Vaught's Views: Turner now state's all-time touchdown leader

November 21, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

If ever there was a perfect script for setting a state record, this would have had to been it.

Danville's Kelvin Turner became Kentucky's all-time leader in touchdowns scored Friday with a performance that was truly historic.

Without Turner, there's no way Danville beats Holy Cross and advances to play Mayfield this week for the fifth straight year in the Class A semifinals and moves one step closer to a fourth state championship in five years.

But with Turner, Danville was just unbeatable.

"He's about as special a player as you will find," said Danville coach Sam Harp. "I've never had a more complete back. Show me something he can't do."

You can't.

Turner scored three touchdowns Friday to raise his career total to 113. That's one more than former University of Kentucky running back Derek Homer scored during his prep career at Fort Knox. It's three more than Shaun Alexander, now a star with the Seattle Seahawks, had during his high school days at Boone County.


"It's hard to believe my name is in front of those guys," Turner said. "I watch Shaun Alexander play on Sundays. It's just hard to imagine."

This game showcased everything that Turner does exceptionally well and proved why Harp and his staff think he should be Mr. Football.

The touchdowns

Start with the touchdowns. The first one came on a 78-yard run in the third quarter where Turner seemed to run through half the Holy Cross defense. "The line blocked really well tonight. I made one cut, got upfield and the blocks were there," Turner said.

The touchdown to tie the state record came on a 1-yard run after he appeared to get in the end zone the play before only to be ruled short by umpire George Yeast.

"I thought I got in, too, but Mr. Yeast marked it short. Everybody really wanted me to score and they got me the record the next play," Turner said.

The third score came after he hurt his hand on a 17-yard run. He took three plays off, then tallied on a 30-yard run to give Danville a 28-16 lead. "I broke through the line, made one guy miss and knew then I had the record," Turner said.

Now go to perhaps the game's biggest play. That came on Holy Cross' first possession when Turner came in untouched and blocked a punt that teammate Ryan Harper recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. That sent the message that a smaller, younger Danville team was not intimidated by Holy Cross.

It also was an indicator of what Turner means to the Admirals on defense. He finished the game with a career-high 15 tackles, including eight solo stops.

"I do think this was my best all-around game," Turner said. "I was flying around on defense. I made some good runs. I blocked a punt. And we won."

2,412 yards this season

Turner now has 2,412 yards rushing this season and 40 touchdowns. For his career, he has 6,927 yards rushing.

However, believe him when he says winning a third state title would mean much more than being named Mr. Football.

"I would rather have a team thing instead of an individual award," Turner said. "Mr. Football would be nice, but you can't beat a state championship."

He was holding a game ball as he talked. However, his father actually had the ball he carried into the end zone for his record-breaking score. That was important because earlier in the week his father was hospitalized and wasn't sure he would even be at the game.

"I'm just glad he could be here," the Danville running back said. "This was an unbelievable night. It was a hard-fought game. I broke the record. But if we don't win state, this won't mean nearly as much."

Actually, it will because being No. 1 is a historic accomplishment and something Turner can always remember, especially since he played what had to be one of the best all-around games anyone at Danville ever has on his record-setting night.

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