The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Bloomsburg News Wire

October 24, 2013

Big doings, and a football game, Friday in Danville

— DANVILLE — Somewhere in the middle of all of the commotion in Danville this weekend, there is a football game to be played. And a pretty important game at that.

Bloomsburg comes to Danville Ironman stadium Friday night for the game in which the winner takes possession of the Judy Price Trophy. Although it is only a Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game, and Danville has clinched the HAC-I title, it means a lot to both teams in terms of District 4 points.

For the Ironmen (7-1), a win keeps alive their chances for a No. 1 seed in Class AA (the Ironmen are now No. 2 behind unbeaten Montoursville). Bloomsburg (4-4) is tied with Muncy for the fourth and final AA playoff berth.

“We are excited about (the game),” Danville coach Jim Keiser said.

Adding to the luster is the town’s Pumpkin Pallooza, which involves the Pumpkin Bowl, a student body pumpkin race between Bloomsburg and Danville students.

After the fun and games, the Ironmen and Panthers will get down to business.

“This game is always important and we have struggled with these guys the last three years,” Keiser said. The series had been on hold for many years and when it resumed, Bloomsburg had the upper hand. But three years ago, Danville stormed from behind late with a punt block and then a last-minute Anthony Sori touchdown catch to get the win. Danville won easily the next year, but last season Bloomsburg won 14-12.

“That leaves a bad  taste in your month, but they are a good football team and it is a great rivalry. We know each other and our kids are excited to play,” Keiser said.

The Panthers won a big game over Mifflinburg last week despite playing without their standout senior quarterback, Ricky Klingerman, and two other injured starters.

Klingerman is listed as a possible starter. Keiser said, “We expect him to play, but we are going to prepare for him and (Tyson) Thrush) and Colby (Klingerman). Colby (Ricky’s cousin and the regular starting slotback) is tough back there too and Thrush does a pretty good job.”

Keiser said that, watching the Panthers on film, it appears that first-year Bloomsburg coach Mike Kogut doesn’t really change a whole lot, no matter who is under center.

“It looks to me like they just plug them in and go,” he said.

Keiser added that the running game is also solid with Jahvel Hemphill leading the way, and Sam Miller (38 catches, 303 yards, 5 touchdowns) catching the ball out of the backfield.

“They’ve got good athletes all over the place,” he said.

Kogut, talking about his team’s performance without Ricky Klingerman and two other starters, said, “The staff and I feel we came together as a team throughout the week and capped that off Friday night. We were very proud of the effort of our players. They left everything on the field.”

Like Keiser, Kogut knows the game is huge in so many ways. “This is a playoff game atmosphere in every sense for us. Our players understand that. It was a great game last year and has been a great rivalry for many years. Emotions will be high on both ends.”

Kogut said Danville is well-coached and a team that is disciplined in everything it does. “They have multiple playmakers,” he added.

Kogut said that the senior duo of quarterback Weston Baylor and wide receiver Zach Kozick is capable of big plays. “That is a tough thing to stop,” he said.

“Defensively they are very aggressive and run to the ball in packs. They are quick and strong and solid in every position,” Kogut said.

 

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