"We didn't get to see any tape on them," said Blue Devils coach Sam Simpson, "so we weren't real sure what to expect. After that first series, I said 'Now we've seen their tape. It's time to play.'"
The visiting Bobcats took a 7-0 lead on the game's opening possession, but Henry Clay responded with six consecutive touchdown drives en route to an impressive 42-16 victory.
Quarterback Salin Simpson led the Blue Devils' offensive attack by completing 15 of 17 passes for 191 yards and four touchdowns before giving way to his backup with four minutes left in the third quarter. At one point, he completed 13 consecutive passes, including a pair of strikes to high-profile tight end Sam Gardner, one to Chase Minnifield and another to Clark Jeter.
"I think he's a lot more confident in the system this year, and he's got a great offensive line blocking for him," Sam Simpson said of his quarterback and son. "He's also got some great receivers to throw it to."
Gardner is a 6-foot-5, 250-pound player sporting college scholarship offers from schools such as Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State and Oklahoma. He finished the game with four catches for 34 yards and red-zone scoring grabs of 3 and 5 yards.
Minnifield, meanwhile, has NFL bloodlines. Frank Minnifield starred as a cornerback for the Cleveland Browns in the 80s. His talented son was a jack of all trades for the Blue Devils, catching four passes for 42 yards and one score, returning a kickoff 66 yards to set up a score and intercepting a Bell County pass.
"We sacrificed a lot of Chase's offensive ability tonight because we had so much respect for (Steven) Hunter, their receiver," Simpson said. "He's really one of the best kids on the field, and Chase did a great job on him."
Hunter was limited to one reception for six yards.
The Blue Devils (3-0) are causing a buzz with victories over two-time defending Class 2A champ Belfry, Class 3A runner-up Boyle County and Bell County to open the season.
"That's a good football team," Bell County coach Dudley Hilton said. "They beat Belfry at Belfry and Boyle County at Boyle County, and we get them in Lexington, so
"They're just real hard to deal with. Do you defend the run or the pass? They killed Boyle County with the run, and they killed us with the pass."
Bell County (0-2) was coming off a 30-15 loss to Knoxville (Tenn.) Central in the season opener, leaving Hilton in an unusual position to start the season.
"It's been a long time since this old man has lost two in a row," he said. "And I don't know if I've ever taken two in a row like that.
"I'd say we're a young football team, but that's no excuse. We're supposed to be a good football team."
There were a few bright spots for the Bobcats, even in defeat. Backup quarterback Kyle Nelson came off the bench to complete three of his six attempts for 63 yards and a 33-yard touchdown pass to Shawnta Zachery, who caught both of Nelson's other passes.
Matt Simpson rushed for 94 yards on nine carries and Jeff Howard added 70 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown.
Monty Merrick connected on a 30-yard field goal for Bell County.
"We'll just have to bounce back," Hilton said. "We've got good kids. I know they'll bounce back. We've played two outstanding football teams so far, and this could end up helping us down the road."