HOWARD — The 2010 installment of the annual Danville vs. East Knox clash, better known as the Devil-Dog Game, was a classic defensive battle between two archrivals. With both teams being very stingy on defense, neither offensive squad was able to muster any momentum, and scoring was going to be scarce on the night.
2009 Devil Dog Game 2009
These two schools have been going head-to-head on the gridiron since 1960, with the Blue Devils, who have won eleven of the last twelve meetings, leading the series 33-20. There has been one tie.
The Bulldogs earned the game’s initial first down on the second play on a pass from Cody Totten to Dakota Anderson. But two plays later, Sean Durbin stepped in front of a Totten aerial, and a personal foul penalty tacked on gave Danville the ball at the 28-yard line. After just three plays, Danville cracked the scoreboard at the 8:49 mark of the first quarter when Heath Buckingham rumbled into the endzone from 2 yards out. The two-point conversion attempt was no good.
For the rest of the first quarter, neither team was able to garner any momentum. Then early in the second, East Knox fumbled the ball away at their own 35-yard line. Three offensive plays followed without a first down, and Kody Ball booted a 27-yard field goal for a 9-0 lead at the 10:19 mark.
Two punts followed by each team. The Bulldogs then put together a little bit of momentum-gaining drive, only to stall at the 23-yard line near the end of the first half, losing the ball on downs.
After the half-time intermission, Danville began on offense, earning one first down before punting once again. The Bulldogs ran three plays before Zach Brewer snared another interception for the Blue Devils. With that pick, Brewer tied a career interceptions mark at Danville at 16, tying him with Lowell Banbury.
Later in the quarter, however, it was the Devils who committed their first turnover as a pitchout was fumbled and recovered by East Knox at their own 48-yard line. Three plays later the ’Dogs turned it right back over again as a pitchout of their own was fumbled and recovered by Danville at the Danville 43.
The Blue Devils generated one first down before turning the ball over on loss of downs at the start of the fourth quarter. East Knox then tried to mount an offensive drive, when on fourth down and 16, a Dylan Wears pitch to Khai Haralson and reverse pitch back to Wears was snuffed by the Devil defense, and the ball went back to Danville. Another short field was given to Danville, and Durbin capped a 37-yard drive with a 16-yard scamper into the endzone for a 15-0 lead. The extra-point kick was no good.
The Bulldogs had two more tries to score, but the stingy Danville defense wouldn’t have any thing to do with that, and the final gun sounded giving the Blue Devils a 15-0 victory.
East Knox actually held an advantage in many offensive statistics, but they were unable to sustain any scoring drives. Both teams rushed for 115 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs passed for 89 yards, compared to Danville’s 39, and also posted a 10-7 edge in first downs. They outgained the Devils by a margin of 204-154 in total yards. One key was that Danville held the ball for 27:23, while the ’Dogs had possession for just 17:28.
Dylan Wears led all Bulldogs in rushing with 57 yards on 14 carries. Tyler Berger added 36 yards on 17 carries, and Colton Nichols chipped in with 23 yards on two totes. Cody Totten was 4 of 16 passing for 55 yards. Wears connected on two of eight passes for 30 yards. Khai Haralson completed his only attempt for 4 yards. Dakota Anderson caught four passes for 54 yards. Colton Nichols had one reception for 21 yards, and Haralson had one catch for 10 yards.
For the Blue Devils, Heath Buckingham carried 16 times for 46 yards. Zach Brewer rushed four times for 27 yards and Kyle Mickley five for 25. Marcus Durbin complete three of six passes for 26 yards. Brewer was good on one of three for 13 yards. Brewer added two receptions for 13 yards. Durbin and Bryce Staats each caught one pass for 13 yards apiece.
East Knox committed five penalties for 60 yards, and Danville was flagged twice for 10 yards. Each team punted five times, with the Devils averaging 23.6 yards per kick and the ’Dogs 24.2 yards per kick.
“Great job on both sides of the ball,” said coach Ed Honabarger to his victorious Blue Devils in a post-game celebration. “You could have made it a little easier, but you played your hearts out. Stuff isn’t handed to you. Next year, it’s more wins and playoffs.”
East Knox head coach Calvin Hatfield tried to console his team after the tough loss. “Obviously, it’s tough. We don’t want to end with a loss and with zero points,” said Hatfield. “But it was typical of our season, with good defense while the offense struggled. We now say good-bye to a senior class which was outstanding. They set the bar high. We played better this year, and our seniors would not accept again what had happened last year. Next year, it’s back to work.”
Danville finished the 2010 season with a 6-4 record and a 3-4 Mid-Buckeye Conference mark. East Knox was 3-7 overall and 3-4 in MBC play.