Winless Warriors concern Smith

October 02, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

What might look like a mismatch on paper doesn't appear that way to Boyle County coach Chuck Smith.

His undefeated Rebels (5-0) are ranked No. 1 in Class AAA going into Friday's district game in Somerset against winless Pulaski Southwestern (0-5).

"But they have played a very difficult schedule," said Smith. "They are not a bad team. They are just young and they've made some mistakes, like fumbles, that have really hurt them at crucial times."

Southwestern has been outscored 158-18 in losses to Bowling Green, East Jessamine, Bell County and Rockcastle County. Southwestern had a season-high 22 points in an 11-point loss to Somerset.


That's the same Somerset team that lost 63-6 to Danville one week after the Rebels beat Danville 45-26.

"Talent-wise, they are not bad," Smith said. "They are not huge, but they've got decent size and good speed. They rely on the option and their quarterback does a good job running the football.

"Defensively, they will give you various looks. They go hard to the ball and play an aggressive style. But they've also made some key defensive mistakes that have hurt them."

Boyle battling injuries

Injuries have hurt the Rebels and will again in Friday's district opener as Boyle starts its bid for a fifth straight state championship.

Sophomore receiver-cornerback Seth Tamme may miss his second straight game because of a leg injury. Senior lineman Patrick Wilson probably won't play because of a back problem and center Jeremy Enlow continues to be plagued by a broken hand that has kept him from playing any in Boyle's defensive front.

"We went into the season without a lot of depth and we just have to have some other people step up," Smith said.

Junior Quinn Givhan took Tamme's defensive spot against Highlands. Smith expects him to play far better Friday than he did before when he had only a few days of practice as a defensive starter. The Rebels had an open date last week and that gave Givhan more time to practice.

"He'll learn from his mistakes and be better," Smith said. "We will probably play him more at running back this week, too. We were a little worried about him being nervous over going both ways for the first time against Highlands and wanted to relieve some of the pressure on him. But he's talented enough to handle going both ways."

Jacob Arnold will replace Wilson on offense if he can't play and Brad Whitehouse will start on defense. Whitehouse normally plays as part of Boyle's defensive rotation, but Smith says the Rebels now lack a proven backup.

One area that has not been a problem for Boyle this year has been the kicking game. The Rebels came into the season without a proven kicker but Brandon Smith (punts), Adam Dickinson (extra points and field goals) and Lee Hoagland (kickoffs) have all performed well.

"Lee and Adam really work hard. They did not want to be the weak spot on the team and they spent a lot of time kicking on their own without any coaches around," the Boyle coach said. "They have been a pleasant surprise, and Brandon has not done a bad job punting. We're fortunate they've all come through the way they have."

Rebels averaging 36 points a game

Boyle's offense has been productive, too. The Rebels are averaging 36 points and 370 yards per game. Brandon Smith has completed 53 of 105 passes for 908 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 286 yards and six scores.

Leading receiver Brad Cloud has 20 catches for 385 yards and five touchdowns. Givhan and Danny Commarford have combined for 465 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

Still, Chuck Smith insists his team has a lot of work to do before the playoffs start in November.

"I really liked the character and determination we showed against Highlands. We answered every challenge," the Boyle coach said. "But we can play better. We are still a team without a lot of game experience. We're not rookies, but we're not proven veterans yet.

"The players are starting to see what working together means and how everyone has to take care of his responsibility. We have some tough games ahead of us starting with the one Friday. We can't relax."

Larry Vaught can be reached at

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