Vaught's Views: Who is the state's best team? Try Boyle

September 10, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

It's not that Boyle County was overlooked during the preseason, but the Rebels certainly were not considered to be one of the state's best overall teams.

Trinity, with quarterback Brian Brohm, was the consensus pick as the state's best overall team. If not, then it probably had to be St. Xavier.

The Rebels were not even picked as the best team in Title Town by this sports staff.

Boyle had won four straight state championships, including the last two in Class AAA. Yet this was considered the year that Paducah Tilghman, Hopkinsville, Bowling Green, Highlands or Lexington Catholic might all be better than the Rebels.

Three weeks into the season it's clear not only that Boyle could easily win a fifth straight state championship, but that the Rebels might be the best team in Kentucky in any class.


Boyle made a convincing case for being No. 1 Friday when it manhandled Danville 45-26 in the Title Town showdown.

Remember this is the same Danville that beat Class AAAA Manual 22-7 to open the season. And Manual is the team that beat Trinity 37-36 Saturday. The same Manual team that could barely move the ball on Danville turned into an offensive juggernaut against Trinity and handed Trinity its third straight loss. That obviously shows that Boyle not only is better than Danville, but that it is also way better than Trinity.

What about Paducah Tilghman? Tilghman started the season with a 47-26 win over Henry Clay. That's the same Henry Clay team Boyle beat 46-7 one week later.

What about St. Xavier? Lexington Catholic took care of any claim St. X had to the top spot with a 19-14 win last week.

Highlands also has distinguished itself, beating Dixie Heights 35-7, Central 31-12 and Campbell County 35-7. If the win over Central doesn't impress you, consider that Central beat Male 12-10 last week.

Boyle's credentials remain the best

Still, Boyle's credentials remain the best. It has wins over Lafayette, which has beaten West Jessamine and Boyd County since being embarrassed by the Rebels. And Boyle's reported so-so play against Madison Central in a preseason scrimmage looks a lot better now that Madison Central is 3-0 with wins over Dunbar, Bryan Station and Tates Creek.

No team in the state has played better overall than Boyle, and no team in the state has a more impressive victory than the one the Rebels got over Danville Friday.

Coach Chuck Smith not only has rebuilt a team that lost 17 of 22 starters, but it might have turned it into an even better team. It's hard to imagine Boyle playing better than it did against Danville, but the Rebels always get better later in the season. If they do that this year, they will be right back at "Boyle County Day" the first Saturday in Louisville playing for another state crown.

Boyle's only problem could be that Class AAA easily looks to be the class of the state this year. Tilghman obviously is solid. Lexington Catholic has to be good to beat St. Xavier. Hopkinsville and Bowling Green are playing well. Then there is Mason County, which moved up from Class AA and has some terrific skilled players.

Highlands might be back in championship form, too. Of course, it will be easy to gauge how Boyle would fare against Highlands in a possible state title game because Highlands will play at Boyle Sept. 19 before hosting Danville the next week. Any opponent willing to schedule the Title Town heavyweights back-to-back weeks had to be expecting a big season.

Today, though, give credit where credit is due. Boyle not only has to be No. 1 in Class AAA, but should be No. 1 overall in Kentucky as well, based on what has happened the first three weeks of the season.

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