Danville football dominates early in win over Frederick Douglass
Danville coach Clay Clevenger didn’t know what to expect entering Saturday’s game with Frederick Douglas. The first-year school from Lexington had only one scrimmage under its belt, but Clevenger knew it would be important to get off to a good start.
The Admirals scored in 28 points in just 15 minutes, highlighted by three scores from lightning-quick D’Mauriae VanCleave, and coasted to a 36-0 win in the second game of the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic at Admiral Stadium.
VanCleave, who was named the Most Valuable Player after the game, returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown on the fourth play of the game, and had scoring runs of one and 18 yards as Danville (1-0) grabbed a 21-0 advantage after one period of play.
“I thought in the first 15 minutes of the game we were able to get control of the game and do pretty much what we wanted to do,” Clevenger said. “When we went up 28-0 we had about three opportunities to put more points on the board and we didn’t. That’s something that we’ll have to learn that if we want to be a championship team, we’ll have to learn to finish teams up.”
Last year, when Danville won a coin toss it was a no-brainer to receive to begin every game with record-setting quarterback Zach Dampier back for his senior year. This year, with junior quarterback Zach Thornton making his first-ever start, Clevenger took some of the pressure off of him by deferring his option until the second half.
“Our defense returns eight or nine starters from last year, so I decided to ease some of the pressure off Zach to start the game,” the Danville coach said. “Then when we were able to get the pick six, that was the icing on the cake. That gave us momentum and Zach was able to ease into the offense knowing he had a lead to build on. It’s a lot easier playing from ahead than behind. Everyone was able to relax and I thought (Zach) played great for his first start.”
Already leading 21-0, the Ads went 61 yards in just seven plays to open the second quarter when Thornton, who connected on 11 of 20 passes for 110 yards, faked a pass to VanCleave in the flat and then found Jaleel Warren, who led the Ads with 68 yards on five catches, over the middle wide open for a 16 yard touchdown. Tres Walker added the point after for a 28-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Danville’s defense was shutting down the Broncos on every series. They limited Frederick Douglas to just 63 total yards during the first half and 119 for the game.
“I was really pleased with the way our defense played,” Clevenger said. “I thought we were able to make their quarterback uncomfortable all night.”
Don Harris, who led Danville in rushing with 100 yards on 10 attempts, scored the final touchdown of the night with 3:10 to play in the third stanza on an electrifying 74-yard run. It appeared on four different occasions that Harris would go down, but each time kept his balance to reach paydirt.
That gave the Admirals a 36-0 advantage and set the running clock in motion.
The only downside of the win was the fact the Admirals had eight penalties for 80 yards, but Clevenger wasn’t so sure about some of the penalties that were called.
“Some of the penalties were aggressive plays,” he said. “One of them was a late hit out of bounds which I thought was very questionable. We want the guys to be aggressive, but we don’t want negative plays.”
He knows, however, that his team needs to get better each week beginning on the practice field.
“I told the kids that we would have to start executing better in practice if we want to get better. That’s the mentality that we need to take. We can’t run sloppy routes and have sloppy habits at quarterback. We can’t do that in practice and think we can just turn it on during the game. It just doesn’t work that way.
“We didn’t play bad by any means, but there are so many areas where we can improve. It still early in the season. We’ll get better.”
First downs 8 11
Rushes-Yards 24-84 24-137
Passing Yards 35 110
Total Yards 119 247
Comp-Att-Int 9-22-1 11-20-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 10-74 8-80
Bob Allen Pigskin Classic
Frederick Douglas 0 0 0 0- 0
Danville 21 7 8 0- 36
Danville- D’Mauriae Van Cleave 45 interception return (Tres Walker kick), 10:31
Danville- Van Cleave 1 run (Walker kick), 4:38.
Danville- Van Cleave 18 run (Walker kick), 1:34.
Danville- Jaleel Warren 16 pass from Zach Thornton (Walker kick), 9:27.
Danville- Don Harris 74 run (Van Cleave pass from Thornton), 3:10
RUSHING- Frederick Douglas, Damon Christopher 1-(minus 2), Jefferson Harkless 15-52, Montaveon Bean 7-23, Isaiah Clinkscale 1-11. Danville, Don Harris 10-100, Zach Thornton 5-15, D’Mauriae Van Cleave 5-32, Isaiah Miller 2-1, Team 2-(minus 11).
PASSING- Frederick Douglas, Christopher 0-2-1-0, Bean 9-20-0-35. Danville, Thornton 11-20-1-110.
RECEIVING- Frederick Douglas, Theo Overton 1-11, Harkless 1-(minus 6), Maliq Trigg 2-6, Haiden Hunt 5-24. Danville, Jaleel Warren 5-68, Van Cleave 4-27, Tanner Ford 1-7, David Walker 1-8.
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