Boyle's offense gives Rebels fifth straight title

December 07, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

LOUISVILLE - Making history shouldn't be easy, but the Boyle County Rebels make it look that way.

Boyle became the first team to win five consecutive state championships after it ran roughshod over Highlands over the final three quarters Saturday for a 44-10 victory in the Class AAA championship at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The offense had its way, as it usually does. After being shut out in the first quarter, the Rebels scored twice in each quarter and finished the game with 450 net yards - 200 more than Highlands - to add to Boyle's string of championships.

"I feel so happy for these kids," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "They really wanted it, and nobody expected our senior class to do this. That's what motivated them."


Brandon Smith ran for four touchdowns to lead a Boyle offense that averaged 7.4 yards per play and was forced to punt only once.

Boyle (15-0) moved the ball with a consistency that didn't seem possible against Highlands (12-3), which had outgained Boyle in the Rebels' 22-21 win on Sept. 19.

But nobody answers a challenge quite like Boyle.

"We watched the first game several times," Boyle offensive coordinator Chris Pardue said. "We challenged our guys to attack, and they did a great job."

The offensive line answered the challenge loudest after the Boyle coaches showed how Highlands held them to 329 yards in the first meeting.

"I think the big thing the first time we played was that our offensive line didn't play well," Pardue said.

Senior center Jeremy Enlow said no one knew that better than the linemen.

"We played terrible the first time," Enlow said. "They attacked us; we didn't attack them. I'm pretty sure we did this time."

That made things easy for Boyle's balanced attack, which produced 249 rushing yards and 201 passing yards.

"It wasn't a good day for us," Highlands coach Dale Mueller said. "You've got to give credit to Boyle. They made adjustments and won the game."

Brandon Smith said the Rebels were ready for everything Highlands' defense did thanks to Pardue's preparation.

"He knew exactly where their guys were going to line up every single time," Brandon Smith said. "I didn't have to check on too many plays."

Boyle's state of readiness was illustrated by Brandon Smith's first touchdown, when he broke free for a 76-yard run to give the Rebels a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.

"We put that play in this week, and in practice it kept working over and over again," he said. "I was really surprised I didn't get caught from behind."

"The thing that was so great about the play was that it was a different defensive scheme than we saw the first time we played them," offensive line coach Chris Mason said. "(Pardue) put a couple little quirks in our blocking scheme, and Brandon just exploded."

Brandon Smith's runs proved to be Boyle's best offensive weapon. He led the Rebels with 141 yards on 18 carries.

"Any time you can spread the field and the quarterback can run, I really think that's what makes us hard to stop," Pardue said.

Boyle answered Highlands' first touchdown with its longest drive of the game, a 12-play, 73-yard march ending in a 1-yard run by Smith that gave the Rebels a 14-10 lead they held through halftime.

"It's always good to get the momentum back," said wide receiver Brad Cloud, who caught a 24-yard pass in double coverage for the longest play of the drive.

Highlands' T.J. Kramer returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards, but Jordan Nevels turned the ball over at the Boyle 5-yard line on the Bluebirds' first play. Boyle answered with a 95-yard drive capped by a 4-yard scoring run by Smith.

Tailback Quinn Givhan, who had only six yards in the first half, went to work on the Rebels' next series, rushing for 28 of his 70 yards and the touchdown that gave Boyle some breathing room at 28-10.

"I wasn't having my 'A' game, but the offensive line picked me up and gave me some holes," Givhan said. "And Brandon Smith running the ball opens things up for me, just like I open things up for him."

Boyle scored three times in the fourth quarter on a safety, an 11-yard pass from Smith to Cloud and a 2-yard run by Smith to come within one point of their largest margin of victory in a state title game.

It wasn't easy in the first half - "Highlands is the best team we've played (in the finals). I think they gave us all we wanted," Givhan said - but that was forgotten by game's end as another celebration began.

"It does amaze me a little bit, but these kids amaze me every single day," Chuck Smith said. "These kids work extremely hard, and they come back every day asking for more, and the result is what you saw today."

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