Danville’s season ends with loss to Beechwood

Published 4:20 pm Monday, November 6, 2023

By Mike Marsee

Contributing Writer

FORT MITCHELL – There were no surprises here.

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A season unlike any other at Danville ended exactly as expected Friday night, with a lopsided loss to one of the best teams in the state.

It came as no surprise that the Admirals were outmanned in their 49-0 loss to Beechwood, as was the case so often this season. And it came as no surprise that they don’t want to be in that position again.

Their loss at Edgar McNabb Stadium in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs brought the curtain down on the only winless season in the program’s history.

“It’s really an eye opener,” Danville quarterback Braylon Guest said. “Me playing alongside … all my seniors, and seeing them cry it lets me know that I feel like I need to be better myself. I hope that the rest of the team sees that because I don’t want the team to end up like this next year. I want to be smiling at the end of the season.”

Friday’s game matched teams with two of the best name brands in Kentucky high school football – they have 11 state championships between them – but the programs at Danville and Beechwood are in very different places.

The Tigers have won three straight 2A titles and will contend for a fourth, as they are ranked No. 2 in the class in the final statewide media poll and No. 9 overall in the KHSAA RPI standings.

The Admirals are in the early stages of a total rebuild after the roster was gutted and support was eroded in the wake of tumultuous seasons, and they fielded what had to be one of the youngest teams in the state against an arduous schedule.

“We’ve had a bunch of young guys playing before they were ready. You’ve seen it on Friday nights: They just weren’t ready to play, and through no fault of their own they were put in that situation,” Danville coach Frank Parks Jr. said. “But they came to work, they took the coaching, gave us everything they had, so I’m just proud of the guys for sticking through it and taking their lumps.”

Danville (0-11) took its lumps right away against Beechwood (10-1), which capitalized on two kickoff recoveries and one interception to score three touchdowns in the first 6½ minutes.

The running-clock threshold was reached just after the midpoint of the second quarter, and the Admirals trailed 43-0 at halftime.

They were outgained 412 yards to 63, and they committed four turnovers.

Danville did have a couple of opportunities to score. A 55-yard kickoff return by Demontrae Trumbo set up a drive that took the Admirals from the Beechwood 37-yard line to the 13 in the second quarter, but a penalty added 5 yards to a field goal attempt that was good from 30 yards but no good from 35.

In the fourth quarter, the Ads moved from their own 7 to the Beechwood 28, but they were rushed by the running clock and lost yardage twice before time expired.

Braidin Baughman had 48 yards on 13 rushing attempts for Danville, and Guest completed three of 11 passes for 27 yards and had 21 rushing yards. Baughman, Trumbo and Xzayvier Leavell each caught a pass.

Luke Erdman scored three touchdowns for Beechwood and had 188 offensive yards, and Clay Hayden was 6 for 8 for 177 passing yards and two TDs.

On the surface, the loss might have looked like so many others Danville has endured this season, but Parks said the Admirals are a better team than they were in August.

“Results don’t show it as far as wins and losses, but you can see some improvement,” he said. “There’s still just a lot of inexperience mistakes, but you’ve seen growth from individual guys and as a team throughout the year.”

Guest said he has seen it, too.

“It’s definitely a better football team,” he said. “We had some guys quit, but we also had some guys step up, and we had some guys change their attitude and their mindset. And we’ve got guys who weren’t playing who are playing good minutes and giving us all they’ve got. It’s a lot of guys stepping up and playing to the best of their ability.”

The team’s four seniors took their final loss hard, hugging each other and several teammates and coaches as they left the field, but Parks said they set an example for those who will return.

“They should look at those seniors and see how they feel right now and (remember) how they stuck through it when they could have laid down,” Parks said. “Those young guys can use this as an inspiration to go to work and get this program back to where it rightfully belongs.”

Scoring summary

DHS 0 0 0 0 – 0

BHS 21 22 6 0 – 49

First Quarter

BHS – Tyler Fryman 5 run (Colson Lair kick), 10:47.

BHS – Luke Erdman 56 pass from Clay Hayden (Lair kick), 7:09.

BHS – Chase Flaherty 17 run (Lair kick), 6:31.

Second Quarter

BHS – Flaherty 9 run (Lair kick), 7:03.

BHS – Erdman 55 run (Flaherty run), 5:11.

BHS – Erdman 49 pass from Hayden (Lair kick), 1:42.

Third Quarter

BHS – Brody Aylor 36 run (run failed), 9:03.