Danville wins defensive battle against Somerset
Published 11:35 pm Friday, November 10, 2017
Danville’s defense limited Somerset to just 158 yards while the Admirals had trouble putting points on the scoreboard, and the Ads held onto a hard-fought 19-0 win over the Briar Jumpers Friday night in the Class 2A Playoffs at Admiral Stadium.
The win sets up a rematch against Lexington Christian, a 42-12 winner over Prestonsburg, next week at Admiral Stadium. Danville (12-0) handed the Eagles their only loss of the season, 44-28 on Oct, 20.
Somerset (7-5) put the pressure on Danville from the opening kickoff when Josh Cornett took the kick from his own eight and rambled all the way to the Danville 20. Somerset quarterback Mason Reese connected for 18 yards with Zach Childers to the Ads’ 3, but the Admiral defense rose to the occasion and took over on downs on their own seven after a screen pass to Childers went for a four yards loss.
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“We settled in and played pretty good defense the majority of the game,” Danville coach Clay Clevenger said. “We allowed some big plays, especially in the first half with our special teams and that kept us backed up and with bad field position.It was one of those grind it out games. It wasn’t one those great throwing games with the field conditions and weather, plus Somerset does a really good job against the run. All of that played into it. They played great defense and fortunately we did too.’
Taking over its own 20, Danville finally got on the scoreboard late in the first period. A nine yard run by Don Harris, who led the Ads in rushing with 88 yards on 22 attempts, and four yard pass to D’Mauriae VanCleave placed the ball on the Danville 33, and junior quarterback Zach Thornton, who completed 15 of 23 passes for 176 yards and two scores, avoided two would be sack attempts, then rolled to his left and found a wide open Tanner Ford for a 67 yard touchdown pass. The PAT from Nathan Hazlett was blocked leaving the score 6-0 with two minutes, four seconds to play in the opening period.
Neither team threatened the score the remainder of the half as the defenses kept both teams in check.
“I thought Zach (Thornton) did a nice job scrambling at time to extend plays, but it just wasn’t a good night to throw the football,” Clevenger added. “It was cold, the football was hard and we had some drops we usually don’t make. We did a much better job moving the football during the second half, but we had much better field position, too. It a little easier to move the ball when you’re not backed up at you own end zone.”
Danville took the second half kickoff and methodically went 80 yards in eight plays to score and use 4:53 the clock in doing so.
A 23 yard pass to Ford set the drive in motion and Thornton connected with VanCleave for 44 yards for the touchdown. Hazlett added the point after for a 13-0 lead.
“We really needed to put points on the board to start the second half to give us some breathing room,” the Danville coach said. “It’s a lot easier to play when you’re up two scores.”
Meanwhile, Danville’s defensive unit continued to limit what Somerset’s offense could do. “Our defense played well all night. Somerset had been playing much better offensively since we played them the first time, but we were able to shut them completely down.”
Danville’s final tally came with 1:18 to play to complete a 65 yard, 6 play drive. Thornton and Harris gained all the yards in the drive as the Ads kept the ball exclusively on the ground. Harris punched it in from four yards out, but the kick was again blocked to complete the scoring and shutout.
Class 2A Playoffs
Somerset 0 0 0 0 – 0
Danville 6 0 7 6 – 19
Danville – Tanner Ford 67 pass from Zach Thornton (kick blocked), 2:04.
Danville – D’Mauriae VanCleave 44 pass from Zach Thornton (Nathan Hazlett kick), 7:07.
Danville – Don Harris 4 run (kick blocked), 1:18.
First downs 9 15
Rush-Yards 20-81 35-165
Passing 77 176
Total Yards 158 341
Comp-Att-Int 11-24-1 15-23-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties-Yds 8-39 8-78
RUSHING – Danville, Don Harris 22-88, D’Mauriae VanCleave 5-29, Zach Thornton 8-48. Somerset, Mason Reese 5-(minus 6), Alex Miller 3-3, Ty Tevis 11-89, Josh Cornett 1-(minus 5).
PASSING – Danville, Thornton 15-23-0-176. Somerset, Reese 11-24-1-77.
RECEIVING – Danville, VanCleave 8-74, David Walker 3-2, Jaleel Warren 1-8, Harris 1-2, Tanner Ford 2-90. Somerset, Josh Cornett 5-38, Zach Childers 3-13, Ty Tevis 2-7, Chance Stayton 1-19.