Beechwood turns the tables on Danville

December 03, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

LOUISVILLE - If the Class A championship had a familiar look to it, there's a good reason.

The similarities in Friday's state final between Danville and Beechwood and last year's game between the same teams were starkly clear. The only difference was in who had the upper hand.

Beechwood did to Danville this year exactly what Danville did to Beechwood last year, dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and rolling to a 23-7 victory at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The Tigers ran the ball right at Danville, using a powerful offensive line to push the Admirals back. Those same linemen kept the Danville offense in check, holding the Admirals to a single touchdown and eight first downs.


"We got beat by the better football team today," Danville coach Sam Harp said. "I felt like we got pushed around."

It was a stark contrast to the 2003 game when Danville rushed for 500 yards and held Beechwood to 22. This time around, the Admirals were held to a season-low 158 yards of total offense, including 123 yards on the ground, and they allowed 336 yards to a bigger, stronger Beechwood team.

Beechwood coach Mike Yeagle said he was proud that his team won this game in the same fashion it lost last year.

"It means a lot, because when we left here last year, I was so amazed by the size of their thighs and their rear ends," Yeagle said. "We got beat in the weight room by Danville last year, and that's something we really take a lot of pride in in northern Kentucky."

Two interceptions, two fumbles

Danville (10-5) was also hurt by four turnovers - two interceptions and two fumbles - as it was denied in its bid for an 11th state championship. Beechwood (14-1), which had lost the last two Class A title games, won its ninth crown and its first since 1999.

Danville lost for only the second time in 12 trips to the finals. But Harp said he believes the Admirals did all they could do.

"Most people counted us out a long time ago, and truthfully, there was a time where I didn't feel like we could get here," he said. "They've got big hearts, and they fought extremely hard today and all season."

The Admirals may have had big hearts, but Beechwood had bigger bodies.

"We had a lot of strong guys graduate last year," Harp said. "You take a whole bunch of young kids and put in their place, and they just physically dominated us. We couldn't do much about it."

Dustin Menetrey carried the load behind the Beechwood line, rushing 34 times for 187 yards. Fullback Eric Sawyer added 54 yards, and he caught passes for the Tigers' first two touchdowns.

The second of those scores gave Beechwood a 14-7 lead late in the first half, and the Tigers added a field goal and a touchdown in the second half on two drives that used a combined 8 minutes, 44 seconds.

Beechwood's control of the trenches left Danville with fewer opportunities to answer. The Tigers had the ball for nearly 30 of the game's 48 minutes, and they ran 15 more offensive plays than Danville.

"They had a huge line up front," Danville lineman Jacob Moore said. "They were all really strong and capable of getting any block you needed them to. It was really hard to get any kind of push or any kind of depth into the field, whether you were on offense or defense."

Weight room reminder

Menetrey said the weight room was also where the Tigers were constantly reminded of their loss to Danville last year.

"We heard it all year in the weight room, 42 to 7," he said. "I don't think there was a day when we didn't hear it."

The Beechwood defense held Danville tailback Kelvin Turner, who was averaging 184 yards per game, to 76 yards on 18 carries.

"Their defense was great today," Turner said. "They were calling out which way we were running, and then they would fly to the ball, and they had more than one guy hitting me."

Yet Yeagle said Turner was hardly mentioned in the Tigers' practices this week.

"We didn't talk a lot about Turner all week at all," he said. "You need 10 guys to go with him, and I felt like our 11 guys were as good as their 11."

Beechwood gave an indication of what the day would be like, by scoring on its first series, which began with four carries by Menetrey for 18 yards and ended with a 54-yard pass from Patrick Muth to Sawyer.

Midway through the period, Danville quarterback Jeffrey Guest threw an interception, then intercepted a Muth pass on the next play that led to the Admirals' only score. They took over at the Beechwood 46-yard line and scored 10 plays later on an 8-yard run by Ronnie Hawkins.

A fumble by Turner at the Danville 28 led to Sawyer's second score.

Beechwood took a 17-7 lead on a field goal by Muth on its first possession of the second half, and the Tigers followed a fumble by Guest with a 39-yard drive for their final score, which came on a 3-yard run by Muth with 7:33 to play.

"If you've got four turnovers, you're going to get beat no matter who you play," Harp said.

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