Harp hopes Admirals learn from mistakes

September 09, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

His team lost 37-30 to rival Boyle County last week, but Danville coach Sam Harp still hopes the game showed his team how well it can play if it continues to improve and eliminate mistakes.

"I think the kids will learn from the game even though we lost," said Harp. "Boyle is one of the top teams in Class AAA and yet we had our opportunities to win the game. We just didn't make plays at key times, and at other times we just made mental errors.

"If we had just taken the basic fundamental position and trusted the coaches and our reads, we would have been fine. We made a lot of sophomore mistakes. The key now is how we learn from those mistakes."

Harp's Admirals will host Somerset (2-1) Friday. Last year Danville routed the Briar Jumpers 63-3.

"They are better than last year," Harp said. "They have (Scott) Newell at tailback. If he breaks into the open, he can score. He has the speed to go the distance every time he touches the ball."


Harp says split end Ray Norman, a junior like Newell, also has big-play capabilities. "He has very good speed on the outside," the Danville coach said.

Fullback Kenny Hughes, a 190-pound freshman, is a "hard runner and good blocker" that the Jumpers need because they are going more from the I-formation instead of spreading the field most of the time as they've done in recent years.

"They will still spread the field, but not like they have," Harp said.

He also says the Somerset defense is vastly improved because Robbie Lucas, the head coach at Lincoln County the previous two years, is back as Somerset's defensive coordinator.

"They swarm to the ball much better," Harp said. "They had no trouble with Russell County (21-0) last week. They only lost to Pulaski County (27-20) because Pulaski was a lot bigger inside. They don't have a lot of size on the line, but they'll really play hard, especially on defense because of Robbie."

Harp hopes his team will be healthier this week. Running back Kelvin Turner gained 221 yards on 18 carries and scored twice against Boyle despite limited playing time because of an illness that continued to linger into this week.

"We can't work hard on his conditioning to get him back because he has no energy," Harp said. "He's still not 100 percent."

Turner is first over 5,000 yards

Turner still became the first running back to go over the 5,000-yard rushing mark at Danville with his play last week. He now has 5,144 yards and 66 rushing touchdowns.

"Those are just phenomenal totals," Harp said. "We've had a lot of great backs, but he's the first to gain 5,000 yards at Danville."

Receiver-linebacker Darius Baughman played even less than Turner last week because of a sprained knee. If he's not 100 percent this week, Harp says he won't play at all.

"I would love to have him back, but it's not worth any more setbacks. We need him for the long haul," Harp said.

Quarterback Ronnie Hawkins has thrown the ball better this week after being slowed last week by a shoulder injury.

One player who was full speed last week was 120-pound freshman Tyrell Johnson. He returned the second half kickoff 85 yards for a score and will get a chance to return more kicks Friday.

"We knew he had tremendous speed and elusiveness," Harp said. "He's small, but he has a lot of speed if he gets in the open field. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot to knock him down, but you still have to catch him. He got so excited last week that he got to the sideline and kind of got sick. But he's going to be a good one."

Harp also liked the way sophomore running back-linebacker Darren Ross played against Boyle.

"He made a few mistakes at linebacker, but he played well overall and he ran the ball well," Harp said. "He's getting better on both sides and could be a force later in the season. Those are both key spots for us."

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