Danville over South Williamsport
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – It’s anyone’s guess as to when the last time Danville and South Williamsport played. Available records showed nothing dating back to 1993, and South Williamsport coach Chris Eiswerth, who graduated from South in 1987, can’t remember ever playing the Ironmen.
So, despite being theoretically quite unfamiliar with each other, both teams play a style of football so similar that they’re almost mirror images. They both prefer a methodical, rhythmic pace featuring run-after-run.
Not surprisingly, Friday’s game was just that. In a game that would have done Bear Bryant or Woody Hayes proud, Danville proved to be the more effective team running the ball and the Ironmen came away with a 29-13 win over the Mounties.
Danville and South combined for 96 plays, of which 81 were rushes – 46 of 51 for Danville and 35 of 45 for South. It likely would have been even higher had South not been down and forced to throw late. Trent Hilkert followed up his 239-yard, Week 1 performance with a 157-yard effort on 28 carries and three touchdowns to lead the way for the Ironmen. Gannon Feldmann also ran for 50 yards on 10 carries and Peyton Riley added 33. Gideon Green paced South with 78 yards on 18 carries, but South’s usually strong rushing attack was limited to just 135 yards.
“Aside from that first drive in the first half, we did a nice job defensively and it was ground and pound on offense,” said Danville defensive coordinator Bill Freeman, who stepped in for an ailing head coach Jim Keiser, who missed the game due to illness. “South has some big boys and that was a hard-hitting game on both sides of the ball. They’re a very good football team.”
“Both teams played extremely hard and my hat is off to Danville. Two teams were slugging it out, but I’m very proud of our guys and how they fought against a really good Triple A team,” said Eiswerth. “This will definitely make us better moving forward.”
South Williamsport, which played in the Northern Tier League Small School Division up until this year, is now playing a full Heartland Athletic Conference schedule, which includes crossover matchups against larger schools such as Danville, which was one of the largest schools that South has gone up against in recent years. South is just 10 boys above the threshold for a Double A school.
Excluding a final kneel-down on the game’s last play, Danville’s worst starting position for the entire game was its own 30-yard line compared to four South drives that started inside its own 30. Field position was the key advantage for Danville in the second half, as it had an average starting drive of its own 44-yard line on four second-half drives compared to South’s own 26 for its four.
The teams traded blows early and then held serve until halftime, with neither team scoring in the second quarter. South took the opening kickoff at the Danville 42-yard line after Ashton Martin’s 39-yard return and then took seven rushing plays to find the end zone on a Martin nine-yard run.
Danville answered right back with a 10-play, 70-yard drive – also all rushes – capped by the first of Hilkert’s three touchdown runs of the night, this one from three yards out to knot things up, 7-7.
There were then seven drives in the second quarter combined but neither team found the red zone as big defensive plays, penalties or mistakes killed each drive for both teams.
The Ironmen took charge of the contest on their first drive of the second half, and they never gave up their momentum. Another 10-play drive, which started at the Danville 35 after South’s kick went out-of-bounds, was capped when Hilkert found the end zone for the second time, this time from 17 yards, to put Danville up 14-7.
“That first score was huge, it gave us the momentum and then we limited our mistakes in the second half and didn’t have the penalties and negative plays (that we had in the first half) that threw us off our rhythm,” said Freeman.
“In the second half, we didn’t come out with the same energy we had in the first,” said Eiswerth. “We made a few more errors than we could (afford to) in the third and field position was also big.”
The teams traded three-and-outs, and on South’s next drive, the Mounties thought they were going to draw a pass interference flag on a 3rd-and-23 pass, but no penalty was called and a South unsportsmanlike penalty pushed it back to its own 17. Their punt was returned 18 yards by Shane Kozick on the final play of the third quarter and from there, Danville needed just four plays to take a two-score lead on Hilkert’s three scoring run on the night, this one from five yards. A botched snap on the PAT turned into a successful two-point conversion.
The Ironmen forced another three-and-out on South’s next drive and then put together another long, methodical drive featuring eight rushes and a touchdown pass from Peyton Riley to Kozick to put the game away.
The Mounties tacked on a touchdown late on a nice Aaron Guerrisky touchdown reception, as he went up between Danville defenders to haul in the pass from A.J. Flick and then turn and go the rest of the 53 yards to the end zone.
Danville 29, South Williamsport 13
Danville (2-0) 7 0 7 15 – 29
South Williamsport (1-1) 7 0 0 6 – 13
8:03 – (SW) Ashton Martin 9-yard run (Kyle Betz kick), 7-42, 3:57
3:28 – (D) Trent Hilkert 3-yard run (Peyton Riley kick), 10-70, 4:35
6:50 – (D) Trent Hilkert 17-yard run (Peyton Riley kick), 10-65, 5:10
10:29 – (D) Trent Hilkert 5-yard run (Dyson Harward pass from Peyton Riley), 4-30, 1:31
2:17 – (D) Shane Kozick 14-yard pass from Peyton Riley (Peyton Riley kick), 9-68, 5:16
:27 – (SW) Aaron Guerrisky 53-yard pass from A.J. Flick (kick blocked), 4-67, 1:50
First downs 15 10
Rushes-net yards 46-247 35-135
Passing yardage 48 69
Passing 2-5-1-0 5-10-1-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 6-46 6-38
RUSHING: Danville: Trent Hilkert (28-157-3), Gannon Feldmann (10-50), Peyton Riley (6-33), Eric Sees (1-8), TEAM (1-(-1)); South Williamsport: Gideon Green (18-78), Ashton Martin (13-42-1), A.J. Flick (4-15)
PASSING: Danville: Peyton Riley (2-5-48-1-0); South Williamsport: A.J. Flick (5-10-69-1-0)
RECEIVING: Danville: Shane Kozick (2-48-1); South Williamsport: Aaron Guerrisky (2-63-1), Chevy Bolay (1-6), Ashton Martin (1-1), Gideon Green (1-(-1))
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