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Danville Blue Devils High School Athletics

 

 
   

Danville Meets Athletic Cuyahoga Heights

Danville and Cuyahoga Heights play in a final four match-up in division seven at Orrville’s Red Rider Stadium on Friday night. The winner earns a ticket to next week’s state final in the small school division.

The Blue Devils made it this far in 2015 before losing to Mogadore (35-21) also in division seven.

This year Danville (12-1) finished in a first place tie with Highland in the new Knox Morrow Athletic Conference. Coach Ed Honabarger feels getting in that league and the good competition they faced helped them in the post season. Their only loss came to Highland (26-0) on week four. They have won eight in a row.

Last week, Honabarger was a riverboat gambler as quarterback Skyler Durbin scored with 1:02 remaining and he went for two and again Durbin got across the goal line for the two point conversion and the lead. Danville held on to beat Hannibal River (29-28) in a regional final. “We got a big defensive stop. I just knew going down the field that if we scored we were going for two because I didn’t really want to go overtime with their quarterback Lukas Isaly as good an athlete as he is running the football. I just didn’t think that would be good for us. We were fortunate enough to get it in the end zone and then we got the two point conversion to get the lead with a minute left,” said Honabarger.

Cuyahoga Heights, the defending division six runner-up, also won in dramatic fashion as they recovered a fumble and then scored with :16 seconds left to beat Wayne County Athletic League champion Dalton (42-41) in a regional final. Honabarger says the Redskins make big plays. “A good core of their kids come back this year. They are pretty big up front. Their wing back/split end (Dylan) Drummon I guess is going to Eastern Michigan, he is a really good football player. He is their go to guy when they need big plays,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have a big fullback that is about 6’2”, 220 that they like to pound and wear people down.”

Even though their defense has been outstanding this year, Honabarger feels this game is going to kind of be like last week. “I said that last week that we really needed to score 35 or 40 and 29 did it. I believe I told everybody we are not going to stop them we have to get stops at the right time and that’s what we did. This game is going to be similar we have to be able to score some points and get stops at key moments in the game,” said Honabarger.

When you get to this level of the playoffs, Honabarger says you have to be able to make the big plays at crucial times if you are going to win. “If somebody makes a big play or two, whether it be on offense or defense. You have to create opportunities for yourself. At this point in the game that’s what needs to happen,” he said.

Published 11/22/17

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Danville Counting on Their Defense

Danville’s defense has been lights out in the playoffs, but they face their biggest challenge this week against Hannibal River,

They meet the Pilots (8-4) in the division seven regional final at Maysville High School on Friday night.

Last week, the Blue Devils (11-1) beat Gloster Trimble (27-10) in a second round game, rallying from a first half deficit (10-6) to do it.

Coach Ed Honabarger says they didn’t get rattled and their defense continues to play well. “Our defense has played really well. We have thought our secondary has really stepped up and made it tough for people to get yardage. We have only given up nine passing yards the last two playoff games. So, defense has been a big part of our success here lately,” said Honabarger.

He says they try to develop a game plan where they concentrate on limiting the other team’s best player or the plays the like to run the most. “We go into the game and try to make somebody else beat us. Let’s try to take away something you do well and make maybe a kid who doesn’t normally make plays, make some plays,” said Honabarger.

River overwhelmed Portsmouth East (59-8) last week in their regional semifinal. They have won their last four, including a (39-34) win over Harvest Prep in the first round.

Honabarger says they have multiple weapons. “They are really hot right now. They play a really tough schedule, so they are more than prepared. They have a real dynamic offense, a lot of formations, a lot of plays,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “A quarterback that is a dual threat, he is a lot like Michee Johnson from Northmor, that type of athlete and they have a big receiver that they can put the ball up to. So, it is definitely going to be a challenge.”

When facing a team like River, Honabarger says you have to know where to lineup and identify where their playmakers are in the formation. “We just preach to our kids with the multiple formations they are just basically trying to outflank you. We have to make sure we line up right and know where their dudes are and know who is going to get the ball and make sure we are sound,” he said.

Published 11/15/17

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Traditional Powers Danville and Trimble in Round Two

Danville takes on Gloster Trimble in a division seven regional semifinal on Friday night at Newark High School.

They have combined for 32 playoff appearances, 18 of those belonging to the Blue Devils. The last time either side was not in the playoffs was 2010.

Danville (10-1) beat Zanesville Rosecrans (35-14) in their first playoff game this year.

Coach Ed Honabarger says they were able to get things going in the second half of the game. “We had two or three fumbles the first half and gave them field position on the one where they had their score in the first half. They only had to go 25 yards. The field wasn’t in great shape, it was wet, but they had the same problem and they didn’t put the ball on the ground, so that is something we had to work on this week. Defensively, we played pretty darn well,” said Honabarger.

Turnovers are killers and the Blue Devils can’t have those going forward. Honabarger says sometimes it is a lack of concentration. “You never know what plays as a factor. It could be a little lack of concentration or a lack to detail. Of course, you know, they ball is a little wet. We need to think about it and squeeze it a little harder. You are dealing with a bunch of teenagers so you never know,” he said.

Trimble (8-2) hung on to beat Lucas (20-19) last week in a regional quarterfinal at Lucas. The Cubs cut it to one with about 5:00 left, but they had a two point conversion called back on a penalty. The Tomcats recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

Honabarger says they have a ball possession offense featuring the wishbone attack. “Gloster Trimble has had a great deal of success through the years. They run a wishbone offense, but they will jump into other formations. They want to eat up the clock and pound the football. They are happy getting three and half yards every play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “A little bit like Woody Hayes. They are real aggressive on defense. They are like a bunch of bumblebees that are upset in groves. They just really get after it.”

Honabarger says the Tomcats can be really affective with that wishbone and they most do a good job containing it. “It can be whatever you want it to be. If somebody is not disciplined on defense it can be a big play. If you get a push up front and have some good backs you can get your three and half yards and eat up the clock, which most wishbone teams want to do,” he said.

Published 11/09/17

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Danville Hosts Zanesville Rosecrans in Opening Round

Danville is making its seventh straight playoff appearance as the Blue Devils host Zanesville Rosecrans in a division seven regional quarterfinal on Friday night.

The Blue Devils (9-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, end up sharing the Knox Morrow Athletic League title with Highland after they beat East Knox last week and Highland lost (34-12) to Northmor.

Danville coach Ed Honabarger says the (21-14) win over the rival Bulldogs was another example of what is a great rivalry. “It was a typical rivalry game with us and East Knox. You throw everything out the window it was a great game. We went up early. We had some chances to put them away. We could have been up maybe 28-0 at halftime, but we missed on a couple passes just off the fingertips of our receivers and missed a field goal,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “East Knox stood solid after that and they had a couple of drives. We had a turnover and gave them a short field. They hit a long run on us. It was a defensive battle most of the second half. When we needed it, we put a drive together and scored with about two minutes left.”

Danville also to beat Garaway (25-22) and Northmor (41-34) earlier this year. Honabarger says his kids are battle tested in close games and that should help them in the postseason. “We have had about three of those this year that were tight contests. So, I think that helps you down the road. Now that we are in the playoffs and you get in a tightly contested game you know you have been there before and maybe you are not so nervous as a kid,” he said.

Rosecrans (8-2) lost back to back games in the middle of the season to Harvest Prep (50-14) and Worthington Christian (16-10) on week six. Harvest Prep (9-1) finished second to Danville in the region. Worthington Christian was (5-5) this year. Their most impressive win was (41-13) over (7-3) Berne Union.

Honabarger says they have some real offensive weapons. “They average about 42 points a game. They have some really good athletes. They only have about 20 kids on the team. They have a receiver with over 1,000 yards. The quarterback is a dual threat quarterback. He has thrown for 1,300 and ran for about 750. Then they have a tailback that has about 1,200 yards. It is a triple headed monster that we need to be able to contain,” said Honabarger.

The Danville coach says they have played teams like this before in the playoffs. “What they really remind us of is back in 2015 when we played South Gallia. They had very similar athletes and with similar stats with the quarterback, running back and receiver that you really have to concentrate on getting stops on,” he said.

Published 10/31/17

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Rivals Danville and East Knox Clash

Week 10 is rivalry week and one of the better ones around North Central Ohio will be at Danville as the East Knox Bulldogs make the short trip to play the Blue Devils in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game.

Danville trails Highland by a game in the conference standings and would need Northmor to beat the Scots to have a chance to share in the first football title in that league’s history.

Danville has already clinched a playoff berth in division seven, but East Knox needs a win to get a week 11 game in division six.

The Blue Devils (8-1,5-1) beat Mt, Gilead (56-14) last week for their fifth win in as many games.

Coach Ed Honabarger says they have done some really good things on both sides of the ball the last month. “It seems like we have really jelled the last five weeks offensively and defensively,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have been able to jump out to early leads on people and play good defense and put them in a bind no matter what they want to do and get them out of a rhythm.”

East Knox (7-2,4-2) lost last week to Highland (28-7) and the week before to Fredericktown (32-28) after winning its first seven games of the season.

Honabarger says the Bulldogs have a lot of athletes that can make big plays. “They have some real playmakers on offense. They run to the ball well on defense. They have stumbled the past two weeks, but in a rivalry anything goes and they will be more than ready for us,” said Honabarger.

Danville and East Knox go way back and Honabarger says this is always the most important game on their schedule. “Of course, we are four miles apart. It’s for bragging rights for a year. There are a lot of families and a lot of friends on both sides for this game,” he said.

Published 10/26/17

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Danville Riding Momentum

Danville is on a four game winning streak and has already clinched a playoff spot in division seven.

They are going to need some help to earn a share of the Knox Morrow County Athletic Conference title. They need East Knox to beat Highland this week and then they need to beat the Bulldogs next week.

They beat Centerburg (41-0) last week and coach Ed Honabarger says they are on a little roll of momentum. “I think we have improved week by week. We had one hiccup with Highland. Highland is a really good football team, but since then we have regrouped and gotten better. We are very efficient on offense and our defense has been playing lights out,” said Honabarger.

When it comes to defense, Honabarger says they are getting good pursuit and their defensive backfield is playing at a top level. “We have been really good at getting people to the point of attack right now. Our secondary has played really well. We haven’t been giving up cheap passes,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have been breaking on the ball pretty good. You earn what you get against us passing. The only score we have given up was on a kick return the last three weeks. Whatever we are doing we have to keep doing.”

Danville (7-1,4-1) is at Mt. Gilead (0-8,0-5) on Friday night in a “KMAC” game. The Indians have struggled this season, especially on defense, they lost to Northmor (54-26) last week.

Honabarger says the Indians have the capacity to score points and they can’t take the night off. “They put the ball in the air quite a bit. They can score points. You can’t sleep on them. Defensively they have struggled. They have given up about 50 points a game. They have been in some shootouts this year. When you can throw the ball you have a punchers chance to win. We need to be careful and play sound defense,” he said.

Published 10/19/17

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Danville Hosts Cardington

Danville trails Highland and East Knox by a game in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference football standings and they play at home against Cardington on Friday night league play.

They lost to Highland (26-0) in the league opener, but responded with wins over Northmor (41-34) and Fredericktown (42-7) last week.

Coach Ed Honabarger says they were ready to go from the kickoff against Fredericktown. “We had a good performance offensively and defensively. Things go rolling for us early and get the momentum and put the game out of reach quick,” he said.

Especially with wide open offense like Danville features momentum can be a big factor and Honabarger says they were able to create that last week. “Momentum is a big thing in high school athletics and the good thing I think we created it on our own. We were able to score right off the bat in the first three series and sort of took Fredericktown out of their game plan,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday.

Cardington (2-4,1-2) lost (32-7) to Northmor last week in conference play. They have scored some points at times, including a (50-41) loss to unbeaten East Knox two weeks ago.

Honabarger says the Pirates have some players that make big gainers. “They have some nice skilled kids. They have got a 1,000 yard running back, a tough quarterback, and a good receiver. They mix it up pretty well. It is definitely a challenge. You can’t sleep on them, that’s for sure,” said Honabarger.

Published 10/04/17

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Danville Gets Another Tough One

Over last half decade Danville rarely loses a football game, but they did last week and now they face an unbeaten team this week.

Danville lost their first game in the new Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference last Friday when Highland beat them (26-0) in a game where the Blue Devils just couldn’t get anything going. They had been members of the Mid-Buckeye Conference.

Coach Ed Honabarger says the Scots were more physical than them. “It was a defensive struggle for most of the game. They got two late scores in the last four minutes of the game. Defensively we didn’t do horrible. We bent, but didn’t break until the very end where they had good field position and scored twice late on us,” he told Swankoonsports.com on Wednesday, “We just couldn’t get our offense going. Highland is real big, physical team. They are going to win a lot of football games this year. They were better than us on Friday night.”

Honabarger says they are working on ways to get better, but they aren’t going to get bigger overnight. “There are always a lot of ways to fix things once you see the film. Now, you can’t fix superior size or strength, but you can see the little things that you did wrong and try and improve those,” he said.

Danville (3-1,0-1) hosts Northmor (4-0,1-0) in a Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night. The Golden Knights blasted Fredericktown (43-8) to open conference play. They had been just as impressive the first three weeks of the season.

Northmor is led by quarterback Demetrious Johnson, who is a threat to score from anywhere on the field and has done it all year. Honabarger says you can’t let him hit the home run. “He is a special player. Very dynamic and breaks big plays all of the time and that is obviously a concern. With him being the quarterback the ball is going through him every play. We really have to make sure we limit big plays. Somebody like that they are going to get their yards. I don’t know what he is averaging, but if he is averaging 300 yards if we could hold him to 175 we are probably giving ourselves a chance to win the football game,” said Honabarger.

When facing Northmor, Honabarger says you can’t give up the edge or all fail to fill gaps. “You can’t give up the edge. The thing is he can get you up the middle. He doesn’t need much of a seem to get going. Some of their other backs have decent speed too. Speed is a big concern. We need make sure we take good pursuit angles and get a lot of people to the ball. Like I said you want to limit big plays,” he said.

Published 9/21/17

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Danville Kicks off Play in New League

Danville has been one of the dominate small school football programs in this area for the last decade and they begin play in the new Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference on Friday night at Highland.

The Blue Devils (3-0) railed from three scores down to beat Sugarcreek Garaway (23-20) last week. Coach Ed Honbarger says they never thought they were out of the game. “Our kids had great effort. We dug ourselves a hole, but we didn’t give in. It was too scary for this old guy, but the best thing is we showed great effort and like I said we didn’t give in,” he said.

With the success they have had he says they kids remain confident even when they are behind in a game. “When you have had success in the program they have seen a lot, they have been through a lot and so they don’t get nervous if they go down maybe by a touchdown or two or in this case three. Then again you are dealing with 15, 16, 17-year-old kids and you don’t know what’s going through their heads or what they are thinking at times,” said Honabarger.

Highland (2-1) beat River Valley (28-14) last week and their only loss comes to Bloom-Carroll (35-34) in overtime on week one.

Honbarger says this is a power run team they will be facing. “Highland runs a wing-T. They are very big and physical. They have a nice combination of speed and power with their three backs. They are going to try and pound it on us and control the clock and play their style of game,” he said.

This is the first year for the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference, which is basically the old Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue minus Marion Elgin and plus Danville, who was in the Mid-Buckeye Conference.

Honabarger thinks this will be a pretty league for football. “I think it should be a pretty good football league. We have been scrimmaging Highland for about 20 years, so we are familiar with them. We are not that familiar with Mt. Gilead or Cardington or Northmor. As far location it’s idle with the two counties boardering up on each other,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “There are some natural rivalries. Fredericktown has been the same league with some of these schools in the past. So, I think at least football wise it will be a highly competitive conference.”

Published 9/15/17

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Danville Facing Spread

Danville has played two pretty good teams this season and they have been equal to the challenge and they face another tough game this week as they play Sugarcreek Garaway.

Last Friday, the Blue Devils scored four times in the fourth quarter and belted Portsmouth East (42-6) to improve to (2-0) on the season.

Coach Ed Honabarger says they were able to get some momentum in that final quarter. “We were fortunate enough to get out of there with a victory. Portsmouth East is a big, physical team. It was a tight contest until the fourth quarter. It was 13-6 and we were able to break it open with four touchdowns in the fourth,” he said.

The veteran coach says when you get an opportunity to get a score against a good team you have to take advantage. “You can’t blow opportunities in tight games. We played them in week 11 last year, so we knew it was going to be a playoff type game and for three quarters it was nip and tuck,” said Honabarger.

Garaway (1-1) lost to Dalton (47-14) in their first game of the season and then beat Warsaw River View (34-6) last week.

Honabarger says Pirates are a team that runs a spread and has the athletes to go with it. “Well, Garaway is coming off their 10-0 last year. They graduated 18 seniors, but they just reload every year. They run a five wide offense. They have good athletes,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have been in the system for a long time. They do a good job of distributing the ball. They play hardnosed defense. So, we definitely have another tough task this week.”

Published 9/06/17

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Danville With Another Test

Danville looked pretty darn good on the first week of the high school football season, but they are in for another test on week two coming up on Friday night.

The Blue Devils (1-0) beat Ponitz Tech, from the Dayton area, (31-6) last week. Coach Ed Honabarger says it was a pretty good win and one that is going to make them better. “We will definitely take the win. There is a lot of stuff we can improve on. I’m happy we went on the road about two and half hours down the road to Dayton playing a D-3 team that is probably going to win about six, seven games and came away with a 31-6 win. That is definitely going to help us down the road,” said Honabarger.

Honabarger says this can be another good year for the Blue Devils, who are in the playoffs year after year, but he says they are going to have to avoid injuries along the way. “We are going to have to stay healthy we don’t have great depth. We are probably playing about 17 or 18 kids, probably like most schools are. Being healthy throughout the year is a big key,” he said.

Portsmouth East comes to Danville on Friday night. The Tartans belted South Gallia (46-14) last Friday. Honabarger says they are a team with size they will have to contend with. “They are a big, physical team. Game one they had a lot of big plays, the quarterback rolled out and threw it deep. Our defensive backs need to make sure we keep track of where the skilled people are for them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a big lineman that was going to go the Ole Miss. He had verbally committed and now he has reopened his recruiting because of the coaching change down there. He is really a dominate lineman, so we have our work cut out for us.”

Danville plays Sugarcreek Garaway next week before they start play in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference on week four at Highland. Honabarger is a believer in playing a tough schedule because he says that is the way you find out hour good you are. “Against better competition who see who is going to rise up and make plays and who might crumble under the pressure. Our kids didn’t do that. We had some adversity against Ponitz Tech. They took the opening drive and we had a nice goal line stand. We gave them a short field because we were trapped on the one-yard line and they scored, but after that our defense played really well. The last three quarters we only gave up about 40 yards,” said Honabarger.

Published 8/29/17

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Danville Ready for Long Trip

 

          The Danville Blue Devils are making their sixth consecutive trip to the football playoffs as they travel to the river to meet Sciotoville Comminity in the first round of the division seven playoffs on Saturday night.

          This season the Blue Devils rebounded from a three game losing streak to win their last five games and a Mid-Buckeye Conference title along the way.

          Coach Ed Honabarger says his players showed a lot of character in being able to turn their season around.   “The kids showed a lot of character.  For three weeks we were maybe the worse team in the state.  We were playing bad football.  Nobody would step up and make plays.  We had people dinged up and out for this reason and out for that reason.  Finally the kids took it upon themselves,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We kept stressing it to them that we needed to step up and make plays.  We needed leaders on the field and that started happening.  Everything snowballed and for whatever reason we started winning games and getting our confidence back.”

          Danville kids are used to the playoffs, they kind of expect it.  Honabarger says they have to work very hard to have success.  “This is our sixth straight year.  We always stress to the kids we have to outwork ourselves.  Like Lebron always says nothing is given, you have to earn it in Northeast Ohio and it’s the same for Danville football.  Everybody has more kids in their school.  Everybody has more talent walking the hallways, so we have to outwork people,” he said.

          Sciotoville Community (the former Portsmouth East) (10-0) has had five games when they have allowed a score or less and Honabarger says they are some good players on offense too.  “They have a real nice running back that has about 12,000 to 13,000 yards. He has got some speed to him.  The quarterback has a strong arm.  He is not going to under throw anybody.  He has got some nice receivers too,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “He has about nine or 10 touchdowns and they have a big offensive line.  Defensively they are going to bring the house, they are going to blitz a lot, so we are hoping we can catch them in some blitzes and get some big pass plays on them.”

          It is probably good the game is on Saturday because it is going to be about a three hour bus trip from the Blue Devils.  Honabarger says they have to keep their focus.  “We might have left yesterday, I’m not quite sure yet.  It is definitely a long three hour trip, so we might watch a couple of movies, stop halfway down and stretch their legs and watch some game film on the way down too to keep on mental focus,” he said.

 

Published 11/03/16

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