Defense, Smith step up in Boyle's win over Tilghman

December 01, 2003|MARTY WARREN

PADUCAH - Boyle County had wasted a 21-7 first-half cushion and senior linebacker Ian Young, the area's lineman of the year, knew that if the Rebels were to advance to their fifth straight state title game the defense was going to have to make some huge plays.

And did the defense ever come through in the clutch here Friday night.

The Rebels rallied to regain the lead in the fourth quarter and that was when the defense went to work.

Young had a pair of sacks during the Blue Tornado's final two series while sophomore Andrew Bertram and junior Danny Commarford added one each as Boyle held off the usually potent Tilghman offensive attack to win 35-21.

Boyle (14-0) will meet Highlands, a 21-14 winner over Mason County Friday, for the Class AAA state title at noon Saturday in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The Rebels defeated Highlands 22-21 Sept. 17 at Boyle.


Junior quarterback Brandon Smith had another strong game, completing 14 of 32 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 88 yards and two scores on 26 carries.

Boyle's defense kept Tilghman from having that kind of success.

"We knew that they were in passing situations," Young said. "We had people in coverage and we just rushed harder to get to the quarterback. We didn't want to give him time to get off the pass."

Young led the Rebel defense with seven tackles while Brad Cloud, Evan Teague and Bertram added six stops each. Greg Peck and Seth Tamme intercepted one pass each.

Boyle took advantage of two Tilghman mistakes to grab a quick 14-0 lead. The Rebels ran 22 offensive plays and held the ball for 9 minutes, 23 seconds during the first frame while Tilghman (13-1) ran just eight plays, fumbled twice and held the ball for only 2:37.

Tilghman senior quarterback Hunter Cantwell fumbled on the second play after a Boyle punt and Commarford recovered the fumble at the Blue Tornado 18-yard line.

Four plays later, Brandon Smith, who led the Rebels in rushing with 88 yards on 26 carries, scored from one yard out for a 6-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. Adam Dickinson's conversion attempt failed after a bad snap to leave the score 6-0.

Tilghman failed to go after the ensuing kickoff that got caught up in the wind and Boyle's Michael Lane recovered the ball at the Tilghman 37. A 12-yard gain by Brad Cloud and 12-yard pass to Ian Loughry placed the ball at the 13.

Smith connected with Tamme two plays later for an 11-yard scoring strike. Cloud was on the receiving end of Smith's two-point conversion pass to give the Rebels a 14-0 advantage with 5:07 left in the quarter.

"That wasn't a planned on-side kick," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "It just got caught up in the wind and we were able to get on the loose ball."

Paducah Tilghman coach Perry Thomas said his team was jittery to begin the game, and that Boyle showed why it has won four straight state titles.

"We made key mistakes in the first quarter that cost us 14 points," Thomas said.

"We made a nice comeback to get ourselves back in the game, but Boyle made all of the plays in the second half to win the game. There is no doubt in my mind that they will win the state again. They are a sound team and they know how to win big games."

As well as Boyle played in the first quarter going into the wind, Tilghman played just as well during the second frame. The Blue Tornado pulled within a touchdown after a short Boyle punt gave them excellent field position at the Boyle 29.

Three plays later Joe Casey, who has committed to the University of Kentucky, scored from three yards out to pull Tilghman to within 14-7.

Boyle countered with its only touchdown of the game with the wind at its back. After a 28-yard completion to Tamme, Smith connected with Ian Loughry two plays later from 38 yards out for the score and a 21-7 cushion.

"The wind wasn't as much a factor as I thought it would be," Chuck Smith said. "Both teams scored points going into the wind all night."

Tilghman struck twice before the period closed to knot the score at 21-21 at the half.

Casey, who finished with 108 yards on 13 attempts, raced 86 yards around left end following Boyle's score and senior quarterback Hunter Cantwell connected with Anthony Barton with a short pass over the middle that he turned into a 62-yard touchdown catch.

Boyle grabbed the lead at 28-21 on the opening play of the fourth quarter as Smith scored from two yards out and put an exclamation point on the win with an impressive 91-yard, 10-play drive that used 41/2 minutes off the clock.

Smith connected with Cloud for 12 yards, Peck for 19 and Teague for 22 yards before he rolled right on the next play and found Teague over the middle again for the final touchdown on a 9-yard pass.

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