Boyle must stop Fairdale's Grinter

November 04, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

At least Boyle County knows what it will take to win its first-round Class AAA playoff game.

For the second straight year, the Rebels will open postseason play by hosting Fairdale Friday. For the second straight year, Fairdale is led by versatile Maurice Grinter.

"Grinter plays a lot of positions. They'll use him at quarterback and wide receiver, but he primarily plays running back. They run a lot of motion, misdirection and sweeps," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "They have another running back and a fullback that run well. He's not their only player, but he is their best player."

Grinter, who has rushed for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns, didn't have any luck against Boyle's defense last year as the Rebels won 47-0 to start their fifth straight state championship run. However, Smith says Grinter (6-4, 215 pounds) is bigger than Danville's Kelvin Turner or Pulaski Southwestern's Lee Renfro and could present more problems this season.


"He's a different type of runner," Smith said. "He's a strong runner, but he's also got some speed and agility to juke you, too. They throw the ball just enough to keep you honest. They are primarily a running football team. Their offensive line comes off the ball and they like to let Grinter beat you."

While Fairdale has been susceptible to the big play at times this year, the Boyle coach said the Bulldogs' defense has been much better since a 29-26 win over Doss Oct. 15 that put them in the playoffs. Grinter, who has verbally committed to Louisville, leads the defense with three interceptions

"When the game was on the line against Doss, they stepped their level of play up and were able to shut down teams when it counted," Smith said. "They line up and do some schemes defensively, but they mainly stay in a 4-3 look."

Fairdale has won four straight

Fairdale (5-5) has won four straight games since losing five in a row to Butler, Oldham County, Waggener, Central and Bullitt East. "They are playing with renewed confidence right now," Smith said.

Of course, so is Boyle. The Rebels (8-2) take a six-game winning streak into the playoffs and are starting to play the way Smith envisioned when the season started.

"We have worked hard the last five weeks or so to get better as a team," the Boyle coach said. "That's no guarantee of success at this stage because you still have to go out and execute. But just being healthy has helped a lot with our continuity. You can't get better unless you are out there practicing with the guy next to you. We struggled early when we had to move people around because of injuries. Now we are finally developing some continuity."

Boyle quarterback Brandon Smith got a scholarship offer from Western Kentucky over the weekend to go with the one he had earlier from Eastern Kentucky. Chuck Smith says he won't weigh any offers until the season ends.

Brandon Smith has thrown for 2,302 yards and 32 touchdowns thanks to the play of junior receiver Seth Tamme and senior tight end Evan Teague. Tamme has 44 catches for 803 yards and nine scores and Teague 31 catches for 473 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"I expected this kind of year out of Seth," Chuck Smith said. "He's been outstanding and I hope the best is yet to come. He's a real competitor. He's very smart and he loves to play and win. We expect better things out of him, but he expects more out of himself, too.

"Teague has good hands and the knack for making big plays and big catches. He's also a good blocker, which makes him even more special."

Boyle's defense has improved

Boyle's defense has allowed 162 points, but just 68 came in the last seven games. Linebacker Danny Commarford leads the defense with 89 tackles, including 50 solo stops. Teague has 60 tackles from his linebacker spot and lineman Jacob Arnold has 56 stops. Lineman Brandon Record has a team-high 18 tackles for loss. Tamme has a team-high four interceptions.

"Grinter is a player that can make a difference in the game at any time," the Boyle coach said. "We have to be able to keep their offense off the field. We have to attack their front and not get blown off the ball to make sure we stop him."

The coach said he reminds his team that it can add to its own state record with a sixth straight title, but that the seniors do most of the motivational work.

"This is a different team, but everybody, especially the seniors, knows that every class is judged by how your final team does," Chuck Smith said. "This is the senior's team. They do not want to be the class that ends the streak. They put that pressure on themselves, but it is a good kind of pressure to have."

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