Vinemont drops Danville in 2 OTs
Paul Wilson, Enquirer Correspondent
VINEMONT – To quote from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
That quote does an excellent job of describing how the Danville football team and its fans felt following Friday night's region loss to Vinemont.
The first half was undoubtedly Danville's best half of the season while the second half saw a late Vinemont touchdown send the game to overtime where the Eagles went on to win 22-19 in double overtime.
When asked about the game head coach Joey Burch said, "We felt like we let one get away. Four or five plays were the difference in the game."
In the first half, the Hawk defense held Vinemont to 89 yards of offense, with 65 of those yards coming on a Cody Harris to Zach South pass. Vinemont's touchdown came just three plays after Danville freshman fullback Craig Orr carried at least two Eagle defenders into the end zone from 19 yards out for the first touchdown of the evening. Each team missed their extra point and with 5:33 left in the opening period the Hawks and Eagles were knotted at 6 apiece.
The Hawk offense, despite good field position after a 19-yard Tyree Murphy kickoff return, was unable to get much going on its next possession but a 40-yard John Dalton punt went out of bounds at the Eagle 10 giving Vinemont the ball deep in its own territory.
The next play saw the momentum swing back to Danville as the Hawks recovered a Vinemont fumble at the Eagle 5. Two plays later Dalton went into the end zone from one yard out. Corey Evans added the extra point.
In the second quarter, the Hawks were unable to extend their lead as a 14-play drive ended when Evans had his 29-yard field goal attempt blocked.
Another scoring opportunity was taken away late in the half as the officials ruled Murphy had signaled for a fair catch prior to returning a punt 84 yards for a Danville touchdown.
The second half would prove to be the worst of times for Danville as Vinemont dominated the third period, driving twice into Danville territory. A Casey Wilson interception of a Cody Harris pass at the Danville 10 stopped Vinemont's opening drive of the half.
"Casey played really well tonight" said Coach Burch. "We challenged him this week in practice and I thought he stepped his play up to a higher level."
After forcing a three-and-out, Vinemont drove to the Hawk 34 before penalties and the Danville defense forced the Eagles to punt.
Runs by Dalton and Orr gave Danville a third-and-three at their own 18 in the fourth quarter, before a fumble turned the football over to the Eagles at the Danville 29. Dalton was the Danville ball carrier and he lost the football while fighting for extra yards.
For the evening Dalton had another great night running the football as he had 32 carries for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Following the turnover, Vinemont drove 29 yards in six plays for the game-tying touchdown. Dustin Jernigan ran six yards for the touchdown and South added the extra point to tie the score at 13 with 1:08 left in the game.
Vinemont went on offense to open the overtime period. A 9-yard run by Joey Pace gave the Eagles a second-and-goal at the Hawk 1.
On the next play Harris fumbled the football but Vinemont was able to get on the ball at the 6. Jernigan then scored easily to give the Eagles the lead. The extra point was blocked and Vinemont held a 19-13 lead as Danville went on offense.
Runs of six, two and zero yards by Dalton set up a 4th-and-goal at the Eagle 2. Dalton lined up in the shotgun, took the snap and went around right end to tie the game once again. Danville elected to go for 2 but a Dalton to Wilson pass was incomplete leaving the score tied at 19.
On the first play of the second overtime Danville fumbled the ball to Vinemont. Vinemont then ran the ball three times but South kicked the game-winning field goal from 17 yards out to give the Eagles a 22-19 Class 3A, Region 7 victory.