DANVILLE — The dream of an unbeaten season is over for the Blue Devils.
Danville (3-1) fell in overtime to a well-prepared Loudonville team, thanks to a number of miscues including some botched snaps and a interception in overtime.
“We didn’t do the little things, and they did,” Danville coach Ed Honabarger said.
For Loudonville (1-3), which was outgained 175-107 for the game, this was a win that highlights what has been a forgettable season up to now.
“We had a game plan, and we executed,” Loudonville head coach Don Wilson said. “We were ready.”
Loudonville didn’t look ready at first. The Redbirds didn’t get a first down until the second quarter. Danville stalled as well, until putting together a nine-play drive that ended when senior Shaun Durbin connected with Zach Brewer in the endzone.
Brewer, the senior standout, led all receivers with four catches.
But then Loudonville woke up. They put the ball, and the team’s hopes, in the hands of junior Christian Leitenberger, who accounted for nearly all of the Redbirds’ yards in the first half.
Leitenberger capped a long second quarter drive with a 1-yard dive to give Loudonville a 7-6 lead.
“We talked about not giving up, giving everything on every single play,” Wilson said.
But as the Redbirds prepared for a last-minute drive in the half, senior QB Jake Krupp slipped as he scrambled — and didn’t get up.
“It didn’t look good,” Wilson admitted. “I just hope for the best.”
An MRI is scheduled on Krupp’s knee for this morning.
Nothing seemed to go right for Danville in the second half. Midway through the third a bad snap sent Durbin scrambling for a loss. The next snap was missed also, and Loudonville recovered deep in Danville territory.
Two plays later, junior Keith Lemke scored on a 4-yard run.
Danville continued to put drives together, only to see them end in more mistakes. A block in the back penalty, followed by a sack by Loudonville sophomore Cody Ullman, ended one drive. An incompletion off a receiver’s fingertips on fourth down ended another.
“We’ve been playing with fire,” Honabarger said, referring to close games Danville has played all year. “Sooner or later, it’s going to catch up to you.”
Late in the fourth the Blue Devils put the ball in Heath Buckingham’s hands. The junior halfback accounted for 31 yards in the fourth quarter, including a late touchdown and the game-tying two-point conversion. He led all Danville rushers with 52 yards on 19 carries.
It appeared Loudonville handed the game away, literally, on the next drive. Junior QB Nate Scarberry fumbled the snap, and Danville recovered at the Loudonville 11.
But three plays later, Danville gave it right back on a fumbled snap of their own.
On the first play in overtime, Durbin looked for an open man in the endzone but instead found Loudonville’s Doug Schalmo.
Given yet another chance, Loudonville again put the game in Leitenberger’s hands. Again, he came through on a 4-yard run off tackle for the winning score.
“Anytime you play an unbeaten team in their house, and you win, it’s a good thing,” Wilson said.
“I’m proud of everyone on my team.”
The loss ends Danville’s momentum as the team heads into next week’s showdown with Fredericktown.
“They’re not used to my system yet,” Honabarger admitted. “We’re still making adjustments.”