DANVILLE — The conference title is sewn up. The playoffs are set. But, don’t let anyone tell you there’s nothing left to prove this Friday.
Especially in Danville and East Knox.
The Bulldogs will travel to Danville this Friday for its annual installment of the Devil-Dog game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“It’s rivalry week. And, Ed’s (Honabarger, Danville’s coach) got a heckuva program and they are always ready to play. So, we’ve got to be ready,” said East Knox coach Cody Reese. “We still have a lot on the line — the rivalry trophy, winning the league outright and an undefeated season.”
The Bulldogs (9-0 overall, 6-0 Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference) have been destroying its competition this season, outscoring them 48-11 so far. It’s a blend of a dynamic offense coupled with a strong, sound defense, and it’s been potent through nine games.
“They have a great offense with big play capabilities,” said Danville coach Ed Honabarger. “They are very sound defensively; don’t give up too many big plays and always have people in the right spots. It’s what you’d expect out of a 9-0 football team.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs are a defensive coach’s nightmare. Caleb Gallwitz leads the area in rushing with 2,049 yards, averaging over 10 yards per carry.
And, if a team can stop the run, which many haven’t been able to, EK can beat you through the air thanks to the arm of Kadden Lester and a corral full of weapons outside. Lester has completed 70 percent of his passes for another 1,467 yards. Gage Steinmetz is Lester’s favorite target, catching 54 passes for 630 yards. But, Cade Leach (16 receptions, 260 yards) and Weston Melick (16-217) can also hurt a defense.
The Blue Devils (2-7, 2-4) counter with a spread attack led by Charlie Cook (87 of 169 passing, 1013 yards). Cook has a wide variety of weapons to throw to, led by Langdon Johnson (36 receptions, 405 yards), Nick O’Dell (20-292) and Trever Sturgeon (13-107).
“Danville always comes in with a great game plan. We expect them to be on fire and ready to go. It’ll be a dog fight,” Reese said.
The Devils have been able to move the ball well, but finishing drives has been a concern for Honabarger. Untimely penalties or turnovers have kept the Devils from scoring at times.
“The big thing is we can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties and blown assignments. We’ve got to execute and eat up some clock. The less time they have it, the less chance they have of making big plays,” Honabarger said. “Last week, we had the ball in Highland’s end several times but got no points. We can’t do that. We’ve got to finish our drives.”
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