BOWLING GREEN — Boyle County, following the script of last year's title game, rode a strong second half to a 21-14 victory over Allen County-Scottsville in the Class 4A finals Friday night.
The Rebels' repeat, on the strength of 30 consecutive victories, gives them seven state championships — six of them undefeated — since 1999.
Boyle County's first five came courtesy of romps in the finals. Not so the last couple.
Last year the Rebels rallied from a 22-7 halftime deficit and slipped past Lone Oak 42-39 in double-overtime.
This year they trailed Allen County-Scottsville 7-0 at the break, and the 13,167 fans in WKU's Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium had to wonder if a huge upset was brewing.
But Boyle County Coach Larry French gave his players a stern lecture at halftime.
"We really challenged them, and they responded with a tremendous second half," French said.
"Determination and our play up front. Our line was awesome," said Chris Cook, who carried the running load the last 24 minutes.
"We've got more heart than anybody in the state, and we showed that tonight."
Boyle County scored on its first three possessions of the second half to take a 21-7 lead.
Cook was the hammer. After carrying five times for 34 yards in the first half, he ran 23 times for 121 yards and a touchdown in the second.
"We just kept handing it to him and he kept moving it," Boyle County's Lamar Dawson said.
After Cook's 19-yard run tied the score, Dawson went 6 yards for the go-ahead TD late in the third quarter.
Boyle County added to its lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter on Devon Cox's 4-yard run.
Allen County-Scottsville wasn't done, though.
Using backup quarterback Matt Hobdy in passing situations, the Patriots struck back with Hobdy hitting Jacob Costello on a 38-yard TD pass with 6:56 left.
Hobdy had given the underdogs their 7-0 lead when he hooked up with Zach Tabor on a 12-yard TD pass on the last play of the first half.
The Patriots had one last chance to tie it when they got the ball at the Boyle County 24 with 1:20 left, but the Rebels' defense smothered the threat.
French wasn't surprised by Allen County-Scottsville's success through the air.
"We've given up the big play against the pass all year," he said. "We were just glad they didn't go to it earlier."
Coming into the finals, Hobdy had thrown only four passes all year, and completed two for 71 yards. In the title game he was 6-for-7 for 141 yards and two TDs.
The Patriots' ground game didn't get much traction against Boyle County.
The Rebels' defense, led by Dawson, Cox, Zach Hester and Ryan Wilson, limited Allen County-Scottsville to 87 yards rushing.
"Our defense stepped up the second half," Dawson said. "And our offense did the job, too.
"It feels amazing to win it all again."
French agreed that it was "a great feeling" to add another championship to the Rebels' stash.
So did Cook, who was overshadowed by Rees MacShara last season. But Cook got his turn as a featured back this year and made the most of it.
"I really feel part of this one," he said. "And I think this team is just as good as some of those Boyle County teams in the early 2000s."
It's hard to argue with another undefeated state championship season.