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Boyle Does What's Necessary to Win a Big Game

In eight of the last nine meetings against district rival Lexington Catholic, Boyle County had come out on the losing end. There were six losses in Lexington, two losses at Boyle, three losses in the playoffs, each one stinging in its own way. However, with the winner assured an opportunity to play for a district championship next week, third-ranked Boyle County weathered the disappointment of two touchdowns being called back due to penalties in the first half by dominating the Knights in the second half en route to a 48-17 victory, eclipsing a hurdle that has long stood in their way.

Boyle did much of their damage on the ground, pounding out 401 yards and five rushing touchdowns on the evening. Four of the scores came from Tanner Crawford, who also accumulated 209 rushing yards. Through the air, Rebels' quarterback Reed Lanter passed for 210 yards and two touchdowns to Reese Smith. Meanwhile the Boyle County defense held #7 Lexington Catholic to a mere 84 yards rushing and limited the big play passing of Beau Allen to 225 yards.

Coach Chuck Smith told the Danville Advocate-Messenger “Really even more important than beating Lexington Catholic, we learned how to win a big game. We’ve been talking about it...but we haven’t executed it until tonight. Every big game that we’ve lost, we’ve had three to five turnovers. You just can’t win big games like that. That was one of the things we needed to do in order to win a big game.” (Boyle County runs past Lexington Catholic for crucial district win | The Advocate-Messenger) Now Boyle County must reset to prepare for another powerful offensive club in Western Hills. If the Rebels win they'll hoist their first district championship trophy since 2013.

Crowning Champions

Three Class 3A district championships were decided on Friday night as Elizabethtown and Central did what they seemingly always do while Fleming County did something that hadn't been done in sixteen years.

Elizabethtown rode superstar Jay Becherer's 110 rushing yards and three touchdowns to a 35-13 victory over previously undefeated and tenth-ranked Larue County. The Panthers, ranked fourth, are assured of at least two home playoff games should they continue to win. Central running back Mykah Williams outdid Becherer, toting the ball for 252 yards and four touchdowns on only ten carries in a 66-0 victory over Bardstown. Central's stingy defense pitched their third shutout of the season, guaranteeing the #5 Yellowjackets a twelfth consecutive district title.

Fleming County traded licks with Bath County for much of the first half before two Josh Crump touchdown passes late in the second quarter pushed the lead to 22 points and put the Panthers first district title since 2001 on ice. Fleming coach Bill Spencer knew it would be a challenge to beat the upstart Wildcats, telling the Maysville Ledger-Independent “I knew it was going to be tough. That style of offense they play is just a tough offense. We didn’t want to get in a 50-49 shootout. Since 2001, it’s been 16 years since we’ve had our own [district championship]. We’re proud to get it tonight, I can tell you.”

Crump, who finished the game with 206 yards passing and four touchdowns, said “We’ll go home and celebrate this tonight. Tomorrow we’ll forget about it and focus on Pendleton County. It’s coming to an end, but we’re going to enjoy it and have fun. We love it.” (Fleming fights off Bath for district title | Sports | maysville-online.com)

Win and You're In

With only two weeks remaining in the regular season and just one more district game on the schedule for much of the commonwealth the playoff picture is becoming much clearer. Class 3A has 41 teams and with 32 assured of a playoff berth, nine teams will watch the postseason from the bleachers. Five schools (Fort Campbell, Magoffin County, McCreary Central, Pendleton County, and Sheldon Clark) enter this week's game with no possibility of making the playoffs. However, there are three games to be played on October 20 that will send the winner to the playoffs and the loser to the house.

First, in District 5, West Carter hosts Lewis County needing a win to reach the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. Lewis County, on the other hand, is looking for their first postseason trip since 2013. West Carter has won three straight in the series.

Next, in District 7, Knott County Central hosts Estill County for the right to travel to the District 8 champion in the first round. Knott Central has been to the playoffs the last two seasons and eleven times overall, but the Patriots have never won a postseason game. Estill County, district champions and regional semifinalists in 2016, have been decimated by injuries during this campaign. Expect high scoring as Knott averages 35.9 points per game and Estill averages 25.4.

Finally, Adair County and Hart County, both 1-7, will go toe-to-toe in hopes of landing the fourth seed from District 2. Adair County, who went 18-6 over the last two seasons before losing much to graduation, hasn't lost to Hart County since 2011. The winner gets a first round trip to Caldwell County, a place Hart has lost in each of the last two postseasons.

Around the Rankings

#1 Belfry had no trouble with Lawrence County, routing the visitors 48-6. Quarterback Kevin Browning completed three passes, all for touchdowns, in the win.

#2 Corbin beat Bell County, 42-8, for their sixth consecutive victory in the series.

#6 Caldwell County dominated Fort Campbell 54-24, one week after clinching the district championship. Caldwell now has a bye week before hosting 2A power Mayfield on October 27.

#8 Casey County romped over Betsy Layne 55-6 on Saturday afternoon. Preston Tucker rushed for 104 yards and two scores, becoming just the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

#9 Western Hills won a see-saw battle with Garrard County, 40-36, behind a Wandale Robinson 90-yard kickoff return in the last minute of the game. Robinson had another monster night, piling up 532 yards of total offense and six scores.

Extra Points

Powell County used their customary power running game to post 381 yards on the ground and in the process knocked off Breathitt County 44-20. The Pirates still have to win at Morgan County this week to raise a district banner.

Edmonson County has quietly posted a nice 5-3 record after defeating Hart County 42-7. Close mid-season losses to Warren East (21-10) and Metcalfe County (14-13, in overtime) preceded a blowout loss to Elizabethtown, but the Wildcats have responded by winning their last two. Quarterback Tucker Cole has thrown for 969 yards and eight touchdowns thus far.

Paducah Tilghman was left for dead by many after a four game losing streak in the month of September. Tilghman responded by beating Trigg County and Union County, the latter clinching a first round playoff game at home. The Blue Tornado defense has always been strong, allowing just less than 19 points per game, but it is the offense that has come to life in recent weeks, scoring 56 and 30, respectively, in the last two wins.

Three to See
(Each week the 3A Notebook will preview the three best games featuring Class 3A teams for the coming week)

1. Casey County at Corbin. One of two top-ten matchups this weekend, Casey travels to Campbell Field looking to extend their perfect record to 9-0. Corbin beat Casey twice last season but both games were competitive deep into the third quarter. Have the Rebels closed the gap any on the Redhounds?

2. Western Hills at Boyle County. While several teams were locking up district titles last week, Boyle's win over Lexington Catholic merely set the stage for the clincher against Western Hills. How well can the Wolverines move the ball on a Rebel defensive unit allowing only 88 rushing yards per game?

3. Powell County at Morgan County. Two rivals meet with a potential championship at stake. A Powell County victory gives the Pirates a second district title in three years, while a Morgan County win guarantees no worse than a three-way tie with a chance to win the first district crown in school history. All of this on the new turf in West Liberty!

Just One More
(Tired of the same teams every week? Want to go off the beaten path for a 3A game this Friday night? Each week we'll look at an under-the-radar matchup to watch in Class 3A)

Sherman (WV) at Sheldon Clark. It is way off the beaten path. No team has scored fewer points in Class 3A this season and only five have allowed more. And yes they are a huge underdog. But we've mentioned every other team in the 3A Notebook at least once this season and have never once commented on the Sheldon Clark Cardinals. Find your way to suburban Inez this Friday, get a bite at the Dairy Drive-In, and enjoy!