Vaught's Views: Rebels may not be unbeaten this season

August 19, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Picking Boyle County to lose a football game is not a smart thing to do. Four of the last five years the Rebels have been unbeaten. During the last five years, Boyle has won 73 of 75 games and claimed a state title every year.

Yet I’ve let Boyle coach Chuck Smith convince me that his team is going to be vulnerable early in the season against a schedule he says could produce an 0-5 start. If that happens, call me about some swamp land I have that Disney wants to develop and I’ll make you a great deal.

But while elephants will fly before Boyle goes 0-5, Smith has valid concerns going into the season. First, he plays a demanding five non-district games. Second, and more important, his team is not healthy.

Almost everyone except quarterback Brandon Smith, running back Quinn Givhan and the coaching staff is hurt or has been hurt. While that has not made Smith scale back his demanding practices, it has made him worry about how his team will play early in the season.


That’s why I’m doing the unthinkable and picking Boyle to lose a game. While the loss could come at Highlands, my guess is that it will come at Lexington Catholic Saturday. Does that mean I think one of those teams will dethrone Boyle as Class AAA state champion? Absolutely not. It just means that Boyle is going into Saturday’s game at less than peak efficiency because of a rash of injuries and will be facing a team that usually plays its best early in the year.

Staff writers Marty Warren and Mike Marsee both have the Rebels losing to Highlands, while Jill Erwin is the only staff member that has Danville beating Boyle.

The Admirals also have numerous question marks going into the season. Coach Sam Harp worries about a lack of depth and experience in key spots. That’s why I have the Admirals going 8-2 with losses to Boyle and Highlands. And don’t put down an automatic win Saturday against Garrard. I was tempted to make this my upset special, but playing at home still gives a shaky nod to the Admirals in the opener.

Erwin has the Admirals going undefeated while Marsee and Warren both see the same 8-2 finish I do.

Garrard lost a lot of offensive punch from last season, but coach Steve Stonebraker has an innovative offensive mind — and a talented quarterback in Spencer Crutchfield. I see the Golden Lions beating everyone except Danville and Corbin just as Warren and Erwin do. Marsee thinks the Lions will beat Corbin to go 9-1.

Mercer County also has high hopes for a big season. I see 8-2 with wins over everyone except Lloyd and Garrard. Erwin agrees, but Marsee and Warren also predict a third loss to Newport.

Harrodsburg is perhaps the hardest team to predict. The Pioneers lack numbers and experience, but they also don’t face an overly demanding schedule. Plus, Harrodsburg has a couple of possible rising stars at running back. Give me 6-4, the same as Warren, with losses to Casey, Mercer, Frankfort and Danville. Erwin and Marsee both have the Pioneers at 5-5 with Marsee predicting losses to Mercer, Frankfort, Owen County, Carroll County and Danville. Erwin forecasts losses to Casey, Mercer, Frankfort, Carroll and Danville.

Casey has been hit hard by injuries also and with depth already questionable, that could be too much to overcome. Maybe the Rebels will prove me wrong, but I can only find wins over Harrodsburg and McCreary. Erwin is the most optimistic at 4-6 with wins over Harrodsburg, Wayne County, McCreary and Russell while Warren and Marsee both project 3-7 seasons.

That leaves Lincoln, where first-year coach Larry French makes every game sound like there’s no chance his team can win. But I’ve seen him work his magic before and project a 4-6 mark with wins over Harrison, Casey, Marion and Taylor. I’m easily the most optimistic on the staff as Marsee and Warren both predict a 2-8 season and Erwin a 3-7 mark with wins over Casey, Marion and Taylor.

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