LEXINGTON - Sam Harp isn’t sure if his team has developed a road mentality.
But the Admirals are going to have to find one if they have any hope of advancing in the playoffs after turning the ball over three times to help Lexington Christian rally for a 14-13 win Friday.
”I used to think we played better on the road than we did at home, but we haven’t shown we can do that this year. But you just have to go back and regroup and try to play better next week,” Harp said. “That’s the way it’s got to be. We finish with Frankfort and then we’ll go on the road.”
The loss put Danville (6-3, 1-2 Class AA, District 7) in third place in its district, and the Admirals will have to travel to Prestonsburg for the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
“They outplayed us, they outcoached us, plain and simple,” Harp said. “And we turned the ball over. You can’t do that. Just too many mistakes.”
Danville controlled the first half and led 13-0 early in the third quarter before LCA (4-5, 2-1) took advantage of the Admirals’ turnovers and mental mistakes to rally.
After forcing a punt, the Admirals fumbled the ball away at their own 43-yard line. Then, on fourth-and-10 at the 43, LCA quarterback Lincoln Henzman threw up a high pass that Justin King outjumped two Danville defenders to catch near the goal line. King went in for the score to make it 13-7 with 5 minutes, 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
Then the Eagles caught the Admirals not paying attention when kicker Christian Fielden recovered an onside kick at the 50-yard line.
“We just sat there, we backed up and just watched it roll up there,” Harp said. “It’s not like we haven’t practiced that, and when you’ve got a slow roller like that you’ve got to go get it, and we didn’t do it.”
And the Eagles took advantage.
Henzman, who was 10 for 20 for 197 yards, hit Sam Maybriar with a short pass on third-and-8. Maybriar broke several tackles and rumbled 30 yards to the Danville 18-yard line.
Henzman ran 7 yards to set up first-and-goal, but the Danville defense held. Then, on fourth-and-goal at the 4, he rolled out to the left side and beat the Admirals to the corner of the end zone to give LCA a 14-13 lead with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
LCA coach Ray Graham, a Danville graduate, said the onside kick was a gamble, but one his team needed to make.,
“We decided this was the kind of game you’re going to have to stuff like that to win,” Graham said. “They had turned the ball over, and we were not going to be afraid to go for that one onside kick. We were going to try it, and we made the plays.”
Henzman had three carries for minus-3 yards in the first half, but he finished with 51 yards. And after being outgained 199 yards to 68 in the first half, LCA came back and finished with 289 yards to 288 for Danville. The Eagles ran for 89 of their 92 yards in the second half, while the Admirals had 110 yards rushing in the first half and just 89 in the second.
“They came in and tried to make us take everything wide. But we still moved the ball, we just turned the ball over,” Harp said. “The running game is great, you can run, run, run, but then you turn it over and it just takes the wind out of your sails.
Danville had a another good drive going when Tryston Ford, who was playing quarterback at the time, was hit near the sideline after a 7-yard gain and fumbled the ball away with 10:52 to play.
The Eagles were driving for another potential score, but Henzman was picked off in the end zone by Jacobie Harris, giving Danville another chance with 5:15 remaining.
A 21-yard run by Ray Bradshaw, who had 67 yards on the night, gave the Admirals a first down at the 37. But Devonta Alcorn was sacked for a 12-yard loss to help kill the drive and give LCA the win.
A turnover also killed the Admirals’ first scoring chance in the second quarter.
After they started at their own 1-yard line, Alcorn hit Deonte Caldwell for a 21-yard gain. On second-and-9 from the LCA 38, Ford caught a pass and raced 23 yards, but Adam Smith knocked the ball away from behind and Chad Hall recovered for the Eagles.
Harris made his own big defensive play on the next drive when he took a handoff away from Henzman and went 7 yards to the LCA 24. Two plays later, Jadarius Brown went in from 18 yards out to give Danville a 7-0 lead with 2:01 left in the first half.
The Admirals struck quickly to open the third quarter, marching 61 yards in five plays and getting a 22-yard run from Jawan Grey and a 23-yard touchdown run from Ford. But Karapandzic missed the extra point, and the Admirals could not do much from there.
Max Ray ran for 68 yards on 15 carries and Ford had 51 rushing yards and 41 receiving yards for Danville. Alcorn completed eight of 10 passes for 89 yards.
Danville 0 7 6 0 — 13
Lexington Christian 0 0 14 0 — 14
Danville — Jadarius Brown 18 run (Damir Karapandzic kick), 2:01.
Danville — Tryston Ford 23 run (kick failed), 8:23.
LCA — Justin King 43 pass from Lincoln Henzman (Christian Fielden kick), 5:12.
LCA — Henzman 4 run (Fielden kick), 1:21.
First downs 15 7
Rushes-yards 38-199 31-92
Passing 89 197
Total Net Yards 288 289
Comp-Att-Int 8-10-0 10-21-1
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 2-1
Penalties-Yards 6-55 9-60
RUSHING—Danville, Max Ray 15-68, Ray Bradshaw 7-67, Tryston Ford 8-51, Jawan Grey 1-20, Damir Karapandzic 1-3, Devin Furlow 1-2, team 1-0, Devonta Alcorn 4-minus 14. Lexington Christian, Lincoln Henzman 10-51, Sam Maybriar 16-23, Clay Mossbarger 4-12, Christian Fielden 1-minus 2.
PASSING—Danville, Alcorn 8-10-0-89. Lexington Christian, Henzman 10-21-1-197.
RECEIVING—Danville, Ford 4-41, Deonte Caldwell 2-31, Leroy Hawkins 1-10, Ray 1-7. Lexington Christian, Justin King 4-87, Maybriar 3-56, Mossbarger 2-23, Fielden 1-31.