Boyle County vs. Danville is a battle of 'very goods'

September 04, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

This is one time Chuck Smith hopes Sam Harp is right about who should be the favorite in the annual Danville-Boyle County game.

“I don’t see how we could be the favorites,” said Harp. “Boyle County is approaching 1,000 students. We have 400 at Danville. They are coming off four straight state championships. They have already completely dominated two Class AAAA schools this season. They have to be the favorite.”

But Harp’s Admirals did beat Boyle 20-10 last year to end the Rebels’ 47-game win streak, the state’s second longest streak. That also snapped a three-game Boyle win streak in the city-county rivalry.

"I hope he's right about us being the favorite and knows what he's talking about," Smith said. "We've got a plan and are looking at different areas each week to improve. But we know Danville is a very, very good team."


Actually, both teams are "very good" based on what they've done this year. Boyle has outscored Lafayette and Henry Clay by a combined 81-7 this season. Quarterback Brandon Smith is 20-for-41 passing for 335 yards and six touchdowns and running backs Quinn Givhan and Danny Commarford have combined for 200 yards and four touchdowns.

Danville opened the season with a 22-7 victory over Class AAAA Manual before blanking area rival Lincoln County 50-0 last week thanks to a 33-point third quarter. Running backs Kelvin Turner and Charles Penix have combined for 406 yards and seven total touchdowns in the two wins.

The Admirals have struggled with a passing game. Junior Ronnie Hawkins is just 5-for-16 for 120 yards in his first two starts, and Harp knows the Rebels likely will try to make him put the ball in the air Friday.

"We have cut things down and tried to simplify things," Harp said. "Ronnie can throw well, and he will. He just needs to gain confidence rather than feel every pass has to go for a big play or touchdown."

Smith worries that Turner or Penix could go for a touchdown every play. He says they remind him of Danville backs from years ago when the Admirals not only beat rivals, but dominated games.

"Stopping their running game is going to be extremely difficult because they have two great running backs," the Boyle coach said. "They are in a different class from most backs. They are out of that old Danville mold when nobody could beat them.

"But they have speed in every position. They have some linemen that could outrun our skilled people. That makes them difficult to contain and stop, especially since we have not been doing that good of a job up front. There are a lot of things we have to do better, or we will get killed this week."

Harp is every bit as concerned about stopping the Rebels. Boyle may not have a star player like it did last year in receiver Jacob Tamme, who now plays at Kentucky, but Harp says the team's balance is even better.

"Their forte this year is balance. They will throw the ball on any down or situation and the running game is more than adequate," the Danville coach said. "(Brandon) Smith might even be their best running back. He's really developed into a star quarterback and makes great decisions.

"It doesn't look to me like they are missing anything from last year. They might even be stronger offensively because of their balance because that makes them tougher to defend."

Harp also sees the same type Boyle defense even though Smith had just three returning starters on that unit.

"They pursue well and most of the time have 11 people around the ball, which is a credit to their program and coaches. I would expect they might blitz us quite a bit based on what others have done and had success with against us."

Smith worries just as much about Danville's defense, mainly because of the Admirals' speed.

"They have tremendous closing speed in the secondary. A receiver can look open and then he's not," Smith said. "We've got to run good routes. If we are open, we've got to catch the ball.

"Last week Brandon had a good game because our offensive line gave him time to throw and our receivers made tremendous improvement. We need to do that again because Danville is really good at every position."

The Ads should be back at full strength this week. Tight end Joey Beldon missed last week's game with a concussion but should play. Sophomore Ben Bright made his first start at offensive tackle last week and played well enough to earn another start.

"Ben made some mistakes, but he goes 100 percent and puts his best effort into every play," Harp said.

Boyle has lost receiver-safety Ian Loughry for the season because of a knee injury suffered against Henry Clay. Sophomore Tyler Morris will replace him on defense, but Smith says his receiving rotation will just have one less player Friday.

"He was having a good year, too. He was blocking, catching and playing defense. I hate it for him because he waited for his chance to play and was taking advantage of it," Smith said.

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