I wouldn’t advocate driving U.S. 27 with your eyes closed, but longtime followers of Lexington Catholic football surely know the roads that lead to Boyle County — and to other area schools — very, very well.
Lexington Catholic has been a regular visitor to this area over the years, playing 40 games against local teams in its 19 seasons of football, with one more to be added to the list in tonight’s Class 4A, Region 3 final at Rebel Stadium.
There have been too many classic games to mention — the Knights have played 10 postseason games against the locals — and it’s widely expected that tonight’s game will be a memorable battle between two teams with state title aspirations.
Lexington Catholic has played Boyle more often than any other of our teams, with tonight’s game being the 12th meeting since 1997. But the Knights have played every other local school, beginning with Casey County in 1991, Lexington Catholic’s first varsity season, and including eight games against now-defunct Harrodsburg.
When Lexington Catholic began district play in 1993, it was grouped in a Class A district with Garrard County and Harrodsburg and lost every game to those two schools through 1996, after which the Knights jumped to 2A and began playing Boyle, Danville and Mercer County (and continued playing Garrard) on a regular basis. Local schools were 14-1 against the Knights until they started winning more frequently in 1997.
The Knights played four different local schools in each three straight years, 1998-2000. In ’98 and ’99, six of their 13 games were against local schools, including two playoff games.
The district games ended with a 2001 realignment, and there was only one meeting with Danville and one with Boyle from 2001-06. Boyle and Lexington Catholic then became district rivals again in 2007.
Here’s a breakdown of each area school’s record against Lexington Catholic:
- Boyle County: 6-5 overall, 1-1 playoffs
- Casey County: 1-1
- Danville: 2-3 overall, 1-0 playoffs
- Garrard County: 4-5 overall, 0-1 playoffs
- Harrodsburg: 7-1 overall, 2-0 playoffs
- Lincoln County: 0-1
- Mercer County: 0-4
- All area schools: 20-20 overall, 5-3 playoffs
And in case you’re trying to recall some of those games, here’s the full list:
- 1991: Casey County 8, Lexington Catholic 0
- 1992: Lexington Catholic 27, Casey County 0
- 1993: Garrard County 54, Lexington Catholic 13
- 1993: Harrodsburg 30, Lexington Catholic 10
- 1994: Garrard County 49, Lexington Catholic 19
- 1994: Harrodsburg 28, Lexington Catholic 14
- 1994: Harrodsburg 41, Lexington Catholic 27 (second-round playoff)
- 1995: Harrodsburg 33, Lexington Catholic 30
- 1995: Garrard County 30, Lexington Catholic 13
- 1995: Harrodsburg 38, Lexington Catholic 35 (second-round playoff)
- 1996: Harrodsburg 32, Lexington Catholic 10
- 1996: Garrard County 33, Lexington Catholic 14
- 1996: Harrodsburg 36, Lexington Catholic 7
- 1997: Boyle County 28, Lexington Catholic 27, OT
- 1997: Danville 38, Lexington Catholic 26
- 1997: Lexington Catholic 41, Mercer County 12
- 1997: Lexington Catholic 34, Garrard County 20
- 1997: Lexington Catholic 30, Danville 29 (second-round playoff)
- 1998: Lexington Catholic 21, Danville 0
- 1998: Lexington Catholic 44, Boyle County 17
- 1998: Lexington Catholic 28, Mercer County 14
- 1998: Lexington Catholic 30, Garrard County 0
- 1998: Lexington Catholic 28, Boyle County 13 (second-round playoff)
- 1998: Danville 27, Lexington Catholic 25 (regional final)
- 1999: Lexington Catholic 62, Harrodsburg 13
- 1999: Lexington Catholic 43, Garrard County 14
- 1999: Boyle County 29, Lexington Catholic 21
- 1999: Lexington Catholic 60, Mercer County 7
- 1999: Lexington Catholic 22, Garrard County 7 (second-round playoff)
- 1999: Boyle County 21, Lexington Catholic 17 (regional final)
- 2000: Lexington Catholic 42, Lincoln County 6
- 2000: Boyle County 16, Lexington Catholic 14
- 2000: Lexington Catholic 42, Garrard County 7
- 2000: Lexington Catholic 42, Mercer County 0
- 2000: Boyle County 18, Lexington Catholic 16 (regional final)
- 2002: Lexington Catholic 32, Danville 26
- 2004: Lexington Catholic 43, Boyle County 42
- 2007: Lexington Catholic 18, Boyle County 14
- 2007: Lexington Catholic 41, Boyle County 12 (second-round playoff)
- 2008: Boyle County 14, Lexington Catholic 11
Now to the business of picking this game, which has never been easy. By the time Boyle started playing Lexington Catholic in ’97, the Knights were no longer a pushover. Their first meeting was decided in overtime, seven of their 11 meetings have been decided by eight points or less, six have been decided by four points or less and three have been decided by one or two points.
Lexington Catholic is, as I thought it would be, a better team than it was when Boyle visited in September. The Knights seem to be getting their offensive house in order, and coach Bill Letton said better line play has a lot to do with that.
Throw out a shutout loss at Highlands and the Knights are averaging 55.5 points since their loss to the Rebels. The other side of the coin is that most of those games were against inferior opponents.
Boyle still hangs its hat on defense, having allowed only 80 points in 12 games. Only two teams in the state have allowed fewer points: Bell County (20) and St. Xavier (51).
That defense was good enough to stop Lexington Catholic in September, and it had better be tonight. The Rebels won’t win a shootout; the Knights probably won’t win a defensive struggle. But the Knights will still have a chance in a low-scoring game.
The one factor the tips the scales toward my pick is Larry French. More specifically, it’s the fact that I have gotten burned time after time for underestimating him last year at Lincoln and this year at Boyle. His Rebels could very easily take the gaspipe tonight, and they could just as easily win three more games and a state title. I’m not ready to pick three wins yet, but I’ll pick one:
- Boyle County 17, Lexington Catholic 14
Last week: 1-2; playoffs 5-2 (.714); season 50-11 (.820).