"I knew it would be a more difficult game than the first time, and we made it even more difficult than it had to be. It was not a real pretty game. It was ugly at times, but we did win."
The Ads also lost two starters to injuries. Senior receiver-cornerback Phillip Dunn went out with a foot injury in the first half, and junior receiver-defensive back Ryan Harper had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after injuring his leg in the third quarter. X-rays on Dunn's foot were negative, but Harper broke his leg.
Kelvin Turner, Danville's leading rusher and starting linebacker, also missed most of the second half after bruising his knee.
"We are hoping Phillip just sprained his foot, and I don't think it is anything serious with Kelvin. We just didn't want to take any chances with him," Harp said. "But I hate to see what happened to Ryan."
There was also a 35-minute delay in the third quarter when both teams left the field because of a neck injury to Carroll lineman David Perry that resulted in him being taken off the field on a stretcher.
"Those are just unfortunate injuries to Ryan and their player," Harp said. "Those delays didn't help the flow of the game for either team."
Ads depend on usual 1-2 running punch
Danville depended on its usual 1-2 running punch of Turner and Charles Penix to win the game. Turner ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carrries, while Penix had 165 yards rushing and two touchdowns to account for most of Danville's total offense.
Danville's inconsistent first half included some big offensive plays, missed opportunities and some defensive lapses.
The Admirals' opening drive was stopped when Turner fumbled at the 2-yard line. However, on the next series, quarterback Ronnie Hawkins hit a wide-open Dunn with a 32-yard scoring pass.
Turner atoned for his earlier miscue with a 57-yard scoring run on Danville's next series. He was hit at the line, spun, cut across the field and got a needed block from Darius Baughman to easily score.
The next score came after Carroll (9-3) completed a 30-yard pass and looked ready to cut into the 16-0 deficit when Dunn hit quarterback Jarrod Williams and forced a fumble. Penix scooped up the loose ball and returned it 67 yards for a score to make it 23-0 after one period.
An 18-yard run by Turner, who went over the 100-yard rushing mark early in period two, made it 29-0 with 9 minutes, 15 seconds left until halftime. However, Danville didn't score again until Zach Hampton hit a 32-yard field goal just three seconds before halftime.
Before that, Carroll drove 73 yards and scored on a 1-yard run by fullback Nick Rose. The drive included a 27-yard run by Chaz Anderson and a 28-yard reception by Rose. "We just were not real crisp," Harp said.
Danville got a 16-yard scoring run from Penix in period three and a 39-yard field goal by Hampton to offset a 33-yard scoring pass from Williams to Anderson. Danville's final score came on a 27-yard fourth-down burst through the middle of the line by Hawkins.
Undefeated Holy Cross is next
Next for the Admirals will be the test in Louisville against Louisville Holy Cross that Harp and his staff have been expecting since midseason. Holy Cross (12-0), which beat Frankfort 56-14 Friday, lost to Danville in the 2001 regional championship game and has numerous seniors this year who started on that team two years ago.
"We've known all along that Holy Cross had a good team, and we also know they believe they can beat us," Harp said.
"We will have to play a lot better than we did tonight if we want to keep playing, because I know enough about Holy Cross already to know that they are a big, physical team that can be really hard to beat at this time of year.
"We won 48-14 tonight, and I'm not going to gripe about that. My main concern is just trying to get people healthy because we'll need everybody we have next week."