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Admirals face Wayne Friday in home opener

By MARTY WARREN

Contributing Writer

 

Fresh off a pleasing 27-15 opening game win over Hazard, Danville will attempt to slow down the 2019 rushing leader and scorer as Wayne County visits Admiral Stadium Friday night in the Admirals’ home opener.

Senior running back Braedon Sloan not only led the state in rushing yards in 2019 (277 attempts, 2804 yards) but he also led the state in scoring with 48 touchdowns.

So far in 2020 he has taken up just where left off. In two games ( a 42-41 loss to Southwestern and 42-0 win at Harlan County), Sloan has rushed for 456 yards in just 42 attempts and scored eight touchdowns – including five in the season opener.

“He has good size and speed and can run over you as well as run around you,” Danville coach Clay Clevenger said. “He is as good a running back as I have seen in my 14 years of coaching.”

Wayne has run for 649 yards and Sloan has rushed for 70 percent of its rushing yards.

“They will flank him out of the backfield and try to get him the ball as much as they can,” the Danville coach said. “They have a quarterback (senior Brody Weaver) that is capable of running and passing the ball. We have to swarm the football defensively and wrap up when we have the opportunity.”

Wayne (1-1) played without head coach Shawn Thompson, who missed the game with COVID related symptoms, against Southwestern.

“They played the first game like their head coach hadn’t been around for about 10 days,” Clevenger said. “They played hard-nosed football against Harlan County. They played extremely hard and physical.”

Which is exactly what Danville did against Hazard.

The Admirals (1-0) allowed passes over the middle for yardage during the Bulldogs’ opening drive, then their defensive line took charge and lived in Hazard’s backfield the rest of the night. Eight times Hazard rushing plays went for negative yardage and four times Danville defenders caught receivers behind the line of scrimmage. They limited Hazard to just 10 yards rushing for the game.

Danville’s Caleb Burns gained 198 yards on 30 attempts and scored twice while Corydon Crawford led the Admirals with 86 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

“We have to establish a running game and make some plays to score some points,” Clevenger said. “They try to take away what you do best and make you do things you don’t like to do.”

The Ads physical defense was led by Xzavion Gray with nine tackles while Keelan Story added six while five others had five tackles apiece.

Clevenger said his team is banged up right now.

“We have a few kids that are banged up right now. Hopefully we can get them back. We’re thin right now  You get one or two players back and it gets more like a mash unit. Wayne is a good football team that was in the state semifinals last year. We just need some healthy bodies right now.”

Gametime is 7:30.