In football, there's the triple option, and then there's the triplet option.
Lexington Catholic has the latter in senior triplets Alex, Casey and Nick Nash, grandsons of University of Kentucky basketball icon Cotton Nash.
When the Knights host Boyle County in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs on Friday night, Alex will be at strong safety, Casey will line up at wide receiver, and Nick, his football career curtailed by shoulder injuries, will be the color man for WMJR's radio broadcast of the game.
The Nash triplets, like the Three Musketeers, have an "all for one, and one for all" attitude. They've been playing all kinds of ball together since they were tykes, and while there is a serious sibling rivalry, it is not as strong as their brotherly bond.
"There's always been a competitiveness among us," Casey said. "We're always trying to be faster and stronger than each other. That's been a big advantage because we push each other. But we always support each other in everything, too."
Casey is the fastest of the trio. He puts his speed to good use as one of the Knights' top receivers. In his career he has 44 catches for 954 yards and nine touchdowns. His highlight moment came against Boyle County in the 2011 regular season. He caught a 77-yard TD pass from Kyle Bolin in the closing minutes to give Lexington Catholic a 20-13 victory and end a six-game losing streak to the Rebels.
Alex is one of the Knights' top defenders. He has more than 200 career tackles, and he can become the program's all-time leader in sacks with two more. He has 16 tackles for losses this year.
Alex's hero play came against Lafayette last season. Lexington Catholic was tied with the Generals late in the game when it missed a field goal. Lafayette regained possession, but not for long. Alex intercepted a pass deep in Generals territory that set up the game-winning field goal.
Knghts Coach Bill Letton said the Nashes have a knack for making big plays. "If you could bottle it and sell it, you'd be a millionaire. I wish every player had it."
Alex and Casey respect each other's abilities.
"I'd say Casey is one of the fastest guys I've ever gone up against," Alex said. "And he's got great hands."
Casey's take on Alex: "He's fast — but not quite as fast as me," he said with a laugh. "He can cover the pass, he's good with the pass rush, and he hits hard."
Alex and Casey sometimes go against each other in practice. "When he beats me, he'll talk about it for two weeks," Alex said. "When I beat him, I'll talk about it for three weeks."
Alex said their dad, Pat, good-naturedly "fuels the fire" between brothers.
"He'll always ask which one of us will score a touchdown or make the most tackles or have the best game.
"My mom is the one that stops it. She'll tell him, 'They're playing on the same team! Leave them be.'"
Nick used to be in on the family's football one-upmanship. He started the Knights' first game as a sophomore before being sidelined by a shoulder injury. He tried to come back last year, but another injury and surgery squashed those plans.
Nick felt left out of the loop last season, but found a new niche this year on the radio, teaming up with play-by-play man T.G. Shuck.
"It's pretty disappointing not being able to play," Nick said. "But I'm having a lot of fun on the radio. I can be involved in the games even if I can't be on the field."
The Nashes are excited about Lexington Catholic facing Boyle County in the playoffs for the sixth year in a row.
Nick called it "the biggest game of the year."
Alex said "it's a whole different kind of game" when the Knights play the Rebels.
"We try to be the more physical team. We try to hit harder. We try to get to the ball quicker. We want to win every aspect of the game. It's that kind of rivalry."
Casey said the annual battles with Boyle County "haven't gotten to the point where we're fighting all the time, but there's nothing light-hearted about it at all."
And Lexington Catholic's triplet option is ready to roll.
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotesBlog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com