DANVILLE — Over the years, the Danville football team has prided itself on its defense. This Friday, that defense is going to face a stiff challenge in Grove City Christian.
The Eagles bring their potent running game, which is averaging more than 400 yards a game, to Danville for a non-league contest at 7 p.m.
“They have a nice backfield. Their fullback runs hard; they have a nice tailback with good vision that cuts well; and a slippery quarterback,” said Danville coach Ed Honabarger. “The big thing defensively is containing their running attack and not giving up the big play.”
Senior running back Jordan Haywood has been the workhorse for the Eagles (2-0), rushing for 393 yards and three touchdowns in just two games. Junior quarterback Nate High runs the high-powered I-formation offense well, rushing for 227 yards of his own.
The Eagles’ running game is keyed by a large offensive line, led by 6-foot-3, 305-pound senior lineman Jordan Edwards and 6-2, 240-pound senior Blair Thompson.
Danville (1-1) will look to its line and linebackers to slow down, if not stop, the potent Eagle offense. Andy Payne, Josh Bratton, Dan Alden, Jamarcus Hershberger, Kyle Shultz, Marshall Magers, Cade Mickley, Thomas Hawk, Zach Durban and Kodey Ball will all need to step up if the Blue Devils are going to slow down the Eagles.
“We’ve got to contain their quarterback when he rolls out. He likes to run the ball out there. We also have to keep their tailback contained. He likes to bounce things outside. Our defense needs to crowd the point of attack and be ready outside,” Honabarger said.
One other way the Devils can slow down the Eagles is by keeping control of the ball. Danville went to a spread offense this year to better utilize its talents, but moving the ball, hanging on to it and scoring offensively can be an effective deterrent to the Eagles’ potent offense.