Boyle looking for emotion vs. Pulaski

October 09, 2003|JILL ERWIN


Boyle County returns to the same city where it won last week, but coach Chuck Smith said his team better come in with a different mindset.

Unbeaten Boyle, the top-ranked team in Class AAA in the Associated Press poll, takes on No. 8 Pulaski County (6-0, 1-0 Class AAA District 4) Friday night in a district matchup in Somerset, one week after playing across town at Pulaski Southwestern in a game in which Smith said the Rebels played flat. Smith said they won't have that luxury against the Maroons.

"This is a legitimate team we're playing this week. We won't be able to play with a lack of emotion and still win," Smith said.


"If you're playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs, this game is important because Pulaski County is one of the top teams not only in the district, but also in the region. It's an important game for us to win."

To do it, Boyle has to stop senior quarterback Cole Draughn. Draughn is Mr. Everything for Pulaski and set a school record two weeks ago by rushing for 359 yards and six touchdowns against Breathitt County.

Draughn has over 1,000 yards rushing and passing this year after topping 1,000 in each category last year. Smith said Draughn is hardly the Maroons' only weapon, but he is their best.

"He is a man among boys," Smith said. "Nobody can tackle him. His arm is strong, he can throw the ball well and he's the total package, which makes him even more difficult to defend.

"They're not a one-man show, but Draughn is definitely the backbone of their team."

Boyle's defense has been a pretty tough opponent for most teams, as the Rebels are allowing only 12 points a game. Brad Cloud is the team's leading tackler with 53 tackles (seven for loss), while Andrew Bertram has 40 and Evan Teague 39.

Draughn has plenty of options available to him as the Maroons returned several key players from last year's team. Senior running back Jonathan Denhamis the top man in the backfield and junior John Allen can play in the backfield or at wide receiver.

Other strong receivers include juniors Brett Faulkner and junior Tyler Sexton.

It is that versatility that has allowed Pulaski to score a district-high 277 points.

"We've watched film, and we can't find them punting but two or three times in two games," Smith said. "No one has slowed their offense down, much less stopped it."

Boyle didn't have much trouble slowing down Pulaski's defense last year, when the Rebels won two games handily. Boyle beat the Maroons 42-6 in the final regular-season game for each team, then defeated Pulaski 30-9 in the second week of the Class AAA playoffs.

Smith said Pulaski runs a basic 4-3 defense, but also relies on stunts by its linemen to get at the ball carrier. Smith said the secondary mixes up its zone and man-to-man coverage to confuse the opponent.

Pulaski will have its hands full with Boyle's junior quarterback, Brandon Smith. Smith has completed 66 of 122 passes for 1,028 yards and 12 touchdowns and has also run the ball 70 times for 345 yards and nine touchdowns.

Boyle will have almost its full complement of players available Friday. Sophomore receiver-cornerback Seth Tamme has been cleared to play after missing the last three games and senior center Jeremy Enlow, who has been playing with a broken hand, is a go despite having injured his ankle.

The Rebels will still be without senior lineman Patrick Wilson, who is expected to miss the rest of the season with a neck injury, but Smith said the trials the Rebels have been through will make them stronger in the end.

"The kids can't practice when they're hurt, and when they can't practice, then we're not getting better as a team," Smith said. "Everybody else is gaining on you.

"We've had some adversity in regards to injuries, and we'll have to work through it. In order to work through it, people have to step up and pick up some slack. Great teams will overcome that adversity, but we're struggling with it now. If we make it through this, we'll be a great team, I reckon."

Regardless of the injuries that have affected Boyle's lineup, Smith said he's most proud of the way his players have stuck together.

"We've been a close team, and I think that's been a plus for us all year long. The kids have worked together and relied on each other, and we're stronger for it," Smith said.

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