DANVILLE – When you play your home games at a place called Tough Street, the road to success is never easy.
But the Danville Blue Devils took their first big step on Friday – just in time for Homecoming.
Danville scored on each of its first four possessions and held on for a 44-27 home victory over Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference foe Fredericktown.
“We tried to hit those corners, and it went well. Everyone was making some big plays,” said Danville coach Ed Honabarger. “Jumping out to an early lead is what we needed to do. We had to jump on them for once.”
Honabarger had been waiting for this all season long. Danville had been playing from behind all season. This time, the Blue Devils moved the ball with ease in the first half. They gained 307 yards and were averaging 9.6 yards per play by halftime.
Alex Holt had arguably the best night for the Devils. The 6-foot-2 junior rushed for two touchdowns and caught a third score on a 60-yard streak from quarterback Dalton David.
“We got our heads together and did what our coach told us to do,” said Holt, who finished with 90 rushing yards on six carries, along with four catches for 103 yards.
David finally looked comfortable running the Danville offense. He went 11 of 19 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Most of his passes were on target, and he pulled the ball down and ran at the right time.
“He (David) is trying to get the reads down, and it’s not easy,” Honabarger said. “He’s only had one year in the system, so it’s baby steps. But, you get a game like this when things go right, it helps out. It certainly makes watching film a lot more fun.”
The Danville defense was charged with stopping Fredericktown’s athletic quarterback, Terry Fearn. The Freddie junior proved to be a tough target, however, as he ran for 135 yards on 26 attempts.
Fredericktown’s passing game, however, stalled all night. Fearn completed 13 of 33 pass attempts for 133 yards. He did manage to throw three touchdowns, two of which to Mason Finnell on quick slant routes in the endzone.
“He (Fearn) is a guy that pays attention and wants to get better,” said Fredericktown head coach Beau Wolford. “He has a year of learning. We have some things to work on. But, he is a definite asset to us on offense and on defense.”
Finnell had six catches for 61 yards for the game.
Holt’s 60-yard play happened just one minute into the game. Fredericktown tied the game on a two-yard run by Fearn. But the Devils stormed back with a 17-yard fun by Holt, a one-yard slam by Chris Greenawalt and a 40-yard run by Holt on a reverse to give them a 28-7 lead.
The Freddies had multiple chances to climb back into the game but failed to capitalize. A drive late in the first half stalled at the Danville 5 on a fumble. Then they failed to convert fourth downs on consecutive drives in the third quarter.
Ethan Hawk caught an 11-yard score to give Danville a 34-14 lead. The Devils’ final score came on a short run by Corbin Hazen.
Reese Dorsey, who had been named Homecoming Queen earlier in the night, hit five extra points and a 22-yard field goal for Danville.
Fredericktown’s final touchdown came on a 26-yard pass play from Fearn to Jake Partington.
Danville (1-5, 1-2 KMAC) scored 20-or-more points for the fourth time this season. All five prior opponents are currently ranked in the top eight in the Harbin ratings of their respective regions.
The schedule gets a bit easier from here, as the Devils face winless Cardington on the road next Friday. Danville then hosts Centerburg (3-3) and Mount Gilead (0-6) before the finale at unbeaten East Knox.
Fredericktown (1-5, 1-2 KMAC) has likewise had a tough schedule, with three losses to currently unbeaten teams (Clear Fork, Pleasant and Northmor). It gets no easier, as the Freddies travel to 5-1 Highland next week before hosting East Knox.
The game took three hours, five minutes officially. The game was stretched out due to multiple incomplete passes, as well as a combined 18 penalties for 152 yards.