once — in the 5A final — since Boyle dealt them a 34-7 defeat in this slot a year ago.

“That sparked them to make it to the state championship … and I think it gave us some confidence. It showed us that we can play with anybody,” Haddix said.

Most predicted Douglass would beat Boyle last season, and that’s probably going to be the case again.

“Everybody counted us out, and they’re going to count us out this year, and that’s fine,” Haddix said.

Boyle ranks 11th statewide and second in Class 4A in scoring (41.8) and 22nd statewide and fourth in 4A in scoring defense (12.6).

Sandwiched between district games and elimination games, Friday’s game will have an impact on Boyle in the Class 4A playoffs.

The Rebels passed Lexington Catholic last week to move up to No. 2 in the KHSAA RPI standings, which will be finalized this week and will determine host sites for third- and fourth-round playoff games.

Boyle and LexCath are playing the Nos. 1- and 2-rated teams in Class 5A, Douglass and Scott County, this week. If the Rebels remain at No. 2 or higher, they would be assured of home games in the third and fourth rounds. (A second-round game would almost certainly be on the road under the cross-district format restored this season.)

“We’ve just got to play this game, and everything will sort itself out,” Haddix said.