Football playoffs mark a special time of year.
Especially Friday night, when Boone County turned a pair of special-team plays into touchdowns.
Thus the Rebels rolled to a 21-0 win at Lafayette in the Class 6A state quarterfinals.
"Those are big plays," Boone Coach Rick Thompson said. "We tell our kids special teams are special, and we came up with a couple of big plays there."
Never miss a local story.
The Rebels (9-4) will take a three-game winning streak on the road next weekend to face Scott County in the state semifinals.
Lafayette (9-4) fell in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. The Generals were trying for their first semifinals berth since 1985.
"Great game, great competition," Generals Coach Carl Hayden said. "But I'm prouder than heck of these boys. We've had to overcome a lot of adversity, and to do the things that we have done really is amazing."
Boone turned its special teams excellence into a 14-0 halftime lead.
Midway through the first quarter, a Lafayette punt was negated because of a personal foul.
On the re-kick, Robbie Hiles broke through to block Clay Helvey's kick near the 8-yard line. The ball squirted into the end zone, where Denzel Cain recovered for a touchdown.
On both kicks, Lafayette used a swinging gate, shifting multiple blockers wide along the scrimmage line.
"The play before, I'd seen a wide-open gap and I just stayed, watching for that fake," Hiles said. "Then when they got the penalty, I said 'let 'em kick it again, let 'em kick it again,' and right when he got it, I just hauled after that ball."
Another errant punt play with 3:33 left in the half set up the other score.
Helvey bobbled the snap and was swarmed by Jeremiah Williams on his 15.
Three plays later, Cody Rodriguez punched into the end zone from 1 yard out.
Williams also stopped Lafayette's best drive of the half, coming up with an end-zone interception late in the first quarter.
Rodriguez was a big reason the Rebels held Lafayette to six first downs. The Generals went 0-for-9 on third-down chances, 0-for-3 on fourth down.
Rodriguez had three of Boone County's four sacks, which he said trumped the fun of a touchdown run.
"Honestly, the sacks. I'd never had a sack coming into the season. ... Never had one the whole year, so I got three today," he said.
Boone nearly got a third "special" TD late in the quarter. But officials ruled that, rather than a muffed punt, a Lafayette returner narrowly missed any contact with the ball until it crossed the goal line. Hiles recovered what first appeared to be a TD but was ruled a touchback.
The Rebels did score two plays later, though — the first play of the fourth quarter — when Kurt Curry returned an interception 23 yards to the end zone.
Boone won despite not completing a pass, rushing for 188 yards.
The Rebels kept Lafayette go-to back Bubba Johnson under wraps. After rushing for 480 yards and four touchdowns in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Johnson was held to 59 yards on 13 carries Friday.
Three Rebels finished with 4.5 tackles. Lafayette's Justin Carr totaled 12.
"We got too far behind to claw our way out," Hayden said. "It's a process. You learn from it, grow from it, make things better. Lord willing, we'll be back here next year and make it three times in a row."
Boone County 7 7 0 7—21
Lafayette 0 0 0 0— 0
BC—Denzel Cain 8 blocked-punt return (Cory Black kick); BC—Cody Rodriguez 1 run (Black kick); BC—Kurt Curry 23 interception return (Black kick).
Records—Boone Co. 9-4; Lafayette 9-4.