BY CHAD DARE
Danville defensive end Tyvon Cooper knows exactly what the Vikings need from tonight's game against the Decatur MacArthur Generals.
"We need this game to get into the playoffs, I know that for a fact,'' said Cooper, as Danville enters tonight's game with a 2-3 overall record and 2-2 mark in the Big 12 Conference.
The Vikings will need to win the final four games to secure a playoff berth, but they will become playoff-eligible with wins in three of their final four games.
"We are trying to get on a roll,'' Danville senior Chris Collier said. "Before, we thought if we lost it wasn't a big deal. But, now, we know another loss would be huge.''
Danville got that roll started in Decatur last week with a 47-0 win over the Eisenhower Panthers. It was the team's first shutout since 2011.
"We had a really good week of practice,'' Danville junior Darrien Rose said. "Getting that shutout gave us some confidence coming into this week.''
Danville coach B.J. Luke says that his defensive unit has been playing well and the Vikings will need to keep doing that against a very tough offensive team in MacArthur that is averaging 34.6 points per game.
"They mirror our offense,'' Luke said. "They run the spread like we do and they have some good athletes. They make you defend the whole field. When one of their guys get their hands on the ball, we have to get them down.
MacArthur quarterback Devan Ingram has rushed for 316 yards and passed for 570 this season.
"He can hurt you with his arm, but he is probably more dangerous with his legs,'' Luke said. "You have to keep him contained and now let him get outside.''
And while Ingram is a threat to run or throw, the Generals added another weapon during the summer.
Former Eisenhower running back Jaquay Owens transferred to MacArthur. The all-Big 12 running back has rushed for 462 yards this season for MacArthur.
"He is shifty and quick,'' Cooper said. "We just have to make sure that we hit him before he explodes out of the backfield.''
But MacArthur isn't the only team in tonight's contest with a two-back attack.
Last week, the Vikings found a new running back in sophomore Kaleb McLain, who rushed for 105 yards on 10 carries against Eisenhower.
"We want to continue to build off last week's game,'' Luke said. "Running the football is big part of our offense. We have the ability to throw it, but we have hung our hats on the ability to run the ball and we got back to doing that last week.''
The Vikings actually had two backs go for more than 100 yards a week ago, a welcomed sight for the offensive linemen.
"It shows that we are doing our job up front,'' said Rose, a guard for the Vikings. "It gave us some pride.
"They have a lot of weapons, but so do we. We just need to do what we know we can do to get our weapons going better than theirs.''
Tonight's game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. and the game can be heard locally on WDAN-AM 1490.
Danville Vikings vs. Decatur MacArthur Generals
When — 7 p.m. tonight
Where — Matheson Field in Decatur
Records — Danville 2-3 overall, 2-2 in the Big 12 Conference; MacArthur 4-1 overall, 3-1 in the Big 12.
Rankings — neither team is rated, but MacArthur is receiving votes in the Class 5A poll.
On the air — WDAN-AM 1490
Last year's results — Danville 53, MacArthur 31
Last week's results — Danville 47, Decatur Eisenhower 0. Decatur MacArthur 21, Champaign Central 0
Next week's games — Danville hosts Champaign Central; Decatur MacArthur is at home against Normal Community
Rushing — Danville: Trent Sherfield 107 attempts, 492 yards, 7 touchdowns; Kaleb McLain 10-107; Chris Collier 30-98. MacArthur: Jaquay Owens 86-462, 7 TDs; Devan Ingram 77-316, 5 TDs; DeVince Lewis 19-154, 1 TD.
Passing — Danville: Sherfield 47 completions, 106 attempts, 4 interceptions, 986 yards, 14 touchdowns. MacArthur: Ingram 43-83-2, 570 yards 7 TDs
Receiving — Danville: Collier 31 receptions, 703 yards, 11 touchdowns; Denzel Smith 10-200, 3 TDs; Tavion Boyd 4-31. MacArthur: Shawntrez Spates 17-335, 5 TDs; Owens 9-78, Jaylen Soules 8-85, Shaquez Bond 5-56 1 TD.
Tackles — Danville: Latrey Reed 46, Tyvon Cooper 36, Boyd 34, Darrien Rose 33, Sherfield 32, Deonta Turner 32.