Boyle must stop Renfro to win

September 30, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Figuring out who his team has to stop against Pulaski Southwestern Friday night is easy for Boyle County coach Chuck Smith.

What's much more difficult is planning how to slow down running back Lee Renfro, one of the state's rushing leaders with an average of 220 yards per game. Renfro has run for 1,099 yards and 17 scores on 105 carries, an average of almost 11 yards per run.

"He is their main guy," said Smith. "He carries the load for their team. He is an outstanding offensive player and a great running back. He makes a lot of plays on defense at strong safety, too, but on offense is where he means the most to them."

Boyle's defense has been susceptible to big plays this year as Lexington Catholic, Highlands and Danville have combined for 94 points against the Rebels.


"Renfro is very strong and he breaks a lot of tackles because he has good strength and balance," Smith said. "He won't go down with the first hit. He will keep his feet and keep going."

The Rebels (3-2) hope to start their drive for a sixth straight state championship in their Class AAA district opener. Southwestern (4-1) opened the season with a win at Warren Central, and its only loss came at Bell County. Last week the Warriors blanked Rockcastle County 48-0.

"If you go by the records and who we both have played, it would be right to say these are the two best teams in the district," Smith said. "Pulaski County is always good, and you never can count other teams out, but so far it looks like this game will be awfully important in the final district standings."

Smith says Southwestern's offensive and defensive lines are "very good," and Renfro has had "big holes" to run through every game.

"We have to stop the run, no question about that," the Boyle coach said. "They will try to throw some, but their bread-and-butter is the run with Renfro. They will spread the ball around some, especially if they have a lead. They will even try to throw to him some, too. But in a tight game, he's going to run the ball.

"They really have not had that many long drives this year because Renfro has been breaking a lot of big runs. We've got to stop him to win the game."

Southwestern quarterback Todd Daulton is 35-for-69 passing for 489 yards and two scores.

The Warriors who are allowing only 12 points per game, normally use a 4-4 defense, but sometimes will shift to an alignment with five linemen and three linebackers. Linebacker Travis Piercey had 14 tackles, including five for losses, in last week's win over Rockcastle.

"They are talented up front and their linebackers are really good," Smith said. "They are always ready to play. They get after you and don't back down. They have a solid team that is very, very good. It will be a hard-fought game."

Week off could help Rebels

Boyle had last week off after losing 21-0 at Highlands Sept. 27. It was the first time since the final game of the 1997 season that the Rebels had failed to score.

"I think we got better individually last week. We pushed hard and worked hard," Smith said. "I'm still not sure about the team thing. We won't find out until we get into games and see if we are coming together and are able to trust and depend on each other."

Smith thinks his team is developing the mental toughness he wants.

"Whether it is enough, that's still a question mark," Smith said. "We are not as solid there as we need to be. That's what we have been lacking. If we can get to that next level in team chemistry, we will be hard to beat. There's no question we still have the potential to be very good."

Quarterback Brandon Smith continues to rank among the state's passing leaders. He's completed 79 of 135 passes for 1,280 yards and 12 touchdowns and also rushed for 325 yards and seven scores.

Running back Quinn Givhan, who was injured at Highlands, has rushed for 416 yards and four scores. He's been cleared to play Friday after missing practice last week after taking a hard hit in the stomach at Highlands.

Defensive lineman Andrew Bertram also missed practice with a knee injury last week, but he's been cleared to play, too.

Givhan's injury did give Smith a chance to look at junior running backs Phillip Dean and Paul Keen in practice last week, as well as senior Danny Commarford, Givhan's backup, who has been mainly limited to defense because of a preseason hand injury.

"Danny can carry the load if needed, but it was a good chance to get some reps for the other guys just in case we need them," Smith said.

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