Inspired performance: Ads honor Bate High School, come out strong against Garrard County

Published 12:36 am Saturday, September 23, 2017


Danville came out ready to play Friday against Garrard County.

The Admirals — who wore purple and gold to honor Bate High School — ran past the Golden Lions, scoring five rushing touchdowns to win 42-2.

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Danville’s defense shut down the Garrard ground game the entire night, with the Golden Lions’ points coming on a Danville offensive holding call in the end zone, resulting in a safety.

Garrard rushed 46 times for 93 yards in the game.

Contrast that with the Admirals, who were again explosive. Zach Thornton ran for a 28-yard score in the third minute of the game. Don Harris followed it up later in the first quarter with two touchdowns runs, one from 53 yards away and one from 31 yards.

“I thought offensively, our offensive line did a good job,” Danville coach Clay Clevenger said. “Their defensive lineman, No. 53 (Ethan Ponton), he’s probably the best defensive lineman that I think we’ve seen. And we’ve seen a couple guys that are D-I. He gave us some fits at times, but I thought we did a good job on him, a little bit better in the second half.”

After one quarter, Danville led 21-0.

Garrard’s drive to start the second quarter ended with a high snap over the punter’s head, giving Danville a five-yard field to work with. Thornton hit Tanner Ford in the corner of the end zone to put the Admirals ahead 28-0, less than a minute into the second quarter.

Garrard’s offense found its legs midway through the second quarter, driving to the Danville 14-yard line.

That drive was aided by two offsides penalties from Danville, when Garrard was facing a fourth down. Both five-yard penalties were enough for first downs.

“You know on fourth and three or four, somebody’s going to try to hard-count you. To fall for it twice on one series is inexcusable,” Clevenger said. “We had a lot of penalties tonight and we need to clean that up for sure.”

Danville’s defense held on its own 14 yard line, but two more holding penalties —inlcuding one in the end zone — gave Garrard its only points of the game, less than two minutes before halftime.

Garrard head coach Jerry Perry said his team had given up.

“We laid down. We just laid down,” Perry said. “… We were scared. It’s very embarrassing. I’m embarrassed for my team, my coaches and the entire community. I thought we could at least played mentally tough, but we didn’t. I thought we laid down and just kind of caved in. We had people doing their own thing. It’s very embarrassing. But, now it’s  back to the drawing board.”

Garrard was without playmaker Anthony Justus, but that wasn’t an excuse for Perry.

“Just because there’s a guy out, doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything,” the coach said. “(Danville) is very good, but there’s a thing called competing. And we didn’t do that. I thought we did that for about 10 minutes, and that was it. There was no competition.”

That 10 minutes in the second quarter was when Danville struggled the most. The Golden Lions were able to put drives together and the Ads’ offense wasn’t in sync.

“I thought we had a little bit of a lull, and some of that was Garrard got some offensive rhythm and started getting some first downs and started grinding it out,” Clevenger said. “That’s the kind of game we didn’t want to get into with them. If that happened it was going to be tough on us.”

Danville’s defense wasn’t about to let that happen. Darrian Bell forced and recovered a fumble during the second quarter and the Ads wouldn’t let Garrard reach the red zone.

“We knew that their game plan would be to get three or four yards, go for it on fourth downs,” Clevenger said. “When they get in there and they come off of the football as well as Garrard does and their backs are hitting it up in there, it’s hard to keep that from happening sometimes. But for the most part, we were able to get those one or two plays in a series where we were able to negate them to no yardage, and at that point you’re ahead in the change a bit.”

Danville found its answer to Ponton in the third quarter. Thornton scored his third touchdown of the night (second rushing) on a 61-yard run midway through the quarter, and D’Mauriae VanCleave got on the scoreboard with an 11-yard sweep at the end of the period, putting the running clock into effect.

Perry had a message for his team after the game.

“You’re only as good as your last game, and this game was 42-2, so you ain’t very good,” he said. “You take it for what it’s worth and see if they can pick up the pieces. You can pick up the pieces or you can turn it in. We’ll see what they do. Because it doesn’t get any easier.

“Right now, they’re wanting to play Powell County instead of playing a good team. You can talk about that all you want to, and I know there’s people that play those kinds of schedules and play those teams every week. They go 9-1 and if their district and region are really poor, they’ll even get to the second or third round. But they’ve got no shot because they’ve not played nobody. And it looks like that’s what our kids want, is to not play nobody.”

The Golden Lions are off next week before starting district play with a home test against Boyle County on Oct. 6.

Danville hosts 4-1 Tates Creek next week.