Devil-Dog trophy up for grabs Saturday
Friday, November 1st
By BILL DAVIS
News Sports Editor
DANVILLE — Seven years.
That’s how long it’s been since the Devil-Dog trophy has rested at East Knox High School.
Saturday at 7 p.m., on the Danville High School football field, the Bulldogs will have a chance to end that run.
The Danville Blue Devils, meantime, aren’t ready to give it up.
The 57th meeting between Danville and East Knox won’t settle any playoff battles. Nor will it decide a conference title.
It’s about something more.
“It puts you behind the 8-ball,” said Danville head coach Ed Honabarger. “There’s a ton of motivation for this game. Just having East Knox come to town is enough.”
Seven years ago, the Bulldogs attended class in the old building. Today’s freshmen were learning the basics in second grade. Most cellphones could only talk and text. No one had ever heard of Lady Gaga.
Then, on Oct. 28, 2006, the Danville Blue Devils came to Howard and won, 3-0, to take the trophy to its new home. There it has stood ever since, except for the one day each year when it gets taken back to the field for the game.
“We work really hard on the field so we don’t become complacent,” said Honabarger. “It’s always a big rivalry, the Week 10 game against East Knox.”
The Blue Devils (7-2) are hoping to ride the momentum of last week’s 41-0 home victory over Mid-Buckeye Conference rival Lucas. Quarterback Ridge Durbin was responsible for 305 yards, including 60 on the ground, and five of the Devils’ six touchdowns. Meantime, the defense allowed just 57 yards in the second half to an offense designed similar to East Knox’s.
Last week, East Knox (3-6) was unable to stop the potent Centerburg offense, giving up 227 yards in the air. However, the Bulldogs believe Saturday will present a different challenge.
“We need more pass coverage than we’ve had all year,” said East Knox head coach Calvin Hatfield.
“Centerburg was good for us to see a passing team. However, they tend to spread the ball all over. Danville throws to a few different positions.
“It’s important for us to not think too much. We need to get out there and cover our guys, and do our job.”
Offensively, Dylan Wears had 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Centerburg. Zach Hill, who took over the starting quarterback spot midyear, had 31 yards in the air.
“Recognition of the offense is key,” said Honabarger. “We have to recognize and anticipate what they’re going to do. Wears is good, and they block well up front. If he gets a seam, he’s off on a 60-yard run. He’s a difference maker.”
Hill took over for Cody Howard, who’s out with an injury.
“We’re pretty banged up,” said Hatfield. “It just continues. We’re missing a few moving parts.”
Just don’t think that a win would make up for all the heartache the season has dished out to the Bulldogs.
“A 4-6 record is not satisfying,” said Hatfield. “Would we feel good Saturday after a win? Absolutely. But we won’t be happy with 4-6.”
Danville leads the head-to-head rivalry, 35-20, with one tie.
News file photo
The Devil-Dog trophy, shown following Danville’s victory over East Knox in 2012, will be on the line once again Saturday.
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