BY CHAD DARE
---- — NORMAL — The Danville Vikings needed a little time to regroup after last week’s 39-14 loss to Champaign Central.
The Maroons simply ran over the Vikings, rolling up more than 400 yards of offense on the ground.
“It’s always difficult after a tough loss like that,’’ Danville coach B.J. Luke said. “You spend a few days licking your wounds and feeling sorry for yourself.
“But our kids responded well after that, and I was pleased with the effort of the kids that we have out here.’’
And responding is going to be the key. Danville will hit the road tonight to play another physical football team in the Class 6A fourth-rated Normal Community Ironmen.
“This team is just as physical of a football team and they have the ability to throw the football a little,’’ said Luke as Normal Community has rushed for more than 1,300 yards this year and thrown for more than 600. “They pose some problems for us. We are going to have play hard, much harder than we did a week ago.’’
And the Danville defense sees this as an opportunity for redemption.
“This is a chance to recover from what happened last week and prove ourselves once again,’’ Danville junior defensive end Tyvon Cooper said. “We have to play physical, play hard and play as a team.’’
Senior Trent Sherfield, who expects to be back on both sides of the football this week after recovering from a minor ankle injury, knows exactly what the Ironmen (6-1 overall, 6-0 in the Big 12) are going to do tonight.
“Any team would try to exploit our run defense after seeing that film,’’ he said. “We were horrible last week. We have prepared for them trying to ram it down our throats.
“We have to come out and play physical. We prepared hard all this week, the main thing was playing physical and playing hard for all 48 minutes.’’
A year ago, the Vikings (3-4 overall, 3-3 in the Big 12) went toe-to-toe with the Ironmen for the first 12 minutes, but Normal Community ran over Danville in the final three quarters of its 48-24 victory.
“We have to stay mentally tough,’’ Danville senior Chris Collier said. “We just need to stay focus and keep playing hard. We tend to get down on ourselves too fast and that’s when things go bad for us.’’
With just two games left in the regular season, Danville will need to win out to become playoff-eligible.
“We took a few steps back last week from not playing hard,’’ Collier admitted. “But we’ve practiced well this week and we feel that we are prepared for them. Hopefully, we come out strong.’’
Luke said the biggest thing for him, is seeing his team play better and harder than they did a week ago.
“They have done a nice job of practicing this week and hopefully that will carry over into a positive effort on Friday night,’’ he said.
The Vikings have regained the services of linebacker Latrey Reed this week. The leading tackler missed last week’s game because of grades.
But this week, Danville will be without the services of sophomore tight end Emmet Black as a result of possible head injury in the loss to Champaign Central.
Kickoff tonight at Normal Community High School is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be heard locally on WDAN-AM 1490.
Game 8 Danville Vikings vs. Normal Community Ironmen When -- 7 p.m. tonight Where -- Normal Community High School Records -- Danville 3-4 overall, 3-3 in the Big 12 Conference; Normal Community 6-1 overall, 6-0 in the Big 12. Rankings -- Normal Community is rated No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Class 6A Poll. On the air -- WDAN-AM 1490 Last year's results -- Normal Community 48, Danville 24 Last week's results -- Danville lost to Champaign Central 39-14; Normal Community defeated Decatur MacArthur 59-26 Next week's games -- Danville will host Urbana; Normal Community plays at Champaign Central. Statistical leaders Rushing -- Danville: Trent Sherfield 133 attempts, 574 yards, 9 touchdowns; Kaleb McLain 38-263; Chris Collier 50-169, 2 TDs. Normal Community: Alec Bozarth 86 attempts, 619 yards, 12 touchdowns; Jerry Patton 72-364, 5 TDs; Colin Olson 64-236, 4 TDs. Passing -- Danville: Sherfield 62 completions, 134 attempts, 7 interceptions, 1,237 yards, 17 touchdowns; Collier 1-5-0, 32 yards. Normal Community: Olson 45 completions, 99 attempts, 2 interceptions, 466 yards, 5 touchdowns; Bozarth 6-12-0, 77 yards 1 TD. Receiving -- Danville: Collier 39 receptions, 885 yards, 13 touchdowns; Denzel Smith 14-270, 4 TDs; Tavion Boyd 7-48. Normal Community: Kyle Lantman 13 receptions, 171 yards, 2 touchdowns; Bozarth 9-45, 1 TD; David Boyd 8-132; Easton Schaber 5-74, 1 TD. Tackles -- Danville: Latrey Reed 51, Boyd 47, Tyvon Cooper 47, Darrien Rose 45, Deonta Turner 45, Hoey Watson 43, Collier 42, Sherfield 35.