Despite early success, Danville knows it has work to do
Danville football has reached its midway point of the season with a 4-1 record, state ranking in Class 2A, and still plenty to work on according to those in the program.
The Admirals had a back-to-earth moment two games ago with a loss to Corbin, but they came back after their bye week to thump Green County last week. And even though the Ads were impressive in the 62-0 win, coach Clay Clevenger still found areas in need of attention, particularly the first few defensive series.
“When we got in and watched film, I wasn’t very happy about that,” Clevenger said. “If we want to do anything in district and in the playoffs, we’re going to have to get a lot sharper, especially on the defensive side of the football. We came out missing calls and those kinds of things, and that was fine against Green County but those things aren’t going to work against better football teams.”
The Ads begin the second half of their regular season with the first of three road games at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Campbellsville (2-4).
Unlike other sports where teams and players get multiple chances to right a season and prove what their work was for, football teams have a limited window to write their stories.
“A lot of these kids have been working hard since January,” Clevenger said. “They put a lot of time and effort into football and you get 10 games. You don’t get 30 or 40 games like you do with other sports. You get 10 games to prove yourself. The sense of urgency needs to ramp up even more so we understand the we’re getting into crunch time and the games will start taking on more meaning a lot more.”
The Eagles are a spread offense who will run out of the formation, rushing for 1,159 yards and 14 touchdowns. Junior Austyn Thornton leads the team with 240 yards and four scores, and half of those yards and three scores have come in the last two weeks, both wins.
Four different players have thrown a pass for Campbellsville, with junior Tyrion Taylor playing the position in the two wins. Taylor has completed 7-of-10 passes for 190 yards and a pair of scores in wins over Green County and Fort Knox.
On defense, the Eagles will play a 3-3 stack that likes to attack and blitz from multiple positions. They’ve allowed 255 total yards in the last two weeks.
“They’re going to be more aggressive than what we saw last week as far as on both sides of the ball,” Clevenger said.
The Ads were plenty aggressive on offense last week, scoring 27 points off nine plays in the first quarter. Dmauriae VanCleave was lightning, scoring each of the three times he touched the ball — long TD passes on the first two plays from scrimmage and a 71-yard punt return.
Clevenger said defense earlier in the season were geared up to stop or at least limit VanCleave so it was good for the speedy junior to show what he can do.
“He has the ability to put the ball in the end zone every time he touches it,” Clevenger said. “It’s good for him to get the breakout game and make a couple of big plays.”
If there was one other bone Clevenger could pick in the win over Green, it was the Ads inability to sustain a drive. But the coach admits there really wasn’t that chance.
It also gives the other offensive skill players motivation to play as hard as they can each time they get the ball.
“We were scoring so quick, you say you’d like to sustain some drives but you can’t tell guys not to go out and play,” Clevenger said. “… Every time you touch the ball if you want to get in the end zone, you better work hard to get in the end zone because your teammate might do it the next play if given the opportunity.”
Follow Jeremy Schneider on Twitter @jschneideramn