Boyle's bid to add to its state record with a sixth consecutive state championship begins with a home game Friday against Fairdale in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. The Rebels (8-2, 5-0 district) went undefeated in district play for the fourth time in five years and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"We want to finish it right our senior year," running back-linebacker Danny Commarford said. "I can't imagine it ending any other way."
Lincoln (3-7, 1-4) will sit out the postseason for the fourth straight year.
"We're going up there for the last time and putting our gear away, and we're going to start our winter program and start getting ready for next season," Lincoln coach Larry French said. "And it's going to be a long road for us to travel."
Lincoln's season ended with a long night thanks to Boyle, which scored seven times in the first half and handed the Patriots their biggest loss of the year.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game for us," French said. "We're not as fast as they are, we're not as strong as they are, we're not as good technique-wise as they are."
Rebels' offense clicking
Boyle quarterback Brandon Smith picked apart the Patriots' pass defense, completing 16 of 22 passes - many of them to wide-open receivers - for 246 yards and five touchdowns. He was also the Rebels' leading rusher with 73 yards and a touchdown, and he even caught a pass from receiver Evan Teague for a 29-yard gain.
Teague had two touchdown catches and 67 receiving yards, the most among eight Boyle receivers who caught passes, and Quinn Givhan ran for 59 yards and two scores.
The Rebels ran 53 offensive plays, only three less than the combined total of their previous two games.
"It was good having our offense out on the field more," Teague said. "We got to work on our offense a little more."
The Rebels say there are also signs of progress for a defense that gave up 121 points in their first five games and 41 in their five district games, albeit against lesser competition.
"It looks more like a Boyle County defense," Commarford said. "We're stopping the run a whole lot better than we were the first five games."
That defense held Lincoln to 35 yards in the first three quarters, though the Patriots added 73 more in the fourth period against second- and third-team players.
Lincoln's leading rusher, Braxton Miller, had 16 of his 20 yards on one carry, and quarterbacks Jared Long and Levi Rogers combined to go 7-for-16 for 85 yards.
Long's passes of 30 yards to Trevor Merriman and 19 yards to Hagan Folger set up the Patriots' only touchdown, which came on a 1-yard run by Folger in the fourth quarter.
Two early scoring opportunities for Lincoln
Lincoln had two scoring chances deep in Boyle territory in the first quarter thanks to a 79-yard kickoff return by Folger and a fumble recovery by Andrew Smith. But Jordan Kelsey missed field-goal attempts from 28 and 37 yards, the latter bouncing off an upright.
The Patriots didn't cross midfield again until their fourth-quarter scoring drive, by which time they trailed 63-0.
French said he's proud of the was his players persevered through a trying season.
"They bounced back every Monday, and they believed they could win," he said. "Our kids played hard. They may not have done the right thing every time, but they tried. I can't be disappointed in the way they tried."
"We've got five seniors who have gone through (three coaches), and ... they were committed to trying to win football games. Those are kids who will get back up, and they'll make something out of themselves."
This was French's first game against Smith, whose first coaching job was as French's assistant at Mercer County in the 1980s.
"We've got a great relationship, but when we get on the field, he's focused on his team and I'm focused on my team," Smith said. "We owe that to our kids."