Focus is the key for Admirals on homecoming night

Published 3:12 pm Thursday, September 28, 2017

Danville’s homecoming week will be capped with an intriguing football game.

The Admirals will host 6A Tates Creek (4-1), whose only loss this season was to Frederick Douglass in the second game of the year.

Admirals’ coach Clay Clevenger said the Commodores will pose an interesting challenge for his team. Tates Creek has two quarterbacks with five touchdowns each this year, and both QBs have played in every game this year.

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“They play really three quarterbacks, they bring another in on some wildcat situations,” Clevenger said. “They have a couple of good backs that remind me of Don (Harris) and D’Mauriae (VanCleave). One is physical, one is more shifty. They’ve got some good athletes in the receiver spot too. It’s going to be a tough game for us, matchup-wise. It’ll be a game that will hopefully speed us up even more going into the district schedule. When you’re playing a team with good team speed, it helps you execute faster.”

Freshman Mikaleb Coffey is the wildcat quarterback — he hasn’t thrown a pass this year but has three rushing touchdowns on nine attempts.

The Commodores other two running backs have nearly identical statistics: Teonte White — the bruiser — has 48 carries for 287 yards and six scores, while speedy Laron Warner has 49 carries for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

But Danville has faced running challenges this season: Just last week against ground-and-pound Garrard, the Admirals stifled lead back Josh Warren to 18 yards on 13 carries.

That’s where Tates Creek is different: They can get it done through the air. Quarterbacks Cameron Workman and Luke Duby have combined for 60 completions, 862 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Receivers for Tates Creek are balanced as well — Darryl Bell leads the team with 13 receptions; Miles Thomas leads the team with 196 yards and four scores; Jaden Baird has 11 catches, 170 yards and three scores.

Clevenger said it’ll take full focus to stop the Commodores’ attack.

“Hopefully we have that same mindset and focus that we played with last week,” he said. “We need to take it one play at a time and just go out there and compete.”

The Admirals offense has continued to put up big numbers: Quarterback Zach Thornton has 78 completions this year for 882 yards and 11 scores. He’s also got four scores and 226 yards on the ground.

Running backs Harris and VanCleave have shredded opposing defenses: Harris has 82 carries for 543 yards and eight scores, while VanCleave has 28 carries for 220 yards and four TDs.

VanCleave also has 28 receptions (team high), 302 receiving yards and two scores through the air.

Jaleel Warren has played in five of six games — he sat last week against Garrard — but has racked up 19 catches for 322 yards and five scores. David Walker has 19 catches for 181 yards and two scores, and Tanner Ford has a pair of receiving touchdowns of his own.

But the Admirals might be without Harris and Warren — Harris was banged up during the Garrard game and both players are ‘game-time decisions,’ Clevenger said.

“Obviously you want to be as tough as you can going into district, but we’ve got a game to play between now and then,” Clevenger said. “Anything can happen. But we’ll be cautious, the real season starts next week.”

The week in practice has been solid, considering all of the homecoming festivities, Clevenger said.

“It’s a big week with homecoming festivities and things throughout the week for the kids to be involved in,” he said. “It’s a fun week for them and you just want them to go out and enjoy those types of things, be a kid and have fun and also prepare for a football game on Friday night.

“Practice hasn’t been too bad. We’re just kind of in that grind part of the season. We’ve just got to make sure complacency, things like that don’t come into play. But for the most part, the kids are working hard.”