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Hartselle Enquirer

DHS wins first opener in three years

Paul Wilson
Special to the Enquirer

For the first time since 2009, the Danville Hawks opened the football season with a victory as they defeated Randolph High School by a score of 21-7 last Thursday night at Smith-Owens Stadium in Danville.

In 2009, the Hawks ran off 5 straight wins to begin the year before losing to Winfield. Danville would finish with a 7-4 record and a 1st round playoff loss at Madison Academy. Danville has not been to the playoffs since.

The Danville defense came out strong, forcing three-and-outs on each of the Raiders’ first three possessions of the game. After the third Randolph punt, the Hawks began a 10-play, 69-yard drive that ended with Austin Clemons scoring on a four-yard run. Brock Garrison added the PAT to give Danville a 7-0 lead with 2:23 left in the opening quarter.

Hawk senior Justin Morgan, in his first start at quarterback, passed for 49 yards completing all four passes to four different Danville receivers. Morgan would finish the night with 102 yards passing, completing 11 of 16 attempts with one interception.

An interception by Danville DB Travis Turrentine set up the Hawks next touchdown drive. Turrentine picked off a fourth-and-seven pass and returned it 19 yards to give Danville a first and 10 at the Hawk 40. The Hawks turned to their ground game and it responded with a nine-play, 60-yard drive to give Danville a 14-0 lead. The touchdown came on a 23-yard run by Dallas McAbee. Garrison kicked the second of his three PATs to extend the Hawk lead to 14.

Randolph would dominate the rest of the half, scoring on a two-yard run with 5:22 left in the second period to cut the Danville lead to 14-7. The Raiders nearly tied the game a few minutes later after scooping up what they believed was a blocked punt and running it into the end zone. Unfortunately for Randolph, the officials did not believe the ball had been touched and instead penalized the Raiders for roughing the punter. Danville would eventually punt, giving Randolph the ball at midfield. The Raiders nearly scored, but McAbee stripped the football from a Raider receiver at the Danville 5 and the Hawks then ran out the remainder of the half.

Danville received the kick to open the second half and the Hawks marched down the field to a first-and-goal at the Randolph 6. The impressive drive ended two plays later when a Raider defender intercepted Morgan’s pass and ran it out to the 6. Hawk senior LB/RB Justin Hannah would get the ball back for Danville when on third-and-six he intercepted a Randolph pass to give the Hawks the ball at the Raider 7. Hannah was also very effective on offense. He led all rushers with 50 yards.

Danville wasted no time scoring with McAbee getting his second touchdown of the night on the very next play. Garrison then ended the scoring with the PAT to give Danville a 21-7 lead midway through the 3rd quarter. Randolph would threaten a couple more times, but each time the Danville defense was able to keep the Raiders out of the end zone.

Danville (1-0) will host Vinemont (1-0) Friday night in a region opener for each team. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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