The Somerset High School Briar Jumpers football team were explosive right out of the gate and finished with a 40-21 victory over their district rivals, the Danville Admirals.
Somerset kicked the ball off to the Admirals to open up the game, but it was not long before the Jumpers put their offense on the field.
Within the first three plays of Danville’s opening drive, freshman quarterback Sage Dawson was met by a pack of Jumpers in the backfield and he could not hang onto the football. Senior defensive lineman Jacob Grabeel jumped on the loose football to give Somerset the ball at the Danville 35-yard line.
Kaiya Sheron connected with Kade Grundy for 30 yards to put the Jumpers deep in Admiral territory, and a few plays later senior Jace Bruner barreled it in for the 2-yard touchdown.
Following the touchdown, both defenses lived in the backfields of their opponents and each came up with a quick stop.
Late in the first, on third and fifteen, Sheron scrambled right and hit Cam Austin on the run for a big conversion and put the Jumpers on the Admirals side of the field.
After the big completion on third down, Austin pounded it down field all the way to the goal line with four straight carries and Sheron punctuated the drive with a 6-yard keeper. The successful point after attempt by Tommy Wombles gave Somerset a 14-0 lead with 14 seconds left in the first quarter.
Following the score, Caleb Burns fumbled on Danville’s first play of the drive, and Somerset junior defensive back Ricky Gilmore recovered it to give the Jumpers the ball in Admiral territory at the start of the second period.
Somerset again smashed the ball straight up the middle with carries from multiple runners including Sheron, Austin, and Bruner. Junior Mikey Garland finished their opening drive of the second quarter with a three-yard touchdown.
Later during Danville’s next offensive possession, Somerset had put the Admirals in a third-and-13 situations. With defensive pressure closing in Dawson slung a deep ball down the right sidelines and senior Trey Dawson made the catch and got his feet down for the 30-yard conversion.
A couple rushes later, Burns bulled it through the line for the one-yard score and to make it a two-possession game at 21-7.
The Jumpers wasted no time, trying to re-extend their lead back to three possessions. Sheron connected on a pair of short passes, and several Jumper runners helped move the ball downfield.
On second-and-three from the Danville 11-yard line, senior linebacker Seth Gosser sacked Sheron to put the Jumpers at third and 13.
On the next play, Sheron connected with his tight end Carson Guthrie, who was wide open in the right corner of the endzone to put the Jumpers up 28-7 heading into the halftime break.
Just after the break, on Somerset’s first offensive play Sheron connected with Guthrie for 36-yards to put the Jumpers deep in Danville’s real estate.
Several carries later, Austin pounded in for the two-yard touchdown. Following a poor snap and failed two-point conversion attempt, the Jumpers led 34-7 early in the second half.
Later in the third quarter, Burns carried the ball over and over for the Admirals to help them get downfield. After an already successful drive by Burns, he finished it with a five-yard touchdown run to give him two on the night and help Danville cut into Somerset’s large lead.
Later in the fourth quarter, the Jumpers again made their way down field using primarily their ground attack with different runners. Freshman running back Guy Bailey was put in late in the drive and scored from four yards out to put Somerset up 40-14.
Following his score, he charged all the way down field to celebrate with his injured teammate Alex Miller. Miller went down early in last week’s matchup versus the Hazard Bulldogs and was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a broken leg. Although Miller unfortunately will not be on the field for the rest of his senior season, he will be spent it cheering on his team.
Later, the Admirals added their final score with a 1-yard keeper by Dawson to give the game its final score of 40-21.
Although Danville could not come up with the upset victory, they displayed a lot of fight and Caleb Burns emerged as their top player on the night as he racked up the yards and had two touchdowns.
Somerset top player spots on the night will be shared by Jacob Grabeel and Brendon Jones. Both spent the whole night in the Admiral backfield and kept the pressure high on Danville.
The win advanced the Somerset Briar Jumpers to 7-0 on the season and they will travel to Lexington Christian to face the Eagles next Friday in their biggest test of the season. Danville dropped to 2-5 and they will face Washington County at home next week.