Admirals learn they must get stronger

December 03, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LOUISVILLE - Danville learned a hard, but perhaps valuable lesson, against Beechwood here Friday.

Beechwood overpowered Danville 23-7 in the Class A state title game, a loss that left Danville coaches and players acknowledging that the Admirals had to do more in the weight room before next season.

"Our young guys won't get back here ever if they don't play stronger," said Danville assistant coach Jerry Perry. "We've told them they were weak all year. We've compensated for that with quickness, but when you line up with somebody that wants to play toe-to-toe, you've got to have more than quickness.

"That's been obvious all year. Our linebackers are not able to take on blocks and make a play. Our linemen got knocked around. If they want to ever be back here, they better get in the weight room and get to work."


Beechwood not only ran for 250 yards, but it also limited the Admirals to 144 yards rushing and kept the ball almost 30 minutes.

"We didn't underestimate them. We just made mistakes and then they just overpowered us," Danville sophomore linebacker Justin Hill, who had a team-high eight tackles, said. "It was a pretty helpless feeling. We knew what they were going to do, but there's was nothing we could do to stop it. That's a bad feeling to have in your heart.

"Before next year we've got to hit the weight room and also learn to play with more focus. I could see at halftime that we had some guys with their heads down. That's just not right."

Beechwood dominated line of scrimmage

Danville's offense was stymied partly because of four turnovers as well as injuries to leading rusher and scorer Kelvin Turner. However, what hurt the Admirals even more was Beechwood's ability to dominate the line of scrimmage.

"They just were more physical than us," Danville sophomore quarterback Jeffrey Guest said. "Maybe some people didn't expect Beechwood to be that strong or be as physical. Maybe we thought because we handled them so easy last year (a 42-7 state title win) that we would again. But they were just too strong for us."

Guest was just 3-for-9 passing for 35 yards and had two passes intercepted.

"I've got to learn to take my time in the pocket," Guest, who became Danville's starter at midseason, said. "I can't always lock on one receiver. I've got to get stronger so I don't go down so easy. I have a lot I have to do myself. Today certainly emphasized that to me."

Junior Darius Baughman had all of Danville's receptions. He also had a 22-yard reception wiped out in the first half because he was in motion.

With the loss of Turner next year, Baughman knows he might see more balls being thrown to him.

"Beechwood's defense was good, but we also stopped ourselves with turnovers and penalties," Baughman, who also had four tackles, said. "Their line was very good, though, and made everything hard for us.

"Before next year we have to get stronger so we can match that strength for four quarters. I don't want to be on a team that gets outplayed like this again. I want to do whatever I can to help us next year. Whether that is at tight end, running back or receiver, it doesn't matter. But I know we have a lot of work to do if we want to be able to win a state title next year. We just weren't as physical as the team we played today."

Lack of strength was obvious

Danville coach Sam Harp said his team's lack of physical strength was obvious in other games. Highlands overpowered the Admirals 41-14 in September, but three weeks ago Danville managed to beat a bigger, more physical Holy Cross in the regional championship game.

"I'm still proud of these guys. I think they represented Danville well. We were not a great team this year, but yet we still got there and we didn't quit today when we could easily have given up another score or two," Harp said.

Perry hopes that meant by the fourth quarter, the Admirals had learned another lesson.

"A lot of kids think the jersey they have on will get them here," Perry said alluding to Danville's tradition and previous 10 state championships. "They don't understand it is the people wearing the jersey, not the jersey, that gets you here. You can't not work and expect to be good. Hopefully we had some guys figure that out today."

Hill did. He says others will, too, and that Danville will start next season again expecting to be back in Louisville for the state championship game.

"We can correct the things we did wrong," Hill said. "Don't forget Danville. We will be back. We lost today, but that doesn't mean we can't win again."

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