Vaught's Views: Playoffs start Friday for Title Town teams

November 18, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

For the rest of the state, the high school football playoffs started two weeks ago. For the teams here in Title Town, the playoffs start this Friday.

It's not that Boyle County and Danville were left out of the early-round playoff games. It's just that there was no way the Rebels and Admirals were going to lose in the first two rounds.

Boyle easily beat Fairdale and Pulaski Southwestern in the Class AAA playoffs while Danville coasted past Louisville Christian Academy and Carroll County. But now the fun is over and the real work starts for both teams.

Before the football season started, it was easy to predict the matchups for this Friday's regional championship matchups.

Boyle (12-0) will host Pulaski County. The Maroons' only loss was a 32-27 decision to visiting Boyle Oct. 10. Pulaski won an incredible 82-68 game at Louisville Waggener last week. While the score had to surprise Boyle coach Chuck Smith, the outcome didn't because he's been touting Pulaski's talent for weeks.


Danville (11-1) will travel to Louisville to take on unbeaten Holy Cross (12-0) in the Class A playoffs. Again, this is the game the Admirals have been expecting for weeks as word kept filtering out of Louisville that Holy Cross had a big, physical team that could beat Danville. While Holy Cross doesn't have an offense that has scored 82 points in one game, it does have an offense that is averaging 47 points per game.

Some years it might be easy for the Title Town teams to look past these regional championship matchups. But not this year.

There's no way Boyle can think about a possible trip to western Kentucky to play Paducah Tilghman, the preseason choice to win Class AAA and end Boyle's title reign. Even if Pulaski hadn't scored 82 points last week, the Maroons and quarterback Cole Draughn left a lasting impression on Boyle in the regular-season game.

There's no way Danville can look ahead to what has become an annual playoff showdown with Mayfield because of the way Holy Cross has manhandled opponents. Many of Holy Cross' best players started as sophomores in 2001 when Danville beat them 35-7 in the regional final and went on to win the state championship. Last year Danville beat Holy Cross 35-0 in the second round of the playoffs.

If that's not enough, both teams are less than 100 percent. Danville lost Ryan Harper, a backup receiver and defensive back, to a broken leg last week. Boyle will be without Hagen Smith, who has started in the secondary part of the year, because of a back injury.

Danville might also be without perhaps its most versatile player in Phillip Dunn, who injured his foot last week. Boyle has not had tight end-linebacker Evan Teague the last two games because of a bout with mononucleosis, but could get him back this week.

Both teams have also have other key players - running back-linebacker Kelvin Turner of Danville and receiver-cornerback Greg Peck of Boyle - nursing injuries.

However, both teams have two factors in their favor Friday - coaching and tradition - that will lead to victories.

Coaches Chuck Smith of Boyle and Sam Harp of Danville are among the best in the state. Both programs are used not only to winning regional titles, but state titles.

That's why the Title Town teams will both be just fine when the playoffs start for real Friday.

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