Leffews enjoy big victory

September 02, 2003|MARTY WARREN

LEXINGTON - No one enjoys beating Kentucky more than brothers Travis and Bobby Leffew of Boyle County.

Travis Leffew virtually guaranteed that his Louisville Cardinals would defeat the Wildcats Sunday night and avenge Kentucky's surprising win over his team a year earlier at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

In the 2002 win, the UK's defensive front easily worked its way into the Cardinals' backfield, harassing quarterback Dave Ragone on nearly every snap. Leffew, a redshirt sophomore offensive tackle, and the rest of his offensive linemen were determined not to allow new quarterback Stefan LeFors to have to scramble for his life like Ragone did last year.

"We had the mentality that we were going to come out physical and not allow what happened to us last year to happen this year," Travis Leffew said after the 40-24 win. "The coaches had a great game plan for us and we felt like we knew what Kentucky was going to throw at us."


Last year Leffew had to line up against Dewayne Robertson, the number four pick in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Jets, and was often overmatched in his first varsity start. With a year under his belt, Leffew said he had the confidence coming into the game that he didn't have last year.

"We decided that what happened last year wasn't going to happen to us this year," Leffew said.

Don't think for one minute that LeFors didn't notice. He watched from the sideline last year as Kentucky's defensive front consistently harassed Ragone into either forcing the ball into coverage or having to run for his life.

"The O-line did a fantastic job," the Cardinals' quarterback said. "We just ran the ball up and down the field and when I went back to pass, I was hardly touched all night. We controlled the line of scrimmage."

Louisville defensive lineman Bobby Leffew, Travis' older brother, noticed the improved play of the Cardinals' offensive line.

"Last year we couldn't protect Dave (Ragone) against Kentucky," Bobby Leffew, who had two tackles for losses, said. "Our offensive line is huge this year and they played tonight the way they are capable of playing. They are improving every day, and there is no telling how good this bunch can be as the year goes on."

As well as Kentucky played last year defensively, it was the Louisville defense that returned the favor this year. The Cardinals' defense harassed Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen throughout the game and forced him to scramble on nearly every play.

"Our defense came out and blended together into a unit tonight," Bobby Leffew said. "That's what we missed last year."

As well as the Cardinals played in the first half, Kentucky came back to make it a game in the third quarter. Lorenzen tossed a pair of touchdown passes to trim Louisville's lead to 26-24, but Louisville senior cornerback Josh Minkins intercepted Lorenzen's pass near the goal line in the fourth quarter to end UK's comeback hopes.

"The dogfight began in the third quarter when they cut into our lead," Bobby Leffew said. "This time we were able to shut them down, though, and we didn't always do that last year."

The win was huge for the Leffews, who love to beat Kentucky every chance they get.

"Danville is a University of Kentucky town," Bobby Leffew said. "Then there were people talking and things were put into the newspaper (in Herb Brock's column) that never should have been said. I guess we get the bragging rights for a year. Maybe this will quiet a few people down on what they say about Louisville."

Travis Leffew agreed.

"It killed me a lot to get beat last year," he said. "Winning tonight is just like winning the state championship (for Boyle County) over again. We didn't want to lose to Kentucky two years in a row."

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