DANVILLE With a team as young as Jersey Shore and a first-year head coach in the ongoing process of installing a new system, games like Friday's are bound to happen, especially when going up against an experienced team like Danville.
The Ironmen rushed for 325 yards, outgaining the Bulldogs on the ground by exactly 200 yards, and Danville scored the first 42 points of the game before the Bulldogs scored a pair of late touchdowns as Danville ran away from Jersey Shore 42-14. The Ironmen scored the first 42 points of the game in the first three quarters before the Bulldogs scored a pair of late touchdowns after Danville had pulled most of its starters.
"Danville just got off to a great start. They've got a great team. There's no secret why they've had the success they've had this year and in past years," said Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish. "They played great tonight, got off to a great start and that's what you have to do. We didn't tackle very well. You have to give some of the credit to their runners who ran pretty hard so it was a combination of strength of their part, but we need to improve."
Danville averaged over seven yards per carry while running backs Isaiah Croll and Sam Dressler combined for 272 yards on 30 carries with three touchdowns. The Ironmen only went to the air five times and completed just two passes, but both went for touchdowns.
"We watched Jersey Shore on film and they have a really good defense," said Danville coach Jim Keiser. "They were holding teams to something around 250 yards of offense a game so we knew we'd have to really work to get what we got and tonight we did a great job."
The Ironmen ran through the Jersey Shore defense with ease in the first half, scoring on their first four possessions of the first half to take a 28-0 lead, with the only thing ending their fifth drive being halftime. Dressler and Croll alternated carries on Danville's first drive, combining for all 65 rushing yards on the drive and that ended with Dressler punching it in from a yard out.
Jersey Shore then looked to be moving the ball well on its first possession, even converting on a fourth down from its own 40 and getting into Danville territory and were going to go for it on fourth down again from the Danville 49 before a false start penalty one of only four in the entire game by both teams forced them to punt.
From there, Croll broke loose for a 44-yard gain on the second play of the game from scrimmage for the big gain on the first drive and after Danville got the ball back following a Bulldog punt, Croll then broke off a 55-yard run for a touchdown to put the Ironmen up two scores.
Danville quarterback Weston Baylor then found Cale Rice in the left corner of the end zone to convert a third-and-goal on the Ironmen's next drive and they would then convert three straight third downs on their next drive that was capped by Baylor's touchdown strike to Berg in the right corner of the end zone.
Although they received the second-half kickoff, things did not get any better for the Bulldogs in the second half as quarterback Jordan Tawney was picked off on the first play from scrimmage and it was returned 20 yards by Eric Haney for a touchdown to put Danville up 35-0. The Ironmen would score once more on their first possession of the second half as Dressler ran in untouched from three yards out with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter before Danville pulled most of its starters.
Jersey Shore would play hard to the final horn, however, as it scored on its next two possessions to avoid the shutout. They would go 75 yards in seven plays with Bryce Charles running it in from 6 yards with just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter for its first score. After the Bulldogs forced Danville to go three-and-out on its ensuring possession, Utoah Agae-Naipo would account for 51 of his 91 rushing yards on the night on the Bulldogs next possession, which ended with his 17-yard touchdown run.
"We're very young and we are starting the game with our young guys and the other team is putting their younger guys in at the end," said Gravish. "So, you can see when some of our young kids matched up against their younger kids, they did pretty decent. I think we played six to seven freshmen tonight during the course of the game. We're getting better every week and that gives us hope for the future."