Central coach Steve Serotte decided at the half the only way the Jackets were going to get back into the game was to pass every play. And air it out they did.
Braxton throws for 462 yards
In a game that saw 79 pass attempts and 1,020 yards of total offense, Serotte had senior quarterback Xavier Braxton throw the ball 49 times for 462 yards and four scores. The Jackets were content to throw the ball deep and take their chances during the second half and even faked a punt with a lob pass over the middle that went for 50 yards and another score early in the third period.
"I told the kids at the half to get ready because the only way we would be able to come back was to throw deep on just about every play," Serotte said. "A lot of teams would have quit behind 40-0, but there is no quit in this team."
Boyle (11-2) scored 10 points to close the first quarter when Quinn Givhan, who ran 16 times for 125 yards and two scores, raced straight up the middle untouched for an 85-yard touchdown run, and Adam Dickinson followed with a 23-yard field goal.
Greg Peck blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety and Boyle's quick strike offense took advantage of three Central turnovers to put 28 more points on the board for a 40-0 lead. Evan Teague was on the receiving end of a pair of touchdown passes from Brandon Smith while Givhan and Smith added one rushing touchdown apiece.
An unsuccessful on-side kick, though, after the last score gave Central excellent field position at its own 45. The Jackets scored on the first play when Braxton found a wide-open Ken Duvall at the 10 and he carried three defenders into the end zone to complete the touchdown. Lamar Sistrunk faked the extra point kick and found James Ogburn in the end zone to complete to two-point conversion to cut the lead to 40-8 at the half.
"We had the big lead and we let them get behind us for the touchdown to close the half, and I honestly think that changed the game," said Brandon Smith, who moved past Bardstown's John Wesley Monin into seventh place on Kentucky's all-time passing list with 8,314 yards. "There was no reason for us to let down right there, but it gave them confidence to start the second half."
Indeed it did.
Fake punt works
Central gained one first down after a 37-yard pass to Jeremy Jones to midfield to start the second half, but three straight incompletions forced the Jackets into punt formation. However, punter George Simms lobbed a pass over the middle to Derico Neal, who outran a stunned Boyle defense to the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown.
"We put that play in this week when we noticed that Boyle likes to come hard to block punts," Serotte said. "The play at the end of the half and then the fake punt gave us a lot of momentum, and the kids started to believe they could come back."
"We had them backed up on fourth and 15 and there is no excuse for us to let down there," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "We gave them that touchdown and it was a big momentum swing right there."
Central scored twice more on passes sandwiched between Brandon Smith's 11-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 47-29 entering the final period.
"We started making silly mistakes that we haven't been making in recent weeks," Brandon Smith, who had 156 yards rushing on 17 tries, said. "They were catching passes over the middle and turning them into long gains. That was mostly our defense, and we'll have to fix that."
Chuck Smith agreed.
"We didn't look very good at times tonight," the Boyle coach said. "We did a lot of good things early in the game and were one play away from being able to have a continous clock, but you have to give Central a lot of credit. They just wouldn't quit."
Brandon Smith's 1-yard run gave the Rebels a 54-36 lead with just over two minutes to play. Central scored again with a minute left but could get no closer.