SOMERSET - Not only did the Somerset Briar Jumpers run up the score on the Danville Admirals to advance in the 2A playoffs last night at William Clark Field, but we also got to witness Jumper football history as Madison Ruble was the first female to score points for Somerset.
"It was good to see Madison's work pay off," said Somerset head coach Robbie Lucas. "Being the first female to score in Somerset is a well deserved honor."
After a closely contested first half that left the Jumpers ahead 22-7, Somerset shot out of the gate after the halftime break and ran away with it.
First, after a quick stop by the Jumper defense, and a Somerset offensive drive that was held up due to penalties, sophomore kicker Daniel Richardson nailed a 41 yard field goal to extend the Jumpers lead to 25-7.
Danville was forced to punt again after several carries by junior running back Caleb Burns, and three straight incompletions by sophomore quarterback Sage Dawson. After the punt, Somerset wasted no time getting back to work on offense.
The first play of the drive was a catch and run from senior quarterback Kaiya Sheron to junior receiver Gavin Stevens who broke a pair of tackles to take the ball inside the Admiral ten yard line. The play resulted in a 74 yard gain.
Senior Mikey Garland, and junior Chase Doan pushed it to the one yard line with a carry each, and Sheron punctuated the drive with a one yard rushing touchdown to help his Jumpers to a 32-7 lead after the extra point by Richardson.
On the Admirals first offense play of their next drive Dawson's pass was tipped and intercepted by Doan to give his Jumpers another scoring opportunity, this time starting from the Danville 37 yard line.
After carries by Sheron and Doan, and a short pass from Sheron to senior receiver Kade Grundy, Doan cut left and spun off of a tackle to break off a 22 yard touchdown run. Ruble sent in the first ever point by a female in Somerset history with a successful point after that gave her Jumpers a 39-7 lead.
Several plays into the Admiral's next offensive drive, sophomore Jerrod Smith bulled through the line and dropped Dawson in the end zone for a safety that extended their lead to 41-7 with just over two minutes left.
Somerset's final score of the game was a six yard touchdown from Sheron to Stevens that happened early in the fourth quarter after numerous carries from multiple runners and a reception by senior Ricky Gilmore. Ruble kicked in a second point after to activate the running clock.
Danville was able to manage one more score with a rushing touchdown by senior Corydon Crawford from a yard out. However, time quickly expired and the Briar Jumpers left William Clark Field with a victory.
"Any time you can get a win in our district, it's a huge deal," said coach Lucas. "Washington, Danville, and LCA create one of the most difficult paths in the state."
Early in the game, despite scoring less than they did in the second half, Somerset was extremely explosive.
On their opening drive, Sheron broke off a 30 yard touchdown run featuring a pancake block by Stevens.
Senior linebacker Brandon Jones assisted his offense by helping them get the ball back quickly with a sack that stalled the Admirals first drive. However, Justus Turner recovered a fumble by Sheron to give the ball back to Danville once again.
Despite getting the ball back, the Admirals were unable to score due to their drive being cut short by a fumble recovery by Garland, and on first and fifteen from the Danville 45 yard line, Sheron found Stevens for a 44 yard touchdown which gave the Jumpers a 12-0 lead with just under ten minutes left in the half.
The Admirals struck back with a drive that was almost exclusively done on the ground outside of a long reception from Dawson to Crawford where Crawford made a flashy circus catch. Burns finished off the long drive with a two yard score to close the gap a bit at 12-7.
Somerset pushed the ball back into Danville territory with rushes by Sheron and Doan and a reception by Gilmore. The drive did come to an end after back to back incompletions by Sheron, but Richardson put in a 25 yard field goal to help put his Jumpers further ahead.
Later, the Briar Jumpers faced a fourth and thirteen situation with under ten seconds left in the half, and as time expired Sheron sent a tight spiral down the left sideline to Grundy who made a contested catch and broke a tackle inside the Danville 5 yard line to score from 49 yards out. The PAT by Richardson put them up 22-7 heading into the second half where they were able to pull away with pure dominance.
With the win, Somerset will advance to the second round of the 2A playoffs where they will face off with the Lexington Christian Eagles at LCA. Somerset and LCA are two of the better teams in 2A and fought a close battle earlier this season when LCA won 28-21. Somerset will look to avenge this loss and advance further in hopes to defend their state title, while the Eagles will be looking to avenge their playoff loss to Somerset from last season.
"This time of year is all about surviving and advancing," said coach Lucas. "Lots of work to do in preparation for LCA . Obviously we hope to get back to constant, consistent effort and mid-season form. In our last game we gave up too many bug plays and didn't finish drives. LCA is the prohibitive favorite and it will take our best effort to contend with them."
DHS 0 7 0 7 - 14
SHS 6 16 19 7 - 48
SOMERSET - Doan 9-87 TD, Sheron 10-91 2TD, Garland 2-30; DANVILLE - Burns 13-59 TD, Johnson 3-31, Crawford 4-9 TD.
SOMERSET 17-26-362 3TD; DANVILLE - Dawson 11-22 108.
SOMERSET - Doan 5-62, Grundy 3-74 TD, Stevens 4-132 2TD, Gilmore 3-75; DANVILLE - Crawford 4-52, Story 2-32.