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Vinemont edges Danville with late TD

Paul Wilson
Special to the Enquirer

High school athletics are a great teacher of life. Players, coaches and fans learn a lot about themselves and others each time two schools get together for athletic competition.

Last Friday night at Smith-Owens Stadium, the groups representing Danville and Vinemont learned a lot about the other in Vinemont’s 21-16 victory over the Danville Hawks.

“We left it on the field tonight” said Danville head football coach Scott Curd. Curd went on to say, “Both teams played extremely hard and I am very proud of our guys. We fought but just came up short.”

Vinemont (2-0, 1-0) took the opening kick and drove 69 yards in 9 plays for the game’s first touchdown. Tyler Jones ran 9 yards for the score. The PAT was good, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 7:23 left in the opening period.

Jones would be a thorn in the side of the Hawks (1-1, 0-1) all night gaining 217 yards on 28 carries. Jones also scored all three Eagle touchdowns including the game winner with just 1:04 left in the 4th quarter.

Each team then turned the ball over on downs before Danville tied the contest late in the first quarter.

The Hawk touchdown drive started at their own 29. Two runs gained just six yards. On third-and-four, senior quarterback Justin Morgan gained five yards to give Danville a first down. D.J.Batts then took an option pitch from Morgan and gained 18 yards. Batts would finish with 65 yards on nine carries.

Two plays later Morgan and WR Travis Turrentine hooked up for a 25-yard touchdown. Brock Garrison kicked the PAT to tie the game at seven with 10 seconds remaining in the quarter.

While the offenses owned the first quarter, the defenses dominated the second as each team combined for just 86 yards. Danville threatened to take the lead on their first possession of the period but a lost fumble inside the Vinemont 10 ended the drive.

Danville would take the lead midway through the third when Garrison kicked a 25-yard field goal to give the Hawks a 10-7 advantage. The scoring opportunity was set up when Hawk junior Dallas McAbee recovered a Vinemont fumble at the Eagle 7.

Vinemont retook the lead early in the final period on a 13-yard run by Jones. The Eagle TD drive covered 68 yards in 11 plays and was aided by a Danville personal foul, which allowed the drive to continue.

A short kick return gave the Hawks horrible field position, but the Danville offense drove 90 yards with Morgan and Turrentine connecting once again on another 25-yard touchdown pass and catch. Garrison’s kick was no good but Danville led once again (16-14) with just 2:20 remaining in the game.

Vinemont’s game winning drive began at their own 39. Runs of eight, five and 11 yards by Jones gave the Eagles the ball at the Danville 37. On first down Hawk defensive linemen Hunter LaRoche and Aaron “Double A” Anderson tackled Tyler Bolan for a loss of two yards. A sack by Justin Hannah and Slater Robinson gave Vinemont a third-and-16 from the Danville 43.

On the next play, Jones ran 43 yards for the winning touchdown.

The Hawks would get to the Vinemont 39 before turning the ball over on downs.

The Hawks will play at home Friday night against Winfield (1-1, 0-1) in another region contest. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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