DANVILLE — For the Danville Blue Devils, the 52nd annual Devil-Dog game meant more than just a shot at a home playoff game. It meant claiming the trophy for the sixth straight year.
For the East Knox Bulldogs, it was another frustrating night in a season to forget.
The Blue Devils defeated the East Knox Bulldogs, 34-7, in Saturday’s Mid-Buckeye Conference season finale to claim the Devil-Dog trophy.
All season long, Danville has relied on a solid offensive line designed to open holes for running back Heath Buckingham. On Saturday, the Blue Devils showed that they have no reason to shift away from their formula for success.
Buckingham had 218 yards on 26 carries, giving him 2,328 yards for his career — a Danville record. He also had four touchdowns, giving him 122 points on the season.
More importantly, it meant that the current Blue Devil senior class never got to taste defeat at the hands of its rival.
“It’s important for us to keep that streak alive,” said Danville head coach Ed Honabarger. “The seniors were 3-0 going in. To us, it’s a big deal to have this opportunity to beat East Knox. Intensity’s up a little bit.”
“This means everything,” said Danville senior Cody Inverso. “Growing up in Danville, that’s all you’re told is to beat East Knox. From colt, junior high through high school.”
Conversely, this year’s East Knox seniors never had a chance to hold the Devil-Dog trophy.
“This ends the season with a bad taste in our mouths,” said East Knox coach Calvin Hatfield. “Our seniors are a good group. Only two of them actually played last year. So, our lack of experience hurt us.”
The game came down to the trenches, as many games do. Although neither team had a decided size advantage, Danville is deep, and could substitute at will. East Knox, which suited 27 players, could not. As a result, players like Cody McCombs, Josh Bratton and Jamarcus Hershberger were winning the battle at the line.
One single stat showed the dominance of Danville: The Devils held the ball for 32 minutes, 40 seconds, and ran 72 plays versus the Bulldogs’ 32.
“We wanted to control the clock, and that’s what we did,” said Honabarger. “We had some penalties at bad times. We have to clean that up for next week.”
“We like our defense. We really do,” said Hatfield. “But we don’t like our defense on the field for the entire game.”
The lack of depth was evident as the game went on. East Knox (1-9, 1-6 MBC) managed 107 yards in the first half, most of which came from a 65-yard touchdown run by Mason Lyon in the second quarter. But the Bulldogs managed just 17 yards in the second half, and turned the ball over three times.
Contact Bill DavisEmail
Rules: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don’t attack other commenters personally and keep your laguage decent.