DANVILLE — Boyle County finally got to let loose with a Rebels' yell again after its annual regular-season football showdown with Class 4A district rival Lexington Catholic Friday night.
Boyle County's defense made the big plays in a 22-13 win, its first over the Knights after falling to them in the regular-season and playoffs the last two years.
"We haven't been playing real good defense all year," Rebels Coach Larry French said. "But our kids came together tonight and played hard. They came up big."
Boyle County's 'D' came up huge in the closing minutes. Lexington Catholic, trailing 19-13, took possession on its own 20 with just over three minutes left, more than enough time for junior quarterback Reese Ryan to engineer a comeback.
But Levi McKinney turned it into a Knightmare when he intercepted a short pass over the middle. The Rebels then iced the victory with a 30-yard field goal with 30 seconds left.
"I remember watching all our seniors cry last year when we lost to them, and I just couldn't let it happen to us this year," McKinney said.
"This was a big win. It gives us the opportunity to have home-field advantage through the playoffs."
Josiah Robbins was another hero for No. 9 Boyle County, which ran its record to 7-0. The sophomore quarterback/safety had a 17-yard run for a touchdown in the first half, and picked off a pass in the end zone in the second half.
Robbins wound up completing six of 11 passes for 94 yards, and ran for 34 yards, including that first-half score.
"It was terrible watching our seniors walk off the field the last two years (after losing to Lexington Catholic)," Robbins said. "You don't want to do that ever, whether you're a senior or not."
Robbins said Lexington Catholic "had me scared for a little bit" in the final minutes, but then McKinney made his pick. "I'm pretty proud of him for catching that ball," Robbins said.
Boyle County dominated the first half, taking a 13-0 lead on scores by Seph Burke and Robbins, and relying on its rock-solid defense.
No. 5 Lexington Catholic (4-3) threatened only once in the half when it had first down on the Boyle County 4. The Knights went backward from there. After a 3-yard loss and an incomplete pass, Justin Roution sacked Ryan for a 14-yard loss. Ryan's pass to the end zone on fourth down fell short.
Roution was sick on the sidelines between plays, but he didn't let that keep him from making his big sack.
"I threw up three or four times, but you gotta play through stuff," he said.
The Knights scored midway through the third quarter when Ryan threw a 37-yard TD strike to Sam Letton, making it 13-7.
But the Rebels answered with a drive that included a 52-yard pass from Robbins to McKinney. Burke, who finished the night with 87 yards rushing, capped it with an 8-yard TD run.
"Credit (Boyle County)," Catholic Coach Bill Letton said. "When we scored, they had good answers. We've got to get the momentum and keep the momentum."
French never was comfortable as long as there was time on the clock.
"They've got big-play potential with three guys (Marcelis Logan, Letton and David Bouvier), who can score from anywhere on the field," he said.
Ryan completed 12 of 28 passes for 181 yards, one score and was picked off three times. Bouvier had five catches for 95 yards. Logan led the ground attack with 93 yards on 16 carries.
Letton expects to make another trip to Boyle County next month for a rematch in the playoffs.
"The Friday before Thanksgiving, we plan on being here," he said.
Lexington Catholic 0 0 7 6 — 13
Boyle County 7 6 6 3 — 22
BC--Seph Burke 1 run (Addison Coffey kick). BC--Josiah Robbins 17 run (kick failed). LC--Sam Letton 37 pass from Reese Ryan (Donovan Morris kick). BC--Burke 8 run (kick failed). LC--Marcelis Logan 37 run (run failed). BC--Coffey 30 field goal
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.