Prep Football: Saturday's Lincoln County vs Danville game should be physical
Danville defensive lineman Jacobie Harris (11) trips up Simon Kenton quarterback Brennan Kuntz (6) during Danville's loss last week. The Admirals host Lincoln County Saturday. (Clay Jackson / August 23, 2012)
The coaches of both teams expect the ground game to be a deciding factor when the Admirals and Patriots meet at Admiral Stadium in the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic.
Both teams used the running game to generate most of their offense in their openers, and that’s likely to be the case again Saturday.
“I think this is a game that the linemen will definitely dictate who wins and loses it,” Lincoln coach Mike Settles said.
Danville coach Sam Harp agreed.
“We’ve got to stop the run game to beat (Lincoln), just like I’m sure people feel they’ve got to do that against us,” Harp said. “I guess it’s going to be mano-a-mano, lineman against lineman. I hope our guys can hold up.”
Both Danville and Lincoln got slightly more than three-fourths of their total offense on the ground in separate games Friday in Lincoln’s Death Valley Bowl. And after questions in the preseason about who might run the ball for both teams, Jawan Grey of Danville and Logan Martin of Lincoln County emerged as the primary running backs.
Both accounted for almost half of their team’s yardage, with Grey rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown and Martin racking up 153 yards and four touchdowns.
“I think he ran well,” Harp said of Martin. “Obviously we’ve got to be able to shut him down.”
Settles said he was impressed with Grey and with quarterback Devonta Alcorn, who had a team-high 15 carries for 40 yards.
“Alcorn looked really good running the football. I think Devonta has really matured as a player and runs the ball more physically than I’ve seen him,” Settles said. “And Jawan’s got great speed and understands the system. He really stood out for them.”
Harp said he sees a better Lincoln team than a year ago, when the Admirals rolled to a 42-0 victory in the Death Valley Bowl.
“I think they’re a much-improved football team over last year,” he said. “Coach Settles has their program going in the right direction. I think it’s obvious by their enthusiasm and the job the coaching staff has done.”
Settles said Danville’s determination in its opener left an impression on him.
“The main thing I saw in person is that their kids compete so hard. I was really impressed with how bad they wanted to win,” he said.
Settles said he hopes his defense can force more Danville turnovers, and he hopes the Patriots can show more consistency on both sides of the ball than in their win last week over Casey County.
“I just feel like we played very inconsistent. In the first half we weren’t very successful offensively but our defense played well, and in the second half we didn’t play very well on defense but our offense was more successful,” he said. “I thought we played better defense, but after watching the film, I didn’t think we played very well. We need to focus on being more consistent for four quarters.”
Both teams will be without one starter Saturday. Lincoln safety T.J. Torres will serve a suspension after being ejected from the Casey game, and Settles said that impacts the Patriots’ depth.
Danville center Patrick Grizzell suffered a knee injury against Simon Kenton, and Harp said while results of an MRI exam revealed no serious damage, he might miss a couple of weeks. J.K. Howard is expected to slide over from his tackle position to make the start at center.
Last season’s game at Lincoln was the first meeting between the Patriots and Admirals in seven years. They have played 27 times in all, including annually from 1983-2004, with Danville winning all but one game.