Pulaski will test Boyle

November 20, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

The outcome didn't surprise him, but even Boyle County coach Chuck Smith was surprised by the score.

Smith expected Pulaski County to beat Waggener last week in the Class AAA playoffs and earn a rematch with his Rebels Friday in the Region 2 title game. However, he never thought about Pulaski winning 82-68 in a game that broke the state record for points scored in a game that had stood since 1913.

"I figured after we beat Pulaski County earlier this year that it would come down to them and us again," said Smith. "But who would have ever thought 82-68? It was a wild game that basically just had one big play after another. There were not any long drives. Most of the scores were on the first or second play of a series."

Pulaski (11-1) overcame a 62-41 deficit thanks to the play of 230-pound senior quarterback Cole Draughn. He rushed for 303 yards and six touchdowns and threw for 177 yards and three more scores, including six passes for 112 yards and all three touchdowns to Brett Faulkner. That performance earned him national player of the week honors from USA Today.


Draughn has now rushed for over 2,000 yards, thrown for 1,980 yards and accounted for 60 touchdowns.

"Draughn is big, strong and fast for his size," Smith said. "He has great balance and is hard to bring down. He's just a big boy. People just bounce off him and he does a good job of following his blocks. He does not go down on the first hit and gives a great second, or even third, effort."

Draughn was 5-for-16 passing for 69 yards and one touchdown in a 32-27 loss to Boyle on Oct. 10. He also rushed for 147 yards and one touchdown.

However, Jonathan Denham had two 69-yard scoring runs against Boyle and gained 154 yards. He rushed for 110 yards against Waggener and returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown.

"Denham is awfully good, too," Smith said. "Those two players (Denham and Draughn) are the backbone of their team. They are men among boys. Denham is extremely fast. He has good size and runs hard. He can break big plays and they'll throw it to him.

"It's not like they have dogs playing other positions, but you have to stop Draughn and Denham. About 80 percent of Draughn's runs are called plays, but he also makes a lot happen when he drops back to pass and then either runs or throws."

Offense must be productive

That's why Smith knows his offense has to be productive against Pulaski if unbeaten Boyle (12-0) wants to keep its hopes alive for winning a fifth straight state championship.

"They are so good offensively, that nobody really stops them," Smith said. "We've got to play good defense, but we've also got to put points on the board. It's unrealistic to think we are going to shut them out. We have to take advantage of our scoring opportunities and get something out of every drive."

Boyle had 344 yards of offense to Pulaski's 370 in the earlier game. Boyle quarterback Brandon Smith was 9-for-15 passing for 159 yards, including scoring passes of 66 yards to Evan Teague and 37 to Greg Peck, and Quinn Givhan ran 22 times for 119 yards and two scores.

Teague has missed the last two games because of a bout with mononucleosis, but is expected to play Friday. He has 17 catches for 347 yards and a seven scores. Peck, who had two catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns in last week's win over Pulaski Southwestern, should also be closer to full speed Friday. However, Boyle will not have sophomore defensive back Hagen Smith, a part-time starter. He's out because of a back injury.

Brandon Smith has completed 139 of 238 passes for 2,235 yards and 32 scores this season and rushed for 596 yards and 13 touchdowns. Givhan has rushed for 637 yards and 14 touchdowns and Brad Cloud has 39 catches for 669 yards and eight touchdowns.

"No lead is going to be safe in this game. Waggener found that out," Chuck Smith said. "No matter what the situation, our defense cannot relax."

Sophomore Andrew Bertram leads Boyle in tackles with 87, while seniors Cloud and Ian Young both have 86. Cloud has a team-high five interceptions, and Peck and Seth Tamme each have three.

"It's just going to come down to which team wants this game the most," Smith said. "This will be the fifth time we've played in the last three years, so experience really doesn't make that much difference. We know each other."

Smith said his team knows better than to even think about a possible semifinal showdown with Paducah Tilghman, the preseason choice in several polls to end Boyle's title reign.

"Pulaski County has our full attention, or certainly should," Smith said. "If we are not fired up to play our best game, then we'll be spending Monday turning in our equipment."

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