The Daily Item
Countless times on Friday night, Central Columbia fans could be heard screaming “tackle him!”
The Blue Jay faithful were directing their comments toward the Central Columbia defense in wrapping up and bringing down senior tailback Sam Dressler.
On Friday night, it was definitely easier said than done.
The 5-foot-7 senior was nearly unstoppable in the backfield for the Ironmen, running for 147 yards on 16 carries and finding the end zone three times in a 34-6 Danville win.
“Sammy, he just amazes me every week. You know everybody’s trying to stop him and he’s still going to get his yards,” Danville coach Jim Keiser said. “But our offensive line’s done a great job making holes for him.”
Half of Dressler’s runs were 11 yards or longer. As a team, the Danville offensive line cleared the way for a 317-yard performance on 43 carries.
The Ironmen (5-0) wasted little time scoring against the Blue Jays (2-3).
On its first offensive series, Danville took just five plays to find the end zone when quarterback Weston Baylor hit Evan Tanner with a shovel pass for a 6-yard score. It was the beginning of three straight touchdown drives, as Dressler found the end zone on the next two possessions to put Danville up 21-0 at the beginning of the second half.
“I thought we played real well. We still got to do a little better job of catching the football,” Keiser said. “We’re still not doing that very well and if we can clean that up, I think we’ll be a very good football team.”
Baylor ended the night going just 4-for-7 for 40 yards.
Danville started the third quarter with a 1:29 minute drive on just four plays for Dressler’s third and final score of the night.
Central Columbia’s lone score came early in the fourth quarter. Adam Zalewski found the end zone on a 1-yard rush with 10:47 to play to prevent the shutout loss.
The Blue Jays struggled sustaining drives on the night, however, as they were 2-for-15 on third down conversions and only had four drives last longer than three plays.
The first seven Central Columbia drives resulted in three interceptions, two punts, a lost fumble and a turnover on downs.
“With as big and strong and physical as they are up front, I thought our kids did a great job tonight,” Keiser said of the Ironmen’s defense. “I thought our secondary, they’re getting better week to week. I thought they looked really good tonight. I’m proud of them.”
The Danville defense didn’t give up any big plays on the ground as the Blue Jays’ leading rusher was sophomore Brittain Cooke, who had six carries for 33 yards — all late in the fourth quarter with the game well decided. Of Central Columbia’s 33 carries, only three were for more than 10 yards.
Central Columbia quarterback Austin Farver did have some success going to the air, however, as the 6-foot-3 junior went 11-for-24 for 106 yards.