Vaught's Views: Second round will produce Title Town wins

November 10, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

It's not unusual for high school football teams, especially ones good enough to win a state championship, to have an easy first-round game.

That's why it certainly was no shock that unbeaten Boyle County, which has won four straight state titles, got its 69th win in its last 71 games with a convincing 47-0 victory over Fairdale in the Class AAA playoff opening round last week. Or that Danville, the Class A state champion in 2000 and 2001, routed outmanned Louisville Christian Academy 63-0.

Even in the NCAA Tournament it's not unusual for the top-seeded teams to enjoy big first-round victories. Normally that changes in round two when even the top teams are more severely tested.

Most years that would be true for the second round of the high school football playoffs, too. But - and ignore the screams of protest you hear from coaches Sam Harp of Danville and Chuck Smith of Boyle - there's no reason to think the Admirals and Rebels won't continue their state title quests with easy wins again here this Friday.


Boyle (11-0) goes against Pulaski Southwestern (4-7), a surprise winner over Louisville Central last week. Danville (10-1) gets Carroll County (9-2), which outscored Bardstown Bethlehem 34-31 last week.

Smith and Harp certainly will sound convincing when they warn that their teams cannot take Friday's game lightly. However, the rematches certainly are tilted heavily in favor of the Title Town teams.

Boyle beat Southwestern only 38-3 Oct. 3 in Somerset. The Rebels gave up just 134 yards and stopped themselves with three turnovers and seven penalties.

Smith was not the least bit amused with his team's play in its district opener.

"We were very, very flat," said Smith after the game. "It's really disappointing. This was our first district game, and we've got to play with more emotion than that or we're not going to have a whole lot more success in the district."

Of course, Boyle went 5-0 in district play and was tested only by Pulaski County, the team it could meet again Nov. 21.

Danville had a similar letdown in its district opener Oct. 3 when it beat Owen County only 45-10. The next week the Ads rolled over visiting Carroll County 63-6 when they amassed 442 yards and gave up just 152. A 27-point third quarter broke the game open and left Harp with no reason to complain about his team's focus for one of the few times this season.

"Our guys played exceptionally well. We were embarrassed by our performance last week, and our guys more than made up for that."

Look for both Boyle and Danville to win just as big this week. No way Smith and Harp will let their teams believe these are going to be easy games no matter what the numbers might indicate. Instead, both will point to the memorable - or forgettable - night in 1997. That's when Boyle lost to Bourbon County and Danville fell to Lexington Catholic in the Class AA playoffs even though the Rebels and Ads had both won regular-season matchups. It hurt both teams even more when Bourbon, a team both were sure they could beat, went on to win the state title.

But Danville and Boyle will win - and win big - Friday to secure their customary spot in regional title games.

The best game this weekend should be the Class AA matchup at Elizabethtown (9-2). Garrard County (9-2) is coming off a dramatic 19-15 win over DeSales and will face an E-town team that is probably more athletic and skilled than any opponent it has played this year.

The key here will be Garrard's defense. While the Lions' offense is improving the more quarterback Bruce Williams plays since taking over for injured Spencer Crutchfield in mid-October, Garrard cannot win an offensive shoot-out. What it could do, though, is win a relatively low-scoring game like the one it had last week.

What Garrard won't do is get a fairly easy win like Boyle and Danville certainly will here in Title Town.

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