Turner's fourth-quarter scores give Ads victory

November 14, 2004|MARTY WARREN

Danville coach Sam Harp had a change of heart with the score tied 6-6 and just over five minutes to play Friday.

Harp's players rewarded their coach's confidence with a thrilling 20-6 win over pesky Bardstown at Admiral Stadium in the second round of the Class A playoffs.

Harp originally planned to have the Admirals punt on fourth down from their own 45-yard line even though they needed only a yard for a first down. When Bardstown called timeout, the Danville coach elected to go for broke and try for the first down.

The Tigers crowded the line of scrimmage by putting nine defenders on the line. Ronnie Hawkins' block gave senior Kelvin Turner just enough space to find an opening for a 55-yard touchdown run right through the middle of the Bardstown defense that gave the Admirals a 13-6 lead.


"I think that play sent a message to them," said Turner, who rushed for 232 yards on 27 attempts. "We needed a big play, and coach Harp had the confidence in us to make it. They crowded the line all night, and I thought sooner or later I would be able to break one for a score."

Harp agreed.

"We sent the punt unit out there, but when they called timeout we decided to go ahead and go for it," the Danville coach said. "We hadn't been in their territory very much and the wind was in our face. Fortunately, Dukie (Turner) broke it."

Turner, who gained 137 yards in the fourth quarter and scored again with just over a minute to play from 64 yards, and the rest of Danville's backs had problems getting outside on the Tigers' defense.

"They have tremendous speed and we had a hard time getting out there all night," Harp said. "They were determined to force us inside."

Mistakes hurt early

Danville (8-4) had a chance to put the game away early, but mistakes kept the Admirals out of the end zone.

Sophomore Darren Ross recovered a fumble when Bardstown punter Michael Seaman couldn't handle a bad snap and the Ads took over on the Tigers' 17. However, a penalty moved the ball back and Zach Hampton's 40-yard field goal attempt fell just short.

"I was really disappointed that we didn't punch the ball in the end zone early in the game when we had a chance to take the lead," Harp said. "The thing that hurt us the most was our dumb penalties to stop our drives. We stopped ourselves once with a motion penalty and then had a drive that was cut short by a holding call."

Danville finally hit paydirt just before the quarter came to a close after a Jeffery Guest interception and 28-yard return placed the ball at the Tigers' 19. Four plays later Hawkins raced virtually untouched off left tackle for a 10-yard touchdown run.

Bardstown knotted the score 6-6 just before the half. A 38-yard pass from Josh Payne to Brian Calhoun put the ball at the Danville 16, and Calhoun connected with Paul Downs from there two plays later for the tying touchdown.

After that series, though, the Admirals defense shut down Bardstown's running game completely. The Tigers managed just 94 yards on 40 running plays, and 28 of those yards came on one play.

Several big plays late

There were several big plays late that kept the Tigers out of the end zone. Darius Baughman and Ross combined for a pair of quarterback sacks with the score tied in the fourth quarter.

The Danville secondary didn't fall asleep when the Tigers attempted a fake field goal where it appeared the kicker didn't know whether he was to be in the game or not. Calhoun threw into the end zone on the play, only to have the ball knocked down at the last second.

"Our defense was outstanding except for a couple of plays," Harp added. "We criticized our linebackers and defensive ends all year for not making the proper reads, but they did a great job tonight. We shut down their option all night and forced them into their jet package."

Harp called on his team to play with emotion earlier in the week. What he got out his team, though, was much bigger than that.

"We beat a good football team and showed a lot of heart in doing so," the Danville coach said. "Some people will look at this score and say we should have done this or that, but we had to play close to our best tonight, and I felt we did that."

Danville, the defending Class A state champion, will host Louisville Holy Cross, a 26-14 winner over Louisville Christian Friday, in this week's Region 2 championship game.

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