We’ve established that the Boyle County-Danville rivalry is a bit more bitter this year, but is it also a bit better? The answer, it appears, is yes.
Not because of the tense relations between the two sides in this crosstown clash mind you, though that certainly doesn’t seem to be about to change any time soon. That’s something we just have to live with. No, it’s better because for the first time in four years, tonight’s game at Admiral Stadium has the potential to be an h0nest-to-goodness ballgame. Which is to say that four the first time in four years, Danville figures to be a factor.
The Admirals have been less that completely competitive in this game from 2008-10, when they were outscored 120-22 by Boyle, which has now won six of the last eight, nine of the last 12 and 11 of the last 15 games since stopping Danville’s 15-game streak in the series in the 1996 Class 2A playoffs.
I’m not going to jump up on a tree stump and say Danville will win this game. The consensus pick is Boyle by everyone on the Advocate sports staff and at last check today by a 47-13 margin in a Bluegrasspreps.com poll, and I’m right there with those picking the Rebels. But I will say that Danville can win, something that couldn’t honestly be said in the last three years.
The Admirals are better now, and it’s no stretch at all to think that they could beat Boyle for the first time since 2007. First, however, they’ll have to hold onto the ball. Nine fumbles in two games is a dangerously high number, and another four of five fumbles by Danville tonight almost certainly means a Boyle win.
On the other hand, here’s what the Rebels have to do to extend their series winning streak to four: Keep their drives alive. The Boyle offense stalled out too often last week against Allen County-Scottsville, as a result both of Allen’s defense and of its own mistakes. If they’re held to three touchdowns or less tonight, Danville will be either within striking range or perhaps in front.
What will keep this from being a great game is the fact that both of these teams still have plenty of problems to iron out following their first two games, and those problems can’t be entirely ironed out in one week. What will make it a good one is the question of which team has made more progress in the six days since they last played.
A few miles west of Danville, Lincoln County faces a crucial game at Washington County. It isn’t a must-win, but it’s at the very least a must-play-better for the Patriots, who were outscored 84-7 in their first two games. They get a chance at an opponent that isn’t quite as good as Danville or Anderson County, and they need to make the most of it.
Mercer County will also be looking for a better result in its home opener against Madison Central in a battle of rebuilding programs. Like Lincoln, the Titans find themselves in a better spot than last week, but is Madison Central a step ahead of them on the road back to respectability? Elsewhere, Garrard County faces a gut-check in a game at Lloyd Memorial coming off its near-miss at Danville, and Casey County faces a tough road test against a Green County team that will try to beat the Rebels at their own running game.
Here, then, are this week’s predictions, with a couple of changes from my preseason picks:
- Boyle County over Danville.
- Garrard County over Lloyd Memorial.
- Green County over Casey County.
- Madison Central over Mercer County.
- Washington County over Lincoln County.
Last week: 5-0; season: 8-1 (.889).