When Lexington Catholic trailed Boyle County 16-0 at halftime of Friday night's Class 4A playoff game, Knights Coach Bill Letton didn't rant in the locker room to get his team fired up.
"He was as cool as can be," Knights' senior receiver David Bouvier said. "It was like he knew something, like he knew what was coming."
What came was an inspired second half rally that carried Lexington Catholic to a 27-16 victory.
The Knights (11-2) advance to play at defending state champ Highlands (12-1) in the next week's semifinals.
Bouvier had a big night against Boyle County: eight catches for 130 yards, with several receptions coming on critical downs.
Amoh Kumengisa led the ground attack, rushing 16 times for 70 yards and two scores.
Sophomore quarterback Reese Ryan, after a shaky first half, lit up the Rebels the rest of the night.
And so did the Knights' defense.
Letton said he wished he could say he foresaw his Knights' comeback, but it was just a matter of his team buckling down and playing basic, solid football.
If the Knights are to have a chance to knock off Highlands, they can't play like they did in the first half against Boyle County.
The Rebels, who let a 21-12 lead slip away in a 24-21 regular-season loss to Lexington Catholic, dominated the first half of the rematch.
Seph Burke caught a touchdown pass, ran for another score, and Will Harris added a 29-yard field goal to give the visitors a 16-0 lead.
Lexington Catholic's offense, meanwhile, could muster only 87 yards. Ryan had several of his passes dropped, and was just 3-for-13 for 40 yards.
"Boyle County took us out of everything we tried to do," Letton said.
Ryan, who took over at QB when senior star Kyle Bolin was injured in the first Boyle County game, said Letton was encouraging at halftime.
"He told me I needed to stop hesitating, and to just step in and make the throws."
On the first series of the second half, Ryan connected on three consecutive passes, including a 47-yarder to Casey Nash, that put the Knights at the Boyle County 10. Marcelis Logan carried to the 1 but fumbled into the end zone. Luckily for the Knights, Bouvier fell on the ball for a TD.
"That drive gave us the momentum, and we kept it."
Lexington Catholic scored again three minutes later, this time on Kumengisa's 4-yard run to make it 16-13.
The Knights got the ball back on Derek Hayden's interception, and they took a 20-16 lead on another short TD run by Kumengisa.
Lexington Catholic's defense, led by Alex Nash, Michael Vogelsang and Nick Foster, stymied the Rebels at every turn.
The Knights added the clinching score midway through the fourth quarter on Ryan's short TD toss to Noah Mitchell.
After managing only 87 yards in the first half, Lexington Catholic had 306 in the second. Boyle County mustered only 81 yards in the second half after totaling 166 in the first.
Rebels Coach Larry French said the tale of two halves was simple:
"Lexington Catholic came out in the second half and we couldn't stop them. Our defense was back on its heels. And our offense couldn't get anything going.
"They just wanted it a lot more than we did."
Boyle Co. 6 10 0 0—16
Lexington Catholic 0 0 20 7—27
BC—Seph Burke 8 pass from Casey Whittle (run failed). BC—Will Harris 29 field goal. BC—Burke 2 run (Harris kick). LC—David Bouvier recovered fumble in end zone (pass failed). LC—Amoh Kumengisa 3 run (Bobby Jacoby kick). LC—Kumengisa 2 run (Jacoby kick). LC—Noah Mitchell 3 pass from Reese Ryan (Jacoby kick).
Records—Lexington Catholic 11-2, Boyle Co. 8-5.