GAHANNA — The Danville Blue Devils weren’t going to let anything stop them this time.
Despite two lost fumbles and a mistake on fourth down — all in the first six minutes of the game — the Devils rallied to defeat Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans, 28-14, in their Division VI regional semifinal matchup at Gahanna Lincoln High School on Friday.
In their last 14 games going back to last year, Danville had lost twice — both times to Rosecrans. Last year, Rosecrans knocked the Blue Devils out of the playoffs; this year, Rosecrans won in Week 2. In both losses, the Devils committed turnovers and penalties at the worst times, then simply let the game get away.
Not this time.
Danville gave up the ball on the second play from scrimmage on a fumble. On their next possession, the Devils were stopped and, on fourth down, the punter inadvertantly took a knee while fielding the snap, giving the Bishops the ball on the Danville 12. Three plays later, quarterback Adrick Cronin found Ben Baldwin in the endzone for the first score of the game.
Danville fumbled the ball away again on the next possession, but the defense clamped down and took the ball back on a Daniel Mickley interception.
“We keep telling them to hold the ball high and tight,” explained Danville head coach Ed Honabarger. “They keep carrying it away from their body, as much as we preach and preach. (The turnovers) are getting me grayer and balder.”
All season long, Danville (11-1) had relied on their passing game to put quick points on the board. This time, they went retro and played a grind-it-out style to push back the Bishops. Kyle Shultz had 14 carries for 72 yards, scoring twice on 1-yard power runs up the middle. Quarterback Bryce Staats, running out of the jet, gained 137 yards on 19 carries while going 12-for-16 passing for 94 yards.Launch Image Gallery