DANVILLE — Kyle Bolin has never thrown a prettier pass, Casey Nash has never made a bigger catch, and Lexington Catholic hasn't enjoyed a sweeter victory in years.
That was the bottom line on the Knights' 20-13 victory over two-time defending Class 4A champion Boyle County on Friday night.
It was Lexington Catholic's first victory over the Rebels since 2007. Boyle County beat the Knights six times in a row after that, including playoff victories the past three years.
Lexington Catholic finally walked off the field winners again, thanks in part to a play the Knights call "Popeye."
The score was tied 13-13 with just over 5 minutes left when Bolin, a junior quarterback, dropped back from his own 23-yard line and fired a strike to Nash, a junior receiver, streaking down the left sideline.
Nash caught the ball in full gallop around the Boyle County 40 and raced untouched to the end zone for a 77-yard touchdown.
"Casey's got a lot of speed, but I kind of worried I'd overthrown him," Bolin said. "But then I saw him grab it out of the air and he was gone."
Nash credited "a great throw" and a "great hold-up by the offensive line" for making his heroics possible.
Coach Bill Letton called it "a spot-on perfect pass.
"Kyle wanted it the play before, but we got to it on third down," Letton said with a smile.
There were smiles all around Lexington Catholic's post-game gathering as the Knights earned home-field advantage if they meet Boyle County in the playoffs again.
"Oh, man, we've been thinking about this all year," Nash said. "One of our main goals every year is to beat Boyle County because they're a great team. But we showed if we put things together, we can play with anybody in the state."
Bolin, who committed to Louisville last week, completed 23 of 38 passes for 369 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. His main targets were Adam Bush (11 catches, 115 yards), Nash (five catches, 186 yards) and David Bouvier (six catches, 67 yards).
The Knights needed them all because their running game generated only 22 yards.
Lexington Catholic led 13-6 at halftime on Bolin's 6-yard TD run and a pair of 32-yard field goals by Jake Pumphrey.
The Rebels' score came on Casey Whittle's 9-yard TD pass to Steven Talbott. Josh Mesmer blocked the extra point, snapping Will Harris' string of 107 consecutive conversions.
Boyle County caught up midway through the third quarter. A 31-yard pass from Whittle to Talbott led to Jesse Mattingly's 3-yard TD run.
Coach Larry French's Rebels looked like they were grinding toward a go-ahead score when they put together a 10-minute, 22-play drive that carried them to the Lexington Catholic 15. But on the 22nd snap, Harris missed a 33-yard field goal.
Lexington Catholic then took over and called on "Popeye" to take the lead.
Boyle County had one last chance and drove to the Knights' 29. But on fourth down, Whittle's pass was picked off by Adam Wachs.
Mesmer led the winners' defense with 10 tackles, backed up by Wachs, Alex Nash and Jordan Artrip.
Boyle County rushed for 93 yards, led by Zach Hester's 75 and Devon Cox's 61.
Whittle threw for 127.
Lexington Catholic 20, Boyle Co. 13
Lexington Catholic 7 6 0 7—20
Boyle County 0 6 7 0—13
LC—Kyle Bolin 6 run (Jake Pumphrey kick). LC—Pumphrey 32 field goal. BC—Steven Talbott 9 pass from Casey Whittle (kick blocked). LC—Pumphrey 32 field goal. BC—Jesse Mattingly 3 run (Will Harris kick). LC—Casey Nash 77 pass from Bolin (Pumphrey kick).
Records—Lexington Catholic 6-1; Boyle County 4-3