"We were expecting a close game," Cloud said.
So was Danville, which ended Boyle's 47-game win streak last year with a 20-10 victory. The Ads looked like they might even be able to make it two wins in a row over the Rebels when Kelvin Turner broke free for an 79-yard scoring run on Danville's second play.
That's when Boyle not only showed its clout to Danville, but also made it clear that it may just be the class of Class AAA once again. Quarterback Brandon Smith directed a near-perfect nine-play, 74-yard scoring drive to answer Danville's score. A deflected pass that landed in Seth Tamme's hands to keep the drive alive may have been the only break the Rebels needed to seize control of the game.
Starting period two, the Rebels scored on six straight possessions to turn a 7-6 lead into a 45-20 advantage. They had scoring drives of 60, 62, 52 and 65 yards. Two other drives were much shorter thanks to a blocked punt and perfectly executed onside kick that Danville apparently had no idea was coming.
"I actually thought it would be a close game," Boyle senior linebacker-offensive tackle Ian Young said. "I thought it would be a 14-7, maybe 17-14 game. I thought it would be real low-scoring.
"We could have done better on defense, but I really don't know how much better because Danville is a great team. Fortunately, we just had a better offense."
Boyle did because it didn't depend on big plays. Smith found every opening - and there were plenty - in Danville's secondary. Normally he had little or no pressure when he went to throw, another reason he was 15-for-25 for 238 yards and three scores. He also ran for two touchdowns in the offensive domination.
Danville's offense was all or nothing. Quarterback Ronnie Hawkins threw a 42-yard scoring toss to Phillip Dunn. A 42-yard run by Charles Penix set up another score. Turner's 59-yard run inside the final minute accounted for the final score That means out of Danville's 357 total yards, 222 came on four plays.
Boyle won with more consistent play. The Rebels played better assignment football on both offense and defense. Their team concept and play was superior to Danville's, which was a bit of a surprise considering it was Danville that had the edge in experience this year.
"Our coaches told our younger players that this was the biggest game they had ever played in and they needed to prepare for that," Young said. "They told them if they would follow the seniors, they would not go wrong. Tonight they all did what they were supposed to do. Our younger guys played great."
So did the older guys. Cloud had five catches for 53 yards and two scores. Young had quarterback sacks on two consecutive Danville plays in the fourth quarter and his move into the offensive line this year - after he thought he might get to play fullback - may have solidified Boyle's chances to win an unprecedented fifth straight state title.
Smith was the star of the game. He's the same quarterback who had to shoulder much of the blame for Boyle's loss to Danville last year and subsequent loss to West Jessamine. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he regrouped and led the Rebels to a state crown.
He's become an immensely improved player since his middle school days. Part of the credit probably goes to his father, Boyle coach Chuck Smith. However, Brandon Smith has added weight and strength, improved his footwork and become a highly efficient passer. Better yet, he's become a leader and clutch performer.
If the Ads are smart, they'll learn from this loss like Boyle did last year when it came back to win the state title. Danville has to be better focused, eliminate mistakes and understand the value of executing assignments on every play.
But until next year's game, the Rebels are the champions of Title Town thanks to Friday's dominating performance.
"I love playing Danville," Young said. "It's bigger than a state championship game. You get a big trophy and ring for winning state, but this game is 10 times more fun."
Especially when you win the way Boyle did Friday.