Boyle brushes off Franklin to return to state finals

Published 11:14 am Monday, November 27, 2023


Contributing Writer

FRANKFORT – By the time Boyle County took the field Friday night at Franklin County, it had done most of the work required to get a shot at another state championship.

Email newsletter signup

The Rebels still had to take care of business in their Class 4A semifinal, and they did so with a 41-14 victory in which the outcome was never truly in doubt.

But the real work had been done over the course of the previous 11 months in which they had work to maintain their high standard of success, and the willingness of a talented team to put in that work left them confident they could earn a return trip to Kroger Field.

“I knew we were going to get to Kroger from the get-go, just the way we work in practice, the way we get after it,” Boyle wide receiver-defensive back Demauriah Brown said.

Running back-linebacker Avery Bodner said the Rebels’ zeal for doing the heavy lifting, so to speak, was evident in early-morning weightlifting sessions last winter, just as it had been in previous seasons.

“I knew from January 3rd we had a chance,” Bodner said. “When we started lifting weights, everybody was in there in the mornings, lifting and putting that work in. From January 3rd until now it’s been building up.”

All that buildup left the Rebels ready for the semifinal round, where they seldom let an opportunity to move on to the state finals slip away.

Boyle (14-0) extended its record in semifinal games to 14-3 by dispatching Franklin (13-1) at Benny Watkins Field to extend its state-leading winning streak to 19 games.

The Rebels scored on their first two series, led 20-0 in the second quarter and were already assured of victory before the Flyers scored their first offensive touchdown.

“Our guys are focused as far as what they want,” Boyle coach Justin Haddix said. “We’ve got a mature group that’s been in big games, and we showed that tonight.”

The Rebels will play for their fourth consecutive state title this Friday when they face Covington Catholic in the Class 4A championship in Lexington. CovCath (14-0) advanced to the final with a 22-14 win over Paducah Tilghman. A win would be Boyle’s fourth consecutive state title and 12th overall.

Friday’s game lacked the hype and energy level of Boyle’s previous game, when some 5,500 fans crammed into Rebel Stadium to see the Rebels’ quarterfinal win over Corbin.

There was a large and loud crowd at Benny Watkins Field, but the stands weren’t quite full on a night when temperatures fell into the 30s and a stiff breeze blew from the north.

“We knew that there wasn’t going to be as big a crowd, but we had to come out and make our own energy and that’s what we did,” Bodner said.

Bodner scored three touchdowns, Montavin Quisenberry scored two and Brown scored one for Boyle, which relied primarily on the run as it rolled up 501 yards.

The Rebels ran for 383 yards, led by Bodner with 151 on 17 carries, Quisenberry with 95 on 13 carries and Sage Dawson with 84 yards on six carries.

“The running game’s been great,” Bodner said. “It’s a big part of the game when it gets cold, and it gives us a lot of confidence going into the next game knowing we can run the ball.”

Dawson completed six of 11 passes for 118 yards, and Haddix noted the Rebels would have had more passing yards had some potential big plays not been wiped out by penalties and drops.

Dawson set the tone on the first play from scrimmage with a 45-yard run, and Boyle ran the ball five times to score less than two minutes into the game.

The Rebels drove 78 yards to score on their next series, taking a 13-0 lead after 6½ minutes.

An interception and a 30-yard return by Brown set up a second-quarter scoring drive that gave Boyle a 20-0 lead with 5:00 left in the first half.

Franklin’s Delano Collins scored on a pick-six late in the half, but the Flyers were stopped on downs three times – twice inside the Boyle 25-yard line – and they trailed 34-7 before their offense got into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter.

The Flyers gained 206 yards thanks mostly to the work of quarterback Duri Trahan, who went 12 for 32 for 166 yards and had 23 of their 40 rushing yards.

“We had to lock on our defenders. Let our edge rushers get to the QB and DBs lock on their receivers. That’s what we worked on all (week in) practice,” Brown said.

Scoring summary

Boyle County 13 7 7 14 – 41

Franklin County 0 7 0 7 – 14

First Quarter

Boyle – Montavin Quisenberry 3 run (Andrew Carr kick), 10:18.

Boyle – Avery Bodner 1 run (kick failed), 5:28.

Second Quarter

Boyle – Bodner 3 run (Carr kick), 5:00.

Franklin – Delano Collins 34 interception return (Easton Powell kick), :34.

Third Quarter

Boyle – Quisenberry 4 run (Carr kick), 4:40.

Fourth Quarter

Boyle – Demauriah Brown 8 run (Carr kick), 11:16.

Franklin – Jacob Coen Taylor 13 pass from Duri Trahan (Powell kick), 6:39.

Boyle – Bodner 49 run (Carr kick), 5:13.