Boyle County versus Lexington Catholic always translates to high-emotion football.
No more so than Friday night, a meeting of the state's top two teams in Class 4A, with Boyle pulling off a 14-11 victory at Catholic.
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As for emotions, two touchdowns nullified by penalties had Catholic Coach Bill Letton steamed. Afterward, he held his tongue.
"You saw the same game I saw," he said when asked about the nullified scores. "You write what you saw about our effort."
The Rebels, 5-0 and No. 1 in 4A, are the first district foe to beat Catholic since doing so in the 2000 playoffs. Including playoffs, Catholic had won 46 in a row against district teams.
The Knights, 2-3 and No. 2 in 4A, are defending state champs.
Rees MacShara, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound junior running back, scored Boyle's touchdowns on runs of 2 and 46 yards.
Catholic got a 47-yard field goal by Lane Pumphrey and a late touchdown on a 1-yard pass from Nic Ward to Devon Williams.
"Our kids played hard, Catholic's kids played hard, and it just came down to the fourth quarter," Boyle Coach Larry French said. "Fortunately, we were ahead at the end of the fourth quarter. We're probably going to see these people again (in the playoffs)."
Boyle led 7-3 at halftime. All the scoring was set up by miscues.
Catholic didn't get a first down in the first quarter, yet led 3-0.
That came after Jordan Aumiller's short punt, which took some bounces backward for a net of 4 yards at the Boyle 37. Three plays gained 7 yards, and Pumphrey came on to kick a field goal.
Bret Marshall's interception set up Boyle's score, a 2-yard burst over left tackle by MacShara with 2:07 left in the half.
After Catholic went three-and-out, Boyle's try for a last-minute score nearly backfired.
Kevin Ebbit, who led Catholic with five tackles, returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown. The play was negated, though, by a late personal-foul flag for a blow to the head of Boyle quarterback Phillip Mason.
Letton was irate, arguing to no avail. He wasn't any happier when Ryan Least returned the second-half kickoff 99 yards to the end zone, only to have a block-in-the-back penalty bring the ball back to the Knights' 22-yard line.
"I don't have a clue until we look at the film," French said when asked if officials got the big calls correct. "But, for our part, we'll agree with them."
Boyle limited the Knights to 28 yards on 23 carries. Ben Slone led the Rebels with 6.5 tackles, including one for a loss. Grant Aumiller and Lamar Dawson added 5.5 each, with Aumiller notching two sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss.
"They've got tremendous launch up front," Letton said of Boyle's defense. "They're very disciplined in their gap reads out of their linebackers, and they play downhill real well."
Slone set up Boyle's third-quarter touchdown, blocking Pumphrey's 49-yard field-goal attempt. Five plays later, MacShara broke off his 46-yard run.
"(The) linemen opened up a good hole on that play," MacShara said. "I found it and went in, made the most out of it."
By the time Ward connected with Williams for a touchdown, only 2:40 remained.
MacShara recovered an onside kick, and Boyle was able to run out the clock.
Boyle Co. 14, Lex. Catholic 11
Boyle County 0 7 0 7—14
Lexington Catholic 3 0 0 8—11
LC—Lane Pumphrey 47 field goal; BC—Rees MacShara 2 run (J.T. Ross kick); BC—MacShara 46 run (Ross kick); LC—Nic Ward 1 pass to Devon Williams (Ward pass to Will Letton).
First downs 12 9
Rushes-yards 34-146 23-28
Passing yards69 160
Total offense plays-yards 56-215 55-188
Return yards 178 195
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 11-70 9-92
Punts-average 7-26 5-41.6