Former Danville coach leads Somerset past Ads

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, October 17, 2023

By Daejah Bartleson

Contributing Writer

SOMERSET – The Danville-Somerset rivalry has produced memorable games for more than a century, but there has never been a game quite like this one.

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The rivalry took a turn Friday night when Danville faced a former coach, and the game took a turn for the worse for the Admirals when their offense was unable to get going.

Led by Danville alumnus and former coach Clay Clevenger, the Briar Jumpers ended a three-game losing streak to the Admirals with a 50-7 victory at Clark Field.

Clevenger, who graduated from Danville in 1995 and coached the Admirals from 2013-20 before he was fired in January 2021, faced his alma mater for the first time since Somerset hired him in December 2022.

“I mean, it’s bittersweet, right?,” Clevenger said when asked about coaching against and defeating his former school. “I feel for the kids because that’s who it’s affected the most.”

Danville has gone through a great deal of upheaval since Clevenger was let go, and coach Frank Parks Jr. – the Admirals’ third coach in four seasons – has begun a rebuild with an extremely young team.

Danville (0-8, 0-2 District 2A-5), which has a very small number of players who played for Clevenger in 2020, led 7-6 less than three minutes into the game before falling behind later in the first quarter and running out of gas in the second half.

The Admirals had 100 offensive yards, while Somerset had 396 yards.

This series that began in 1909 with a 21-5 Danville win has seen wide swings in recent years. The three-game Danville winning streak that ended Friday was preceded by six straight Somerset wins, six straight Danville wins, another six in a row for Somerset and eight straight for Danville beginning in 2000.

The Admirals answered the Jumpers’ first touchdown when Braidin Baughman returned the kickoff 88 yards for a TD that gave them a 7-6 edge.

Somerset responded with a drive led by brothers Kam and Kris Hughes, and the latter scored on a 1-yard run to put the Jumpers in front to stay at 14-7.

It was the first of three TDs for Kris Hughes – two rushing, one receiving – who combined with Kam Hughes to run for 137 yards in the first half and 290 overall. Kam Hughes, who had one TD, finished with 211 yards and Kris Hughes had 128, while quarterback Josh Bruner threw for 176 yards and three TDs.

The Jumpers left the Admirals behind with three third-quarter scores, and the running clock kicked in for the fourth quarter after Somerset took a 43-7 lead on the final play of the third period.

Clevenger said he was in an unfortunate position, but he was proud of the way his new team played.

“It was a little ugly in the first half, but we came back after halftime and played sharper,” he said.

Parks said there were a number of things that did not go well for Danville, but he said the Admirals did some things well against Somerset (6-2, 2-0), which was ranked No. 6 in Class 2A.

Backup quarterback Braylon Guest threw for 25 yards after replacing starter Enrique Gutierrez-Jacobs, who was injured in the third quarter, and Trinden Sellers had 42 receiving yards.

Danville closes its district schedule this Friday at home against Breathitt County, which lost to Somerset and defeated Leslie County in its two district games. It will be the first meeting between the Admirals and Bobcats since 2000.

Scoring summary

DHS 7-0-0-0 — 7

SHS 14-7-22-7 — 50

First Quarter

SHS – Kam Hughes 5 run (run failed), 9:37.

DHS – Braidin Baughman 88 kickoff return (Kaleb Wilcher kick), 9:19.

SHS – Kris Hughes 1 run (Kr. Hughes run), 4:57.

Second Quarter

SHS – Kr. Hughes 25 pass from Josh Bruner (Anderson Ruble kick), :17.

Third Quarter

SHS – Isaiah Lewis 22 pass from Bruner (Ruble kick), 7:45.

SHS – Kr. Hughes 29 run (Ruble kick), 3:40.

SHS – Cayden Cimala 61 pass from Bruner (Kr. Hughes run), :00.

Fourth Quarter

SHS – Zac Koger 40 punt return (Ruble kick), 6:34.