Come playoffs, defense usually will come up big for a winner at some time.
For Lexington Catholic, that time was Friday.
The Knights romped to a 35-6 victory over visiting Knox Central, blanking the Panthers until the final play of a Class 4A playoff matchup.
"It's been that way. In the playoffs, when we have success it's because we have played good defense, and our offense has held up their end of the deal as well.
"I'm pleased with where our defense is at right now. We're a little banged up, we've got to get some guys back. But, hopefully, we'll survive and advance again next week."
Both teams are 10-2, but only the Knights will move on — to face Boyle County in next weekend's quarterfinals.
"It wouldn't be November in Central Kentucky if we weren't playing (Boyle) in the playoffs," Letton said. "It's a fun game and there's no secrets. They know us and we know them ... It should be another classic matchup."
Catholic beat Boyle 24-21 during the regular season.
The Knights had a classic bend-don't-break defensive effort Friday.
They outgained Knox 359-331, and the Panthers actually had more first downs (18-17).
But the visitors' only points came when Devon Evans hit Jonathan Gist for a 19-yard pass as time expired.
Evans ended 10 of 24 for 165 yards, with two picked off.
Gist caught two passes for 39 yards and led all rushers with 96 yards on 18 carries.
Catholic's Reese Ryan completed 11 of 24 for 217 yards and a TD, and one interception.
David Bouvier caught five balls for 103 yards, while Ryan led Knights rushers with 40 yards on six tries.
Catholic got three touchdowns by Marcelis Logan, and one from Amoh Kumengisa, plus a pair of Brook Jacoby field goals.
The Knights led 21-0 at halftime, a margin that Logan did not anticipate.
"Not really. We're a second-half team," he said, "but we came out in the first half and I was really surprised."
Logan scored three plays after Josh Mesmer blocked a Panthers punt on the Knox 16-yard line.
"I didn't even get touched or anything," said Mesmer, who led Catholic wit 6.5 tackles, including four unassisted. "I just went after it and got a little hand on it. That's all."
The TD, on a pass from Ryan, also covered 16 yards down the Knox sideline.
"I just owe it all to my line, really. They all contribute to my runs. ... They have the protection, too," Logan said.
Jacoby nailed a 46-yard field goal late in the first quarter and a 32-yarder midway through the second to push the gap to 13-0.
Three plays after the latter score, Casey Nash picked off a Knox pass at the Panthers' 34.
Logan ran for 22 yards and Kumengisa went the final 12. Noah Mitchell's two-point conversion run made it 21-0.
Logan then added a pair of third-quarter TD runs of 4 yards to put the lead at 35-0.
Mesmer was expecting a stout defensive performance.
"All week we were expecting to handle them because we've faced pretty good run teams all season," he said. "We weren't expecting anything different than like Bell County, because that's the exact same way they ran the ball. ... (It's) just good teamwork, pursuing the ball and tackling."
Knox Central 0 0 0 6— 6
Lexington Catholic 10 11 14 0—35
LC—Marcelis Logan 16 pass from Reese Ryan (Bobby Jacoby kick); LC—Jacoby 46 field goal; LC—Jacoby 32 field goal; LC—Amoh Kumengisa 12 run (Noah Mitchell run); LC—Logan 4 run (Jacoby kick); LC—Logan 4 run (Jacoby kick); KC—Jonathan Gist 19 pass from Devon Evans (no PAT attempt).
Records: Knox Central 10-2; Lexington Catholic 10-2.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com