"Having him in the backfield certainly helps take the pressure off Dukie (Turner). Whether he's at receiver or running back, Ronnie is dangerous. But when he's in the backfield, teams are going to have to be as prepared to stop him as they are Dukie."
Harrodsburg coach Terry Yeast said his team fatigued more than it has in recent games and that enabled Hawkins, who scored on a 25-yard run in period three, and Turner to break big runs. He also said failing to score after the Admirals fumbled the opening kickoff away at their own 35-yard line hurt his team.
"We couldn't make them pay for their mistake," Yeast said. "After that, we made too many mistakes. Danville is too potent offensively to do that."
Danville gets going
Turner's interception stopped Harrodsburg's early scoring chance, and the Admirals dominated the rest of the opening period.
Hawkins' 56-yard run set up Turner's 2-yard scoring run, and then Turner caught a 22-yard scoring strike from Jeffery Guest on the Admirals' next possession after Harrodsburg mishandled a low snap in punt formation to give Danville the ball only 31 yards from the end zone.
Brandon Lofton's fumble recovery on the kickoff gave the Admirals the ball at the 20-yard line. Harrodsburg's defense made Danville use eight plays to score, but Darren Ross got the touchdown on a 1-yard run for a 22-0 lead just eight minutes into the game.
"We were very business like tonight," Harp said. "I could tell our team was ready to play."
The Pioneers (6-4, 2-3) drove 40 yards for their only score to start the second period when quarterback Freeman Edwards found a wide-open Shane Webb for a 13-yard touchdown play.
Danville quickly made it clear that it would not repeat the mistake it made last week, when it took an early 15-0 lead at Frankfort and just hung on to win 22-14. The Admirals drove 49 yards in five running plays to tally on Turner's 2-yard run and Darius Baughman's interception set up Guest's 9-yard scoring toss to Hawkins.
"Our defense played very well except for one lull in the second quarter," Harp said. "I was a little disappointed in our overall tackling. We definitely have to get better at that or our stay in the playoffs will end quickly. We are going to see some backs that are really strong runners and our tackling has to be better."
Ford runs for 167 yards
That's because Brandon Ford, a speedy sophomore who came into the game ranked fifth in the state with 185 yards rushing per game, ran for 167 yards on 18 carries, including runs of 61 and 50 yards in the second half.
Ford's 61-yard run was almost the game's best. He ran through and by would-be Danville tacklers. However, he was caught by Turner at the 8-yard line, and on fourth down he was stopped at the 1. On the next play Turner came through the line untouched and outran everyone to the end zone for a 99-yard score.
The game's final score came when Guest, who was 5-for-7 passing for 99 yards and three scores, found Baughman for a 45-yard touchdown play.
Both teams will be in the Class A playoffs. Harrodsburg will be on the road at District 3 champion Louisville Holy Cross this week, while Danville will host the fourth-place finisher from the same district.
"We've got to get that nastiness back because a lot of people think Holy Cross is better than Danville," Yeast said. "We have to decide if we want to end our season now or keep playing."
Harp thinks his team showed it wants to defend its Class A state crown.
"We have a lot of things that need to get better, but our focus was there. We lined up right. We executed, except for some missed tackles," Harp said. "We still have to play a lot better, but we're showing signs of what we can do."