Harp: Admirals need 'fire in their eyes'

November 11, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Danville coach Sam Harp has had a simple, but meaningful, message for his team going into Friday's Class A playoff game against Bardstown.

"If we don't bring emotion and play with a sense of urgency, then we struggle. If we come to play like we did when we played Boyle County, then we are a pretty good team," Harp said. "I have not seen that kind of emotion and intensity since we played Boyle.

"We have to play our best to win Friday. I told our players they better show that in practice that they earned the right to dress out on Friday. I told them they better bust their tail or I would buy them a ticket to the game. I don't care who they are. I told them they better come with fire in their eyes every day or they will not be on the sidelines on game night."


Bardstown (8-3) is coming off a 41-21 win over Carroll County, a team Danville beat 56-18 during the season. The Admirals (7-4) beat Campbellsville, a team Bardstown defeated 48-14, 30-12last week.

"Bardstown is a very good team," Harp said. "They lost to Breathitt County, one of the best Class AA teams in the state, and Holy Cross, a team that is beating everybody. They lost to KCD (Kentucky Country Day) when they had six starters out. They are very skilled offensively. They will be the fastest overall team we have played."

Tigers have rushed for 2,242 yards

Bardstown's option offense averages 5 yards per rush. The Tigers have gained 2,242 yards rushing and only 532 passing this season. Bardstown has six players with a run of 41 or more yards this year, and three receivers have caught passes of 42 yards or more.

Quarterback Brian Calhoun has rushed for 516 yards and 12 scores and thrown for 324 yards. He's accounted for nine touchdowns in the last two games.

Kwasi Obeng, one of the state's top sprinters last year, has gained 430 yards on only 54 carries. Fullback Melvin Scott averaged 5.6 yards per run and halfback Jamehyl Butler, who had an 89-yard kickoff return against Carroll, averages 4.9 yards per carry.

Barrdstown coach Joey Downs said Obeng won't play against Danville because of a knee injury suffered in the loss to KCD Oct. 22.

"He is the fastest kid we will have seen if he is able to play," Harp said. "But his replacement is almost as fast."

Downs said his team's biggest key will be eliminating turnovers. All his top skilled players are juniors and Bardstown's option offense sometimes leads to fumbles.

"We can't turn the ball over. If we don't, we can play with anybody," Downs said. "If we do, we can get beat by anybody."

"Carroll County could not stop their option," Harp said. "The fullback killed them, especially late. We have to play our responsibilities and be disciplined. They will be the best team we have seen at running the option."

Downs just as leery of Danville's offense

Downs is just as leery of Danville's offense. Running back Kelvin Turner has ran for 1,959 yards and 28 touchdowns to boost his career touchdown total to 104, the fourth-best mark in state history. He also has four touchdown catches.

"Turner is tough," Downs said. "He just doesn't go down. We have to gang tackle him because he sheds tacklers like nothing. I'm really impressed with him. He will get my vote for Class A player of the year.

"But he's not all they have. The quarterback changed has opened things up a little more. Then (Ronnie) Hawkins can do anything. He runs well and catches. He opens a lot of things up. Danville is rated No. 1 in Class A for a reason."

Harp thought sophomore quarterback Jeffery Guest played well in his first playoff start last week. He threw for 117 yards and a touchdown and has now completed 31 of 53 passes for 610 yards and 11 scores.

"He's gaining maturity and experience," Harp said. "He threw his first interception and made a bad decision. Other than that, he did pretty well."

Hawkins, the starting quarterback in Danville's first five games, had three catches for 98 yards and a touchdown against Campbellsville.

"We are going to need everything clicking because they play defense a lot like Highlands," Harp said. "They have a lot of athletic guys on the field that get to the ball in a hurry."

Lineman Jacob Blackmon leads Bardstown with 93 tackles, and linebacker Brandon Reed has 64 stops, including six quarterback sacks.

"Bardstown is a very good football team," Harp said. "They are solid on both sides of the ball. If we don't play our best game, then we are not going to be playing next week."

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