Rebels respect way Commarford plays

August 31, 2004|JILL ERWIN

Danny Commarford isn't the type of player to talk about himself.

The Boyle County senior doesn't talk about how he's playing with a broken hand and exercise-induced asthma, or how he had to go to the hospital with severe leg cramps after practice before Boyle's first game.

But Commarford's teammates and coaches have no such problem in discussing his toughness going into Friday's Title Town Showdown against visiting Danville.

"You know that old saying, 'It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog?' That fits him to a tee," said quarterback Brandon Smith, Commarford's friend since first grade. "He's definitely not the biggest guy on the field, but there's no one I've ever known that goes harder than Danny. He doesn't know how to loaf."


"He's one of those guys that everybody loves," Boyle coach Chuck Smith said. "Every player on the team, every coach on the team, loves Danny because of his emotion and the way he plays every time out."

Commarford broke his left hand during summer practice when he hit it against a teammate's knee. Brandon Smith said Commarford didn't take the news well.

"He was absolutely tore up about it," Brandon Smith said. "He thought he was going to miss (team camp at) Jabez and miss our first game. That was not acceptable for him. He was going to find any way he could to play. He hasn't missed a beat with it."

Commarford is on his fifth cast, and he has his forearm heavily padded for games to meet playing restrictions. He starts at linebacker for the Rebels and said he's grown accustomed to playing with basically only one arm.

"It's a little annoying not being able to play with that hand, but I'm pretty used to it," he said. "I've been playing with it for four or five weeks now. It's my left hand, so it's not that bad."

He led Boyle in tackles last week

Commarford led Boyle in tackles last week with 10 against Henry Clay, and he also had an interception to end the Blue Devils' final possession.

Even before the hand injury, Commarford had been dealing with his asthma. He said he was diagnosed with activity-induced asthma in fourth grade. He said it doesn't affect him often during games, that it more often flares up during conditioning. When it does occur during games, he said he only has one option.

"I just play through it," Commarford said. "There's nothing I can do about it."

Commarford fell ill after a practice before Boyle played Lexington Catholic to open the season. He began cramping so badly an ambulance was called and he was taken to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center. He recovered with no ill effects, but he said he still doesn't know what caused the situation.

Commarford played through it all.

"For Danny to get knocked out (of a game), you'd probably have to paralyze him before he'd give up," Brandon Smith said. "You'd have to carry him off the field after that, too, because there's no way he'd give up."

It's that dedication and desire to play that endears Commarford to his teammates and coaches. Chuck Smith has watched Commarford grow into a 5-8, 180-pound senior, but Commarford has never been the biggest guy on the field.

But emotionally? That's a different story.

"He's from his heart"

"Danny is one big ball of emotion," Chuck Smith said. "That's what makes him so special. He's from his heart."

"Danny's probably the nicest guy I know, and I'm being serious when I say that," Brandon Smith said. "He probably wouldn't harm a fly when he's off the field. Even if somebody started fighting him, he probably wouldn't swing back. But he just has a different personality when he's on the field. He tries to kill people when he hits them."

Commarford will be facing Danville for the final time Friday. The Admirals come into the game undefeated and having outscored their opponents 91-6, while Boyle is 1-1 and has given up 64 points in its two games.

Commarford said this game is important, but for different reasons than some might expect.

"We're just concentrating on ourselves and trying to improve ourselves," Commarford said. "Danville's a great team and this is a very big game, but we're still trying to focus on ourselves."

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