Boyle faces another top back

November 11, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Boyle County will get its second straight chance to stop one of the state's premier players here Friday.

Last week the Rebels shut down Fairdale's Maurice Grinter, who has verbally committed to Louisville, in a 48-0 win. Now Boyle (9-2) will get its chance to stop Waggener's Alfonso Smith in a second-round Class AAA playoff game.

"Smith is definitely the real deal," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "He can flat fly."

The 190-pound running back has numerous Division I scholarship offers. He lists Boston College and Kentucky as his top two choices, but Indiana and Louisville are also high on his list.

He ran for 1,241 yards last year when he averaged 8.4 yards per carry. This season he's gained 1,034 yards and is averaging 7.1 yards per run. However, he's missed almost four games because of an ankle injury. Last week he played only briefly at the end of Waggener's 24-21 win over Pulaski County and was used only on defense.


"He hasn't been healthy, so we have not seen a lot of him on film. But that was enough. He's a big, physical runner who is also extremely fast. He is just one of those gifted athletes with size and speed," Chuck Smith said.

Running back DJ Bruce has gained 577 yards and scored five times for Waggener and quarterback Tye Lawson has completed 42 of 99 passes for 873 yards and seven scores. Rontay Winston has 18 catches for 438 yards, an average of 24 yards per catch.

"Winston didn't play against Pulaski except right at the end on defense, either," Chuck Smith said. "They are really good when they are healthy, and we've been told they will all be back this week. They have the fastest backfield we have played since I don't know when. Smith was one of the top sprinters in the state last year, and the other kid (Winston) was right behind him. They have a lot of others that look just as fast."

The Boyle coach expected Waggener (10-1) to have a strong team this year based on its returning senior class. Waggener's only loss was 21-17 to Central when Alfonso Smith was out with his ankle injury.

"They really had a chance to win that game but they threw an interception late in the fourth quarter when they were ready to go up 24-17," Chuck Smith said. "This is the team they have been waiting on. They are a senior-dominated team. They are very confident. They intend on winning."

Waggener uses wing-T

The coach says Waggener's wing-T offense, which is averaging 30 points and 262 yards rushing per game, will test his defense's patience.

"They know what they are doing and run a lot of misdirection," Chuck Smith said. "If Smith doesn't play, they still do the same things. We have to be disciplined to stop them.

"We have gotten better at stopping big plays, which is what hurt us early. But we can't survive this week if we give up big plays. We have done a good job against teams with one running back like (Pulaski) Southwestern and Fairdale. But when you put a second or third good back in there, we had trouble stopping Danville and Highlands. Now we'll find out if our defense really is better, because they have a lot of good backs."

Defensively, Waggener has not allowed more than 21 points in any game this season and is giving up just 199 yards per game.

"They are very athletic on defense. They are not very big, but they are athletic," Chuck Smith said. "Their defense is a lot like Highlands' defense. They run a three-man front and use their ends like outside linebackers. They are very athletic, very fast and very aggressive. They are going to get to the football. You are not going to stay open long because they have closing speed at the skilled positions."

Boyle's offense is averaging 47 points and 431 yards per game. Quarterback Brandon Smith has thrown for 2,546 yards and 34 scores and ran for 620 yards and 12 scores. Quinn Givhan has rushed for 1,066 yards and 16 touchdowns and Seth Tamme has 47 catches for 874 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"We have to move the ball against their speed," Chuck Smith said. "They will run around blocks and still chase us down. They will cover receivers. We have to catch the ball with somebody on us, and the ball has to be delivered on time because we won't stay open.

"They are the best team we have played since Highlands and definitely one of the best we have played all year. "

Boyle has won six straight since falling 21-0 to Highlands, a team it beat in last year's Class AAA state title game.

"But the last six games have been pop quizzes. This is the true test. If we have not improved since we played Highlands, then we will be turning our equipment in Monday," Chuck Smith said.

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