Vaught's Views: Holy Cross will prevent a Title Town sweep

November 18, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Title Town rolls out the red carpet for two regional championship games Friday when Boyle County and Danville continue their annual state title quests.

While the Rebels should convincingly beat Central to get to the state semifinals for the sixth straight year, Danville is going to have a much more difficult game with Louisville Holy Cross.

So what will happen?

Holy Cross (10-2) at Danville (8-4): For a little expert help, let's turn to Harrodsburg coach Terry Yeast. His team lost 55-6 to Danville one week before it fell 28-0 to Holy Cross in the Class A playoffs.

"Holy Cross' strengths are size and experience. They are a very smart football team, and they do not make very many mistakes. They will also take advantage of your mistakes," Yeast said. "Danville's speed will be overwhelming. Also, their tradition of winning big games in the playoffs will be a plus for them."


Yeast said the game's biggest key will be who can control the football. Holy Cross will try to overpower Danville with its running game, and Yeast says the Admirals must avoid mistakes offensively to keep Holy Cross from dominating the clock.

The Harrodsburg coach favors Danville.

"I think Danville will win a close game. Even though Holy Cross has a size advantage, I think Danville's strength will be able to handle it," Yeast said. "Too many big plays by Danville will get them through in the end. This could possibly be the state championship game in the Region 2 finals for the second straight year."

He's right that this could be a state title preview as it was last year when the Ads escaped with a 27-22 win over Holy Cross and then went on to beat Mayfield and Beechwood to win the state championship. However, Holy Cross seems to me to have advantages in every area except speed.

Danville coach Sam Harp readily admits his team can't win with excessive turnovers Friday. He also knows the Admirals have to play with a sense of urgency or their season will end.

"Our guys played last week with emotion and intensity and shut down a potent Bardstown offensive attack," Harp said. "You are not going into a game like this and fooling anybody with what you do. You line up and it comes down to matchups."

For Danville, that could be a problem. Holy Cross is just bigger and stronger in most spots. The Ads will have the game's best player in Kelvin Turner, but football is a team sport.

Holy Cross has tried the last three years to end Danville's season. This time it finally happens.

Prediction: Holy Cross 20, Danville 7.

Central (10-2) at Boyle (10-2): If Chuck Smith is right, the Pittsburgh Steelers might have trouble scoring against Central's defense. However, the guess here is that the Boyle coach is going to be pleasantly surprised at the way his offense continues to produce big numbers.

"You just have to stay with what you have been doing. You just have to do it better and be smarter to compensate for their size and talent on defense," Smith said. "We also have to stop their big plays."

If this game were in Louisville, the Rebels might face a more difficult task. However, there's no way Boyle will lose at home. The Rebels spotted Waggener a touchdown on the opening kickoff last week, then rolled to a 55-10 win.

"I think playing at home during the playoffs is really big for us because we can control field conditions," Smith said. "We didn't play in the mud last week because we had a tarp on our field. It's always nice to play in the comfort of your own home and fans, but the most important thing is that we control the field conditions when we are at home."

What about the tradition set by winning five straight state titles? That should help, too.

"It's almost out the door. Tradition is good to have, but now everybody wants to be the one to knock us off," Smith said.

Wanting to is one thing. Doing it is a lot more difficult.

Prediction: Boyle 42, Central 6.

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