The big game
I’m bouncing back from a bout with two separate illnesses in the same week, just in time to crank out a few heavily medicated thoughts on the biggest game of the high school football regular season in these parts:
Danville-Boyle County has long since a firm foothold on the list of the state’s best rivalries. Think of the games that make statewide news — not just local news — every year and you think of this one along with games like Covington Catholic-Highlands and Mayfield-Paducah Tilghman. It may never be St. X-Trinity, but nothing else will be, either.
And when it comes to pure city-county rivalries, this game has been by far the biggest in Kentucky since 1994, the first of three straight seasons that the Rebels and Admirals met in the regular season and the playoffs.
Those are the games that really elevated this series to what it is today and vaulted way above other local turf wars such as Hopkinsville-Christian County, Somerset-Pulaski County, Paris-Bourbon County and Bowling Green-Warren Central.
Forty-five games have been played in the series, which Danville leads 31-13-1. Here are some nuggets from within the list of scores:
- Danville won last year’s meeting 35-33 but hasn’t won two straight games in this series since Boyle snapped a 19-game losing streak with a win in the 1996 Class AA playoffs.
- Danville’s 19-game winning streak began in 1980 and ended with the 1996 regular-season game. Boyle’s longest winning streak in this series is three games, from 1999-2001 and again from 2003-05.
- There have been 10 shutouts in the series, counting the 0-0 tie in the first game in 1965 as two. Danville shut out Boyle in 1967, ’68, ’83, ’85, ’90 and ’94, and Boyle shut out Danville in 1996 and 2000.
- Danville has outscored Boyle 1,223-592 over the life of the series. The Admirals’ 31 wins have been by an average score of 34.4-8.6, while the Rebels’ 13 wins have been by an average score of 25.1-12.0.
- The winning team has averaged 36 points in the last nine games, while the losing team has averaged 25.5 over the last four years.
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The newest rivalry between two local teams also plays out tonight when Lincoln County visits Mercer County. It’s hard to believe these schools that are so close to each other have only played six times, and tonight’s game is the first since 1999.
This game is compelling because it matches two coaches, Lincoln’s Larry French and Mercer’s Marty Jaggers, who each previously worked at the other school. But enough water has gone under the bridge to keep this from being any kind of grudge match.
And this rivalry might not have much time to grow. They’re in the same Class 5A district for now, but Mercer is a smallish 5A team, and Jaggers believes the Titans could drop to 4A in 2009.
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The other game the Advocate staff is covering tonight matches Jackson County and Garrard County. Part of me has to pull for Jackson since it’s my alma mater, and I always felt like I might have made a decent defensive player on defense had the school had football when I was there. After all, I wasn’t half bad in the flag football games we had in PE class.
The Generals just started playing varsity football last year and have four wins in their first 12 games, including two this season, which is more than I could have hoped for. They’ve played every game so far on the road because they haven’t built a home field yet.
But this is a tall order. It’s Jackson’s first game in its Class 3A district, and Garrard is by far the best team the Generals have played to date. They’re in over their heads here, at least for now.
Now for the rest of the weekly picks. Garrard and Lincoln fooled me last week, but it was good to see both teams get those wins. If I miss any this week, I’ll just blame the medication:
- Danville over Boyle County.
- Mercer County over Lincoln County.
- Wayne County over Casey County.
- Garrard County over Jackson County.
Last week: 4-2. For the season: 9-3.