Admirals shut down LCA in 49-7 blowout
Published 11:52 pm Friday, November 17, 2017
It didn’t take long for Danville to prove that its first win over Lexington Christian Academy was no fluke.
The Admirals did more than that, though, putting a running clock on the Eagles in a 49-7 blowout.
Danville quarterback Zach Thornton was the beneficiary of a blitzing LCA defense, throwing for 287 yards and four scores. He also ran in two one-yard touchdown runs, accounting for all but one of the Admirals’ scores.
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“There’s no question, he’s coming on as a quarterback and his feet make him dangerous,” Danville head coach Clay Clevenger said of Thornton. “We’ve got to get him to keep his eyes down the field a little bit longer when he feels some pressure.”
Danville’s defense did the most damage, limiting the highest-scoring offense in the state to just seven points. From the first drive of the game — a three-and-out for LCA — Danville’s defense set the tone.
The Eagles were without starting quarterback Logan Nieves, but leading rusher Dillon Wheatley didn’t have much room to operate, either, finishing with 26 carries for 106 yards.
“They’re obviously a lot different with the Nieves kid out,” Clevenger said. They’re going with their backup quarterback with two weeks of prep. We’re pretty good defensively when we want to be. It’s a game, we came out in the second half and made plays. In the second quarter, we didn’t. We came out and started the game and made plays, but we got up 14-0 we kind of relaxed, I felt like we came back out refocused after halftime and were able to put the nail in the coffin.”
Danville’s first two drives were clinical: Thornton scored on a one-yard keeper to open the scoring just four minutes in, and the next drive lasted just two plays, capped by a Thornton pass to Tanner Ford for a 33-yard score.
“They just started man to man on our wide receivers, it’s not a good idea to do that,” Thornton said. “But they stopped the run pretty good, then we just threw it over the top.”
LCA would have its best moments in the second quarter as the Ads eased up. A 13-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Josh McClurg to Drayden Burton would be the Eagles only score of the game.
At halftime, Danville led 14-7.
Thornton would get more time to throw in the second half, and D’Mauriae VanCleave began to work his magic. Thornton scored on another QB sneak three minutes into the second half, and VanCleave picked up his first touchdown on a 45-yard pass three minutes later.
After three quarters, Danville led 28-7.
Clevenger said the halftime talk was a simple one.
“Settling our kids down,” he said. “Sometimes when we’re not making plays like we get used to, we get a little bit in our heads. So we just had to settle them down. We knew that they were giving us some plays down the field, we just had to give Zach a little bit of time to throw it, and we had to go run under it and make some catches.”
Thornton would hit Jaleel Warren on a 55-yard touchdown to open the fourth quarter. VanCleave tipped another touchdown into his own hands with two minutes left, and he would ice the game with a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:24 left.
“They were blitzing the tar out of us, they were playing man coverage,” Clevenger said. “They’re going to try to run with 7 down the field and we were able to hit him a few times in the second half.”
Danville’s defense picked up where it left off against LCA in the second half of the regular season meeting: The Admirals’ front seven kept pressure in the backfield all night and stopped three LCA drives in the red zone.
“We attacked them. They do a good job with their tempo, keeping you on your heels. But at the end of the day, you know they’ve got to put the ball in the end zone,” Clevenger said. “Sometimes it looks like we’re ‘bend but don’t break,’ but as the field shrinks, it limits what they can do and it helps us. I thought that came into play there in the first half, we got some big stops when we were backed up and we were able to keep them out of the end zone.”
The Admirals will travel to Glasgow, 40-14 winners over Monroe County, in next week’s state semifinal game.
“It’s a great feeling,” Thornton said. “We’ve just got to keep working, keep practicing hard and keep doing what coach tells us to do.”
Lex. Christian 0 7 0 0 – 7
Danville 14 0 14 21 – 49
Danviile – Zach Thornton 1 run (Nathan Hazlett kick). 8:15.
Danville – Tanner Ford 33 pass from Thornton (Hazlett kick), 5:57.
LCA – Drayden Burton 13 pass from Josh McClurg (Tyler Dobbs kick), 4:33.
Danville – Thornton 1 run (Hazlett kick), 9:19.
Danville – D’Mauriae VanCleave 45 pass from Thornton (Hazlett kick), 6:26.
Danville – Jaleel Warren 55 pass from Thornton (Hazlett kick), 11:10.
Danville – VanCleave 18 pass from Thornton (Hazlett kick), 2:21.
Danville – VanCleave 55 interception return (Hazlett kick), 1:24.
First downs 18 15
Rush-Yards 39-115 27-84
Passing Yds 181 287
Total Yards 296 371
Comp-Att-Int 27-36-1 12-16-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yds 4-16 7-41
RUSHING – Danville, Don Harris 7-43, D’Mauriae VanCleave 5-20, Zach Thornton 15-21. LCA, Dillion Wheatley 26-106, Josh McClurg 11-22, Dearious Smith 1-(minus 1),Team 1-(minus 12).
PASSING – Danville, Thornton 12-16-0-267. LCA, McClurg 27-36-1-181.
RECEIVING – Danville, VanCleave 7-128, David Walker 1-34, Jaleel Warren 2-88, Tanner Ford 1-33, Harris 1-4. LCA, Drayton Burton 9-49,Caelin Lebryk 6-87, Wade Drake 3-10, Wheatley 3-2,Ryan Stucky 6-33.