Lafayette is the first game in a rugged non-district lineup for Boyle. The Rebels will also play Henry Clay, Danville, Nelson County and Highlands before starting Class AAA district competition.
"Our players want that kind of challenge. We are playing the caliber of teams that we will face in the playoffs," Smith said.
Lafayette was 6-4 last season
Lafayette had its first winning season - 6-4 - since 1986 last year and returns 16 seniors off that team. One of those seniors is 6-4, 235-pound defensive end Bilal El-Amin, who has scholarship offers from several Division I schools including Kentucky, Louisville and Marshall.
"He's impressive," Smith said. "He really runs well and you can see where he will be a rush end in college and have a chance to be an impact player. He's very strong, and they have a couple of more good linemen to go with him. From what I have seen, they are very impressive on defense because of their athleticism and speed."
Smith said El-Amin should be a good matchup for senior Ian Young, who will be making his first start at offensive tackle Friday.
"They will flip-flop El-Amin so he's not always on the same side as where Ian will be," Smith said. "When they are matched up, it should be fun to watch because we think Ian is really going to have a good year, too."
Defensive back Spencer Fain and offensive lineman Dusty Bailey are also highly-touted Lafayette players going into the season. Fain also plays several positions on offense.
"They are very athletic in a lot of different spots," Smith said. "Most of their players go both ways, but they have some good talent. They have speed on offense that can make big plays and their skilled people are very good. They've got a lot of weapons on offense that concern me."
Boyle has lot of new skilled players
Boyle is basically rebuilding its offense behind junior quarterback Brandon Smith. He guided the Rebels to a 13-2 mark and Class AAA title in 2002, but has an almost new cast of skilled players this season.
Sophomores Tyler Morris and Seth Tamme, junior transfer Greg Peck and junior Chris Hellyer will be the top wide receivers with seniors Brad Cloud and Ian Loughry along with junior Evan Teague manning the inside position.
Peck is one of the team's fastest players, but has been slowed by an ankle injury. Cloud started at tight end last year and is the only receiver with substantial experience.
However, Chuck Smith likes what he has seen from Teague.
"Evan could be a big-play guy for us. He's made big plays in both of our scrimmages," the Boyle coach said. "He has great hands. He just needs to learn how to play hard all the time and not just when the ball is coming his way."
Juniors Quinn Givhan and Danny Commarford will share time at running back.
"They mainly played JV (junior varsity) last year, but they give us a good combination," Smith said. "They each do different things and give us some different looks to use."
Boyle's defense also will mainly have new starters. Cloud is shifting from safety where he has played the past two years to outside linebacker. Sophomore Andrew Bertram will join Young, a returning starter, at inside linebacker with Commarford also slated for regular duty.
Smith is also going to use Brandon Smith at outside linebacker.
"He (Brandon Smith) didn't play any defense last year, but we've got to put our best athletes on the field," Smith said.
Tickets are $8
General admission tickets are $8 and will be available at the stadium Friday night. Reserve seats cost $12 and include admission to the Brown Williamson Room at the stadium.
The first game Friday will match Trimble County and Jeffersontown at 3 p.m. with Pleasure Ridge Park taking on Eastern at 5:30. Teams will warm up on the University of Louisville practice fields and then be given 10 minutes on the main stadium field before kickoff.