Friday football digest, week 14

It’s regional finals week, but it might as well be called second-chance week in Danville.

The only two Advocate-area teams still alive in the state football playoffs will be playing in long-anticipated rematches tonight with regional championships on the line. And for all the talk about taking it one game at a time, these are the games that Boyle County and Danville have been working toward ever since they lost to Lexington Catholic and Somerset.

Both the Rebels and Admirals hit the road tonight for those rematches — Boyle at Lexington Catholic in the Class 4A, Region 3 final, and Danville at Somerset in the Class 2A, Region 4 final — and both will be trying to do what they could not do in their first district games.(Follow these links for a refresher course on Lexington Catholic’s 24-21 win over Boyle on Sept. 28 and Somerset’s 24-7 win over Danville on Oct. 5.)

Can they do it? Well, yes, if …

If Boyle’s defense can play as well as it played last week in its win at Russell County. If the Rebels can rattle Reese Ryan, the quarterback who has been starting for Lexington Catholic since all-star Kyle Bolin was injured in the Boyle game and who will face the biggest game of his life tonight. If the offense can limit its mistakes, at least to a number smaller than that of its opponent. If the Rebels can run the ball more consistently than they did at Russell.

If Danville can regain the control of the line of scrimmage, both on offense and defense, that yielded to Somerset in their first meeting. If the Admirals can keep Somerset’s passing game from running wild. If they can establish at least a little bit of a passing game of their own after going 0-for-Prestonsburg last week. If a team that doesn’t seem to be convinced that it can beat Somerset — a team that is completely confident it can beat Danville, by the way — somehow breaks through that wall.

Will they do it? Well, it’s possible. No one would be stunned if Boyle or Danville or both of them come home with regional championship trophies. To do so, Boyle will have to end a three-game losing streak to Lexington Catholic and Danville will have to end a five-game losing streak to Somerset. Both teams are good enough to do it, but my gut tells me neither one will.

The picks:

  • Lexington Catholic over Boyle County.
  • Somerset over Danville.

Last week: 2-1; season: 45-16 (.738).

* * *

Tonight’s two games match teams that are rivals within their respective districts, something that is not uncommon in tonight’s round of regional finals. Playoff regions are typically made up of four teams each from two districts, but of the 24 regional finals being contested tonight, 10 are between teams that finished first and second in the same district and three others include No. 3 seeds.

That leaves only 11 games matching two No. 1 seeds, which means that form held less than half the time statewide. All four Class A finals are 1-vs.-1 games, while none of the games in 6A and only one game each in 2A and 5A are.

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