DANVILLE — It was supposed to be a homecoming celebration for the Danville Blue Devils. Instead, it became an exhibition by Fredericktown on how to dominate a football game.
The Freddies won on every aspect of the contest. They beat Danville (3-2, 0-2) on offense. They beat them on defense. They swarmed the Blue Devil ball carriers and poked holes in their defense. When the dust settled, the scoreboard read 63-0.
For Fredericktown (5-0, 2-0), who scored touchdowns on nine out of 12 drives, this was a satisfying win.
“That’s the type of game we can play,” Fredericktown head coach Bryan Baum said. “You get those linemen in there, with the fullback, busting some holes. They love running power football. The kids really want to run that.”
For Danville, the offense never even managed to cross the 50-yard line.
“They’re really, really good. They didn’t run anything we weren’t expecting. We just couldn’t stop them,” Danville head coach Ed Honabarger said. “You play a good team like Fredericktown, they expose some weaknesses.”
The onslaught began on Fredericktown’s first series, when Matt Smith scored on a 32-yard carry on the fourth play of the drive.
On the Freddies’ second possession, Austin Hoeflich scored on the team’s second play of the drive.
On their third possession, Ryan Logan connected with Tony Lybarger in the endzone on the fourth play of the drive.
On their fourth possession, it took just two plays before Lybarger burst through the line on a 56-yard touchdown run.
You get the idea.
Conversely, Danville’s ballcarriers could barely get back to the line of scrimmage. On virtually every play the Freddies piled around the ball. Jeff Nosh, Nathan Hoeflick and Bryce Yarman led the way with six tackles behind the line between them.
By the end of the first quarter, Fredericktown had racked up 184 yards and 28 points. Danville had totaled four yards and no points.
“We preached discipline all week long. The linemen stuck to their positions and made their plays,” Baum said.
The Freddies never let up. By halftime the Blue Devils had run 25 plays, 15 of which were for zero or negative yardage.
“We’ve seen their style of offense all year long, so we were prepared for that,” Baum said.
On offense, Fredericktown continued to dominate. They didn’t punt until late in the second quarter, when the score was already 35-0.
Then with two minutes left, Fredericktown played a hurry-up style offense that caught the Danville defenders unprepared. A Tyler Hathaway touchdown with 20 seconds left put the halftime score at 42-0.
“We went with a NASCAR tempo, which is pushing it up to the line, to catch the defense off-guard. It also wears the defense down,” Baum said.
“It used to drive me nuts as a defensive coordinator. That’s why I run it,” he added.
By the midpoint of the third quarter, Matt Smith, the team’s leading rusher, had 167 yards and four touchdowns. An average game — for Smith.
His relief, Brandon Helmick, picked up where Smith left off. Helmick broke a 49-yard carry in the fourth quarter that set up the final touchdown, a quarterback sneak by Logan Smith.
Fredericktown finished with 519 total yards. Danville had 48.
“We’re really struggling offensively. We can’t find any continuity,” Honabarger said.
“But they’re still learning this new system. It’ll come along. There’s a learning curve, and there’s growing pains. And we’re really going through them right now,” Honabarger added.
They’ll get another chance to execute their new system next Friday, when the Blue Devils travel to Centerburg.
As for the Freddies, they take their act home to battle Johnstown in a game that could decide the conference championship.
“We’ll have to get ready for the I-formation and the spread,” Baum said. “We’ll be ready.”
It wasn’t just the score that has Danville fans feeling blue. In the fourth, Shaun Durbin came in to relieve Marcus Durbin at quarterback. On his third play, Shaun Durbin was hit by Yarman and came away with an injured shoulder. He’ll be evaluated throughout the week.