"If we have any kind of letdown, we will get beat. I think last week should be a big boost for us," Smith said. "We hadn't played with that kind of heart and desire. Then we finally turned it on the second half. If we had let that game slip away, there could have been long-term damage. It would not have been good for us."
Nelson (2-1) lost 25-20 to Bardstown last week after beating Bullitt East and Butler to start the season.
"They dominated the game last week everywhere but the scoreboard," Smith said. "They fumbled twice back-to-back and Bardstown scored. Then they got the lead back and Bardstown ran the kickoff back for a score.
"They have a really good team. They have a lot of kids back and they played us tough last year. They have good skilled players."
Smith says Jamie Keene is an "outstanding running back who has speed, balance and explosiveness." He says fullback Matt Rogers also runs hard out of the Wing-T formation that results in few pass plays but a lot of misdirection running plays.
Defense giving up 31 a game
Boyle's defense is giving up 31 points per game, a far higher number than Smith would like or is used to seeing.
"Actually, we are getting better defensively in some areas, but we are still not swarming to the ball like we need to," Smith said. "We are not attacking the runner. We are waiting on him. If we can attack more, our defense will do better. We started playing in the fourth quarter against Danville and attacking more.
"Part of our problem is that the people we've played early are good offensive teams. They have exposed what we are not doing well. It's not any different this week, either. Nelson County is a good team. If we don't get better, then they'll expose more weaknesses."
The offense has not had that problem. The Rebels are averaging 41 points and 494 yards per game. Quarterback Brandon Smith has thrown for 745 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 265 yards and five touchdowns.
Last week junior Seth Tamme got behind Danville's defense twice to catch touchdown passes. He has 13 catches for 260 yards and three scores this season.
"He really executed his routes well last week. He actually dropped another touchdown pass, but he did make some big catches that we really needed," Smith said.
The return of tight end Evan Teague from a one-game suspension has also helped the offense. He has 10 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns in two games.
"He's also a good blocker and that really helps," the Boyle coach said.
Smith said one of the biggest plays in last week's win, though, came from senior Clay Hellyer. He recovered Tamme's fumble on a punt return and the next play Quinn Givhan went 69 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
"That might have been the play of the game," Smith said. "He was just hustling like he was supposed to do. When Seth dropped the ball, Danville kids were all around it. He just dove down and got it. He was in the right place at the right time because he was hustling and paying attention to what he was supposed to be doing. If he doesn't get that ball, we may well have lost the game."