Ads' defense gets lift from Gambrel, Williams

November 30, 2003|JILL ERWIN

MAYFIELD - Neither of them expected the roles they were handed Friday, but Kenny Gambrel and Bryan Williams played them to the best of their abilities.

Gambrel made his first start on defense in Danville's Class A semifinal, and Williams played more defense than he has all season after junior lineman Jacob Moore suffered a probable season-ending knee injury.

Both seniors came up with big plays as the Admirals dominated Mayfield in a 25-3 victory.

The Ads are advancing to the Class A championship game because their defense held Mayfield scoreless after a field goal early in the first period. The Cardinals averaged 27 points a game this season, and had scored at least 40 in four games.

"I thought our linemen did a great job," Danville coach Sam Harp said.

"I thought (assistant) coach (Jerry) Perry had a great game plan coming in and he deserves all the credit. It was a great game plan and our kids executed it well. We kept the pressure on them all night."


Gambrel played on the defensive line all night after earning his first start with his play last week against Louisville Holy Cross.

"I thought Kenny Gambrel played a great game," Perry said.

"Last week, he had probably more energy than anybody we had on the field. I just thought we might as well start him since we're running out of bodies."

And the line took another hit in that department midway through the second quarter when Moore hurt his right knee.

Harp said the team will have to wait for an MRI to be sure, but Moore's season is almost assuredly over as he may have torn his anterior cruciate ligament.

That pushed Williams into more service defensively than even he was expecting. He starts on the offensive line and was named to the All-Area team in that spot, but said he was told he'd be going both ways more often.

"I had heard all week that I was going to have to start playing more defense," Williams said. "They told me last week that I looked tired on film, so I had to really work super-hard on my conditioning this week.

"I just knew when I got in there that I had to step it up because Jacob's a key player for us on defense. It's a big thing to replace Jacob Moore. I just had to get in there and do what was done. I listened to my linebackers, they told me what to do and I got the job done."

Both made standout plays

Both Gambrel and Williams made standout plays for Danville. Gambrel's changed the face of the game at the end of the first half.

Two penalties on Phillip Dunn, a pass interference call and then an unsportsmanlike penalty for arguing the first gave Mayfield a first-and-10 from the Danville 18-yard line with just over three seconds to play and Danville leading 19-3.

The Cardinals lined up for a field goal, but Adam Ivey's 35-yard attempt was blocked by Gambrel.

"That was big right there," Harp said. "They came away with nothing, and that was a great momentum shift right there. They had momentum going their way right there, and to not let them score was huge."

"Ryan Hundley told me he was going to play to the gap I was supposed to go to," Gambrel said. "That set up the opportunity because the guy went down and I went through. I was up in the air and I didn't know I was going to block it. All of a sudden, I just felt the thud of the ball hitting my hip.

"I like to bring a little bit of energy and speed off the line. They said for my size and strength, that I make up for it with my speed. I feel like if I can utilize my speed to help the team in any form or fashion, then I'm going to do it."

Williams had back-to-back sacks on Mayfield's first possession of the second half as Danville finished the game with seven sacks as a team.

Mayfield didn't pull many surprises on the Ads. Perry said Danville did an extremely thorough scouting report on them, and linebacker Charles Penix said the Admirals knew Mayfield's plays inside and out.

The Cardinals ran for 104 yards and passed for 76, but were just 4-of-16 passing with two interceptions. Mayfield didn't get a first down until almost five minutes into the second quarter.

Even with Friday's success, Williams and Gambrel know the defense will have to play even better this week to beat Beechwood and capture Danville's 10th state championship.

Beechwood lost to Mayfield in last year's state final, and Williams said the Tigers are not a team that will be easily handled.

"Beechwood played Mayfield hard to the core last year, and I thought Beechwood was going to come back and get them," Williams said.

"We're just going to have to play another four quarters of football."

"We know it's going to take a whole lot more effort than what we put out tonight to bring home No. 10," Gambrel said.

"I believe if we come out fired up, more focused with more intensity and more poise than we had this week, then we'll do extremely well."

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