More often than not, football is as simple as blocking and tackling.
Lexington Catholic did those basics better Friday night to knock visiting Boyle County from the unbeaten ranks 26-17.
"Our kids really battled, made the plays on defense, tackled well, created turnovers," Knights Coach Mark Perry said. "I was really proud of the way we played up front tonight. I thought we did a nice job of getting off on the ball and winning the line of scrimmage. I thought that was the key to the game."
Catholic (4-3, 2-0 in Class 4A, District 5) got big nights from quarterback Reese Ryan and running back Jaylen Jones.
Ryan completed 17 of 23 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns.
"I think we just came out, and we executed well," Ryan said. "It feels incredible. I'm really proud of my team."
Jones ran 25 times for 184 yards and a touchdown. That pushed his season rushing yardage total to 1,144.
"That definitely felt great, but I owe it all to my O-line," Jones said of topping the 1,000-yard mark. "Without them, I wouldn't have reached it this early in the season. We work hard every day in practice to get where we are, and I'm so proud of them and ... I'm so proud of everybody on the team."
Chase Boling led Catholic in tackles with 10.5.
No. 22 Boyle (6-1, 1-1) was led on offense by quarterback Josiah Robbins. He ran 14 times for 88 yards and completed 7 of 20 passes for 92 yards and a score.
Catholic found the end zone on its first three possessions and led 19-10 at halftime.
"We didn't do a good job of tackling in the first half," Boyle Coach Chuck Smith said. "That's when we just got behind, we couldn't catch up. We didn't have the offense to catch up. And the reason we got behind, I think, is we didn't do a very good job of tackling their players at all. I think, at the end of the day, they wanted it more than we did."
Addison Coffey's 37-yard field goal gave Boyle an early 3-0 lead, but Catholic answered with a nine-play, 85-yard touchdown drive to lead 6-3. The score came on a fourth-and-six pass from Ryan to Jordan Hatton, covering 22 yards.
The Knights got the ball right back on Sid Sharp's fumble recovery and scored their second TD in 1:07 when Ryan hit J.J. Ogbogu with a 34-yard strike. Ogbogu would finish with eight catches for 77 yards.
After a Boyle punt, Catholic put together a 16-play drive of 89 yards, capped by Jones' 23-yard dash to the end zone.
The Rebels got a much-needed score with 1:01 left in the half. Robbins' 34-yard TD pass to Brandon Devins was first deflected by a Knight.
Boyle pulled to within 19-17 midway through the third quarter, getting a 1-yard TD by by Aidana Stewart-Hoskins.
Hagen Ellis, who led Boyle with 11 tackles, soon recovered a Catholic fumble. But the Rebels were unable to convert the turnover into points.
Catholic then scored the final points of the game on a fourth-and-seven conversion — a 17-yard pass from Ryan to Andy Thompson.
Boyle got the ball three more times but fumbled (recovered by Braxton Couch), turned the ball over on downs and was intercepted (by Boling).
"It was a great game," Jones said. "I'm so excited right now. Our team played amazing. I couldn't be more happy with the performance we had.
Lexington Catholic 26, Boyle county 17
Boyle County 3 7 7 0 —17
Lexington Catholic 12 7 7 0—26
BC—Addison Coffey 37 field goal; LC—Jordan Hatton 22 pass from Reese Ryan (kick failed); LC—J.J. Ogbogu 34 pass from Ryan (pass failed); LC—Jaylen Jones 23 run (Donovan Morris kick); BC—Brandon Devins 34 pass from Josiah Robbins (Coffey kick); BC—Aidan Stewart-Hoskins 1 run (Coffey kick); LC—Andy Thompson 17 pass from Ryan (Morris kick).