DANVILLE — Boyle County's black-clad football team put its own spin on "Black Friday" as it held off defending state champion Lexington Catholic 23-16 in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs.
An overflow crowd at Ballard Robinson Field watched the showdown between top-10 teams.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
No. 4 Boyle County made more big plays on both sides of the ball to turn back the No. 7 Knights for the second time this season.
Boyle County (13-0) advances to play at No. 5 Bell County (13-0) in the state semifinals next week.
"They just get tougher from here on out," first-year Boyle County coach Larry French said.
Rees MacShara was the offensive star for the Rebels. He rushed for 127 yards, including touchdowns of 44 and 26 yards in the first half.
The speedy 5-foot-9, 170-pound junior added a TD catch on a trick play in the second half that turned out to be the difference.
Boyle County's defense — led by Lamar Dawson, Ben Slone, Jeremy Bardin and Jordan Aumiller — did its job, just as it did when the Rebels beat Lexington Catholic 14-11 during the regular season.
"That was a great high school football game between two great teams," French said. "We did what we needed to do, especially on defense. When you hold Lexington Catholic to 16 points, that's pretty daggone good."
Lexington Catholic, which won state titles in 2005 and '07, lost for only the second time in its last 16 playoff games in four years.
"We fell short of our ultimate goal this year, but our seniors are leaving a legacy that will live a long time," Knights Coach Bill Letton said.
Lexington Catholic went down fighting.
Boyle County, which led 13-9 at halftime, added a 25-yard field goal by J.T. Ross to make it 16-9 midway through the third quarter.
The Rebels added a TD a few minutes later on a play called the "hook and ladder."
Quarterback Phillip Mason threw a short pass to Bret Marshall, who lateraled to MacShara, who was trailing the play.
MacShara raced untouched to the end zone to finish the 35-yard scoring play and give Boyle County a 23-9 lead.
It was the first time the Rebels ran the play all year.
MacShara called it "a big wrinkle" in the team's conservative game plan.
"They executed it to perfection," French said.
Lexington Catholic wasn't finished, though.
It put together a 17-play, 71-yard scoring drive, capped by a short TD pass from Nic Ward to Devon Williams that made it 23-16 with 4:40 left.
The Knights then sent a chill through the Boyle County fans when Lee Ramsey recovered an onside kick for the visitors.
Dawson admitted he was "pretty nervous" at that point. But MacShara said he wasn't the least bit worried. "I knew our defense could stop them again."
The Rebels' defense did just that on four downs, and the hosts got the ball back.
Aumiller, who has committed to UK, made a key catch and lunged for a first down to keep the chains moving as Boyle County killed most of the remaining time.
"Coach always tells us that winners make plays and losers make excuses," Aumiller said of his clutch catch.
Boyle County could probably lay claim to Lexington's city championship.
Besides beating Lexington Catholic twice, the Rebels also beat Henry Clay, Lafayette and Paul Dunbar.
Lexington Catholic 6 3 0 7—16
Boyle County 13 0 10 0—23
BC—Rees MacShara 44 run (kick blocked). LC—Lee Ramsey 21 pass from Nic Ward (kick failed). BC—MacShara 26 run (J.T. Ross kick). LC—Lane Pumphrey 28 field goal. BC—Ross 25 field goal. BC—MacShara 38 pass from Phillip Mason (Ross kick). LC—Devon Williams 5 pass from Ward (Pumphrey kick).
Records—Lexington Catholic 8-5; Boyle County 13-0.
Rushing yds 93 197
Passing yds 158 95
Passes 39-24-1 14-7-0
Punts-avg. 5-33.6 4-34.0
Penalties-yds 3-24 6-51
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1