Rebels rock Hoptown

November 28, 2004|MARTY WARREN

It was the talk of the state.

One Mr. Football candidate, Boyle County's Brandon Smith, against Curtis Pulley, Hopkinsville's Mr. Football candidate.

However, a pair of interceptions and near blocked punt by defensive back Greg Peck set the tone for a quick 14-0 lead and Boyle never looked back while posting a convincing 55-28 victory - its 29th straight playoff win - over the Tigers to claim a berth in its sixth straight state championship game.

The win sets up a rematch with Highlands, a 15-10 winner over Bell County, this Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville in the Class AAA title game. Boyle easily beat the Bluebirds in last year's title game, but Highlands defeated Boyle 21-0 this season at Fort Thomas.

Peck said the coaching staff preached all week about getting off to a great start, and he intercepted a pass on the opening play of the game to give Boyle (12-2) excellent field position at the Hopkinsville 19-yard line.


Passes of nine and five yards to Seth Tamme positioned Boyle for a 2-yard scoring run by Quinn Givhan for a 6-0 advantage less than two minutes into the game.

"(The coaches) wanted us to attack them early and the interception gave us great field position," Peck said. "The offense just took over from there and never let up all night."

Less than a minute later, Boyle's defense gave the Rebels excellent field position again. After two incomplete passes and a short run, Hopkinsville punter Tyler Petty had trouble with a low snap and took a 15-yard loss at his own 23. Five plays later Smith pump-faked once and hit Peck wide open over the middle for a 17-yard scoring strike. He also found Josh Miller in the back of the end zone on the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.

"We practice special teams more than anybody in the state," Peck said. "I got a great jump at the snap and if he had not bobbled the ball, I would have blocked it."

Hopkinsville coach Craig Clayton offered no excuses.

"We gave them a 14-0 lead again just as we have every time (we have played them) and you can't do that against a team like Boyle," Clayton said. "They smelled blood, and we couldn't stop them at all. All of their receivers run great routes, and Brandon put the ball on target every time.

"We have played them three times and fumbled a snap on the punt in every game. I don't know what it is, but we only do that against Boyle. Good teams take advantage of their breaks, and I think this team is the best of the three we have faced."

No quarterback showdown

The showdown between the two quarterbacks never materialized.

Smith connected on 22 of 32 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns, while Pulley hit on 10 of 29 tries for 261 yards and three scores. Pulley threw three interceptions, and two of the picks led directly to Boyle scores.

"Brandon was just outstanding, and I don't know if he gets all of the credit he deserves because he is not flashy," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "Tonight he was just precision up and down the field and a great field general. The receivers ran great routes and did a fantastic job of catching the ball, but it wouldn't have been possible without the offensive line. They did a great job giving Brandon time to throw."

Hopkinsville's Cody Adams had a pair of touchdown catches of 34 and 40 yards during the second frame, but Boyle scored four times during the period to lead 42-21 at the half.

Givhan, who rushed for 101 yards on 22 attempts, scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard run, Peck returned his second interception 30 yards for a score and Smith had a pair of scoring passes - 29 yards to Seth Tamme, who had 11 catches for 177 yards, a 4-yard pass to Evan Teague

Boyle's defensive secondary, shredded last week for 512 yards against Central, played much better against the Tigers. They gave up another 40-yard touchdown to Adams in the final quarter, but that was all of the scoring Hopkinsville (13-1) could manage during the second half.

Pulley appeared to have leg cramps in the second half, limiting how much he could run with the football. He ran for only 17 yards on 11 carries and Hopkinsville ran for only 10 net yards .

Meanwhile, Boyle scored twice more in the final half to put the game away. Teague's 29-yard touchdown catch gave Boyle a 48-21 lead, and Smith finished off an outstanding night with a 3-yard run.

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