Can Boyle, Danville reach 2005 state title games?

December 12, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Now that Title Town has been dethroned, Boyle County and Danville are already thinking about what it will take to bring state championships back here in 2005.

Danville lost 23-7 to Beechwood in the Class A state title game before Boyle fell 22-6 to Highlands in the Class AAA title game. The Rebels had won five straight state titles and the Admirals had won three in the previous four years.

"Some of our younger guys have really got to work hard and make a commitment to step their game up next year," said Boyle coach Chuck Smith. "The potential (to win a state championship) is there if they are willing to make that commitment. I won't know that until this winter.

"We are losing a real good class of players. We have to replace a lot of skilled players and that is the hardest thing to do. I think our line will be solid, which is always good, but we have to find some new skilled players. But we have faced this same dilemma before and been able to succeed. It just depends on having players commit to what we are doing."


Danville coach Sam Harp says offseason work in the weight room will be key for his team, too.

"We got pushed around in the state title game. It's easy to talk about what you are going to do right after you get beat, but what we have to do is eat those weights for the next year if we want to get back to Louisville (for the state title game)," Harp said.

Both teams are losing star players. Danville's Kelvin Turner set a state record with 116 touchdowns and was second in the state in scoring with 702 points. He finished his prep career with 7,170 rushing yards, the most in school history. Versatile Ronnie Hawkins, who played quarterback, receiver and running back, will also be gone. Both Smith and Turner also started on defense.

"Obviously, it's hard to replace a Kelvin Turner," Harp said. "You just don't replace guys like them (Turner and Hawkins). But that being said, you have to take different approaches to what you do. I feel like we will be able to do that. We have some good young kids and we can have a good team."

Boyle County

Boyle quarterback Brandon Smith, who verbally committed to Western Kentucky on Thursday, threw for 8,796 yards and 116 touchdowns. He also rushed for 2,420 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Not only does Boyle lose Smith, but it also loses leading rusher Quinn Givhan and two of its top receivers in Evan Teague and Greg Peck.

"Quarterback and running back will be two big question marks," Chuck Smith said. "We will definitely be looking at some different people in spring practice. Early summer workouts will also be big for us because we'll be looking at different combinations."

The coach said it is unlikely that Seth Tamme, this season's leading receiver with 73 catches for 1,419 yards and 15 touchdowns, would be moved to another spot.

"Seth is not a quarterback or running back," Chuck Smith said. "There are some kids we will move around, but we've really not talked in depth about that yet."

He said junior Paul Keen has been waiting for his chance to play at running back and that junior Phillip Dean, a starting cornerback this year, and freshman Cole Stevens will also get a chance at that spot.

At quarterback, Smith said junior varsity quarterback Grant Tamme will get the first shot at starting and that sophomore Bryce Perry could also figure in the mix.

"Then we might also decide to move somebody else in there," Smith said.


Danville does return quarterback Jeffrey Guest, who moved into the starting lineup midway of his sophomore season when Harp switched Hawkins to receiver. He ran for 313 yards and threw for 658 yards in 10 games.

"Playing this year will benefit him, but he's not a lock for that position," Harp said. "He could be challenged. Rich Witten was our jayvee quarterback and did some good things. Jeffrey has the edge, but only time will tell who will win the job."

Sophomore Darren Ross ran for 388 yards this season before shifting to tight end midway of the season. Junior Darius Baughman had 20 catches for 321 yards.

Harp says Baughman could emerge as a big-play producer if he's willing to do what is best for the team as he indicated he would after the Admirals lost to Beechwood.

"It's easy to say things after you get your butt whipped," Harp said. "Now I want to see him follow through with that. He talked about being a team player, which is the first time he's really said that. He played tight end, a position he really didn't like. He played linebacker, another spot he didn't like, because we needed him there.

"He's got the body to play about any position. He just has to get in the weight room and get busy. But there's no question he could play a huge role for us next year.

Harp expects a talented freshman group to join his team but says it is unfair to expect big contributions from first-year players. However, he is counting on several young linemen off this year's team to play bigger roles next year.

"We have some young kids that can help if they get physically ready. If not, then we will have a hard time," Harp said.

Both coaches expect this year's state title game losses to motivate their players during the next few months.

"I would be disappointed if we are not motivated more. I'm sure Danville will be the same way," Smith said. "We didn't finish the job and win the championship this year. I think we have a good class of juniors. They are good players and good boys. But it takes a lot of work to win a championship and even then there are no guarantees."

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