Danville enjoyed its largest margin of victory in a season opener since a 64-0 rout of Washington County in 2002 and won the first meeting between these two teams since 2004. Lincoln opened with a loss for the sixth straight year and fell to 3-11 in its bowl.
“Danville’s a great team, and we helped them look pretty good as well,” Lincoln coach Mike Settles said.
“It’s disappointing (for the) staff and I’m sure for the players, because we’re better than the way we performed tonight. It’s unfortunate because we did all the things we said we couldn’t do if we were going to win. Field position was never on our side. We really couldn’t stop them defensively without the big play.”
Three players combined to score Danville’s seven touchdowns, but many more Admirals had a hand in them. Players were constantly shuttled into and out of the game not only in skill positions but also on the offensive line.
“We’re rotating 10 linemen in the game offensively, and we’re rotating about five or six backs there, and we’re also rotating the receivers. We’ve got to do that, especially in the early going, because so many of our kids play both ways, and they did a good job with it,” Harp said.
Seven different Danville players ran the ball in the first quarter alone, and by game’s end 10 players had rushing attempts and six had caught passes. The Admirals had 411 yards, averaging 8.9 per play.
“They had guys that were blocking well up front, and we missed tackles, and when you do that it doesn’t matter who’s running the ball, they’re going to have success,” Settles said.
Danville quarterback Devonta Alcorn threw for 161 yards and two touchdowns, Tryston Ford scored three times in the first half — he had one rushing touchdown, one receiving touchdown and one score in which he recovered his own fumble in the end zone — and Marcus Brown ran for two first-quarter scores as the Admirals opened a 29-0 lead less than 90 seconds into the second quarter and stretched it to 35-0 late in the period.
“It’s very good to get off to a good start. When you get off to a good start, it gets the team pumped,” said Alcorn, who was given a player of the game award along with Lincoln tight end-linebacker Vinny Morris. “The offense did great, but we’ve still got a few things to work on.”
Harp said he was happy with the way his team hit the ground running, although he noted that the Admirals’ pace slowed in the second half.
“When we came out, I think we were pretty intense with what we did (and) we executed for the most part. I think we got a little lazy, you might say, after the half,” Harp said.
Even then, Lincoln couldn’t get close to the Danville end zone for most of the night. The Patriots never got closer than the Admirals’ 31-yard line until their last possession, when they moved all the way to the 1 in the before a fumble on the final play of the game cost them their best chance to score.
I think our linebackers did a lot better job filling (the gaps) tonight, and I think our defensive line did a pretty good job of dominating the line,” Harp said. “ (Defensive tackle) J.K. Howard, in particular, I thought had a very good game inside defensively. He kind of stood out to me, and I’m sure there were others in there when I look at the film.”
Lincoln’s offense generated 176 yards, with nearly three-quarters of that coming in the second half. And the Patriots managed only seven yards on the ground as Danville’s defense wrapped up their running backs and sacked their quarterbacks seven times.
“They did what they wanted to, which is to stop the run, and unfortunately we couldn’t respond. We’ve just got to re-evaluate our personnel and come back next week with a never-say-die attitude,” Settles said.