Prep Football: Danville, Boyle coaches impressed by opponents they'll face in showdown
Damani Del Rosario, right, of Danville eludes a Simon Kenton defender earlier this season. Del Rosario has rushed for 21 yards and one touchdown for the Admirals, who will try to beat archrival Boyle County on Friday for the first time in five years. (Clay Jackson / August 30, 2012)
On the other hand, both Sam Harp of Danville and Larry French of Boyle say they’re impressed with the teams they’ll face in Friday’s crosstown shootout at Rebel Stadium.
“They’re a very good football team, very explosive offensively,” Harp said of Boyle. “There’s no question it’ll be a challenge for us again just like it has been the last few years.”
“They’re a pretty good football team, no doubt about that,” French said of Danville. “They’ve been scoring a lot of points and not giving up many points. They’re a good, solid ball club.”
Both teams put up big numbers on offense last week as they rebounded from opening-night losses.
Boyle racked up 49 points and 423 yards in its victory over Collins, giving the Rebels 80 points and 857 yards in two games. Danville didn’t fare so well in its first game, when it was held to seven points, but the Admirals’ offense generated 51 points and 445 yards last week in their win over Lincoln County.
But both coaches say their teams still have a long way to go.
“We’ve got a lot of room for improvement,” Harp said.
That likely will still be the case after Friday’s showdown, where Boyle will try to make it five straight wins in the series, which Danville leads 32-17-1.
Recent history says the winner of this game will put a pretty big number on the scoreboard. The winning team has scored 35 or more points in six of the last nine games, and Boyle has scored 43 or more three times in the last four years.
Boyle has been a run-based team so far this season, led by junior Seph Burke, who has rushed for 390 yards and six touchdowns — including four last week.
“He’s a hard runner, he’s elusive, he runs with conviction that he’s going to finish the run,” Harp said.
Lloyd Hall also has 167 yards on the ground for the Rebels, who have run the ball on 97 of their 128 offensive plays.
“I just think they seem to be running out of their wishbone set a lot more than they have in times past. It seems that the running game is working well for them and what they do,” Harp said.
Danville has been a bit more balanced, with 71 rushing plays and 27 passing plays, and the Admirals threw the ball 19 times last week.
“I think he’ll try to be balanced as much as he can. The team that can run the football is probably going to be the team that wins,” French said.
Danville quarterback Devonta Alcorn has completed 15 of 27 passes for 290 yards and threw for three touchdowns against Lincoln, but he also leads the Admirals’ ground game in rushing attempts (21) and yards (155).
“I think what you see is he’s starting to run the ball a lot better. He’s played there four years, and he’s got a lot of experience,” French said.
Ace Ray leads Danville in receiving with seven catches for 167 yards. Blake Mason, Austin Muntz and Josiah Robbins lead Boyle with four receptions each.
Danville’s defense has allowed only 12 points in two games, while Boyle has allowed 78. But Harp said the Rebels’ defense looks good in light of who they have played, calling it “typical Boyle.”
“They’ve given up more points than they’re used to giving up the first couple of games, but I don’t see a lot of difference in their defense. You’ve got to look at the teams they’ve played. You’ve got to sit and watch things on film,” he said.
French disagreed, saying he has found a number of things on those films he doesn’t like.
“I think our defense has got a lot of weaknesses in it,” he said. “We don’t tackle real well, but at the same time I thought we had a lot of improvement from a week ago, and if we continue to improve defensively we could be a good defensive team. The talent is there, they’ve just got to go out and do it, the effort part has got be there. That’s something we’ve been harping on this week and hopefully can get across to them.”
Boyle’s defense is expected to add one part this week when cornerback Clint Hellyer returns from a broken collar bone. French said the injury knocked Hellyer out of action about six weeks ago, but he has been practicing for two weeks and is at full speed now.
Then there is the matter of turnovers. Danville has committed four more than its two opponents; Boyle has one more than the teams it has played.
“Any time you turn the ball over, you give the other team momentum,” French said.
Harp said keeping mistakes to a minimum might make the difference Friday.
“There’s no question whoever takes care of the football is going to be in the best position,” he said. “Both teams have got good kicking games, so you’re dealing with field position there, and obviously turnovers dictate field position. You don’t want to give the other team a short field to work on.”