Prep Football: Danville looks to maintain momentum in regular-season finale at Frankfort
Danville safety Jawan Grey, bottom, tackles Lexington Christian¿s Blake Hearld during Danville¿s win last week. Grey is one of three Admirals who left last week¿s game with injuries. (Clay Jackson / October 25, 2012)
Momentum can be so precious at this point in the football season, and the Admirals seem to have regained some in their last game. Now they’ll be asked to hold onto it in their final regular-season game Friday at Frankfort and make sure it’s still around for the coming postseason.
Coach Sam Harp said the Admirals got back on track in their win over Lexington Christian last week, and he’s doing all he can to make sure they stay on that track through this week and into the start of the playoffs next week.
“We’ve got to sustain that. We don’t want to take a step back now,” Harp said. “My main focus with these guys, as it has been all year, is to get them to go out and perform their best every time regardless of the score.”
Harp said Danville (7-2) will have to perform well to keep pace with Frankfort (8-1), which has displayed both a potent offense and an effective defense this season.
And at the same time that the Admirals are trying to build momentum, they’re also trying to stay healthy. A number of players are dealing with injuries, and Harp said that will be a concern both in Friday’s game and in practice this week and next.
Linebacker Thorne Koci suffered a torn knee ligament in the win over LCA, and Harp said he will miss the rest of the season. Quarterback-defensive back Devonta Alcorn and running back-wide receiver-safety Jawan Grey also left last week’s game with injuries.
“Our concern is getting ourselves healed up,” Harp said.
Frankfort’s offense is a serious concern as well. The Panthers are one of the most productive teams in Class A, as they are averaging 43.7 points and have scored 30 or more in every game. Coach Craig Foley’s team has adopted a new offensive system that relies on the arm quarterback Chris Hawkins, and Harp said it’s working well.
“They’re always dangerous offensively, but I think they’re a lot better this year than they have been,” Harp said. “They’ve obviously got a guy that can throw the ball around pretty good ... but you’ve got to have all the right pieces to the puzzle, too. They’ve got a great mix of guys they can throw to as well as guys they can hand the ball off to.”
Hawkins has completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,045 yards and 23 touchdowns, and he has only six interceptions in 158 attempts.
The 6-1, 230-pound senior is as big as many of the linemen who block for him. He wears No. 22, and Harp said he is similar in build and style to a successful quarterback who wore the same number at Kentucky, Jared Lorenzen.
“He’s big-built, ... he throws a good ball, and I’m impressed with the touch he puts on the ball,” Harp said.
Aaron Jackson, a wide receiver with breakaway speed, ranks as one of the state’s top five receivers with 43 catches for 1,094 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“How many receivers do you see that have got over 1,000 yards catching the ball?” Harp said. “And when he catches the ball and he’s got space, he’ll go to the house.”
Another of the Panthers’ playmakers, Jalen Washington, has 27 receptions for 573 yards and eight touchdowns.
“He’s not real big, but man, he’s got a lot of jukes. He’ll catch the ball and he may run across the field three or four different times,” Harp said.
Running back-defensive back Teantre McGee leads the Panthers in rushing with 473 yards, and he also has eight fumble recoveries, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Linebackers D.J. Washington and Isaiah Jackson are the top tacklers for a defense that has allowed 17.6 points and 247 yards per game. Take away a 62-30 loss to rival Franklin County, the No. 1 scoring team in the state, and those averages would be 12.3 points and 222 yards per game.
“They’ve been real solid in everything they’ve done against everybody they’ve played,” Harp said.
Danville had some rough patches against LCA last week — there were two turnovers and a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown, and the defense gave up 276 passing yards — before securing a crucial district win that allows the Admirals to host a first-round playoff game next week against Betsy Layne.
Damani Del Rosario and Jadarius Brown rushed for 116 and 113 yards, respectively, against LCA, and they have a combined total of 538 yards and seven touchdowns.
Harp said he was pleased to see the Admirals play with passion last week, and he hopes he’ll see it again Friday.
“We want to continue on that tone of how we played last week,” he said. “We need to continue that now that we’ve found it again. We finally put together four quarters, and we need to continue that.”