The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

August 24, 2013

Dress rehearsal goes well

Vikings display high-powered passing game in scrimmage

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Going under the lights at the Wayland-Young Athletic Complex, gave B.J. Luke and the Danville Vikings a good indication of where they are with less than week until the opener against the Bloomington Purple Raiders.

Senior quarterback Trent Sherfield and his top target, senior wide receiver Chris Collier, shined brightly as they hooked up multiple times on Friday night.

A year ago, Sherfield passed for 1,598 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Collier had 24 receptions for 479 yards and five scores.

“We still have a little ways to go, but that’s what this final week is for,’’ said Sherfielder, who is committed to play next year at Vanderbilt. “We are going to get it together this week.’’

But was Friday’s scrimmage a good indication of what the Vikings are going to look like this season?

“We can throw the ball really well,’’ Sherfield said. “We have receiver that are working hard.’’

Luke said that Sherfield and Collier did what he was expecting from his senior leaders.

“Those guys are impact players,’’ he said. “We are looking for a few more playmakers to take the heat off of them, and some of our receiver kids showed a little more consistency tonight.’’

Getting out under the Friday Night Lights and playing in front of a good crowd at the Wayland-Young Athletic Complex was an important step for the Vikings, according to Luke.

“You get the opportunity to see some good things and you see things that you know you will have to work on this week,’’ Luke said. “Overall, I think it was a really good night.’’

And what areas will the Vikings be working on this week?

“We have a few things that we still need to get tighten up on both the offensive and defensive lines,’’ said Darrien Rose, a junior guard and defensive tackle. “It was good to see where everyone is going to be playing and to see how we can get after it — even if it was against our own teammates.’’

Rose admits the team is ready to face an actual opponent.

“It feels like it’s a lot closer,’’ he said. “We are just ready to get it started.’’

One of the biggest areas in need of improvement for Vikings, who went 4-5 a year ago, is on the defensive side of the ball. Danville allowed 33.7 points per game a year ago.

“It we can get our defense together, we can be very fine,’’ said Sherfield, a two-year starter at safety.

One bright spot on that side of the ball on Friday night was junior Tyvon Cooper, who made several big plays against both the No. 1 and No. 2 offensive units.

“This his first year at defensive end and I think we’ve found a home for him,’’ Luke said. “I think he is getting a few for that position and he did a really nice job tonight.

“Ultimately, we are hoping to get a few more guys to step on that defensive unit. The bottom line is tackling. We have to be a better tackling football team this year.’’

Danville, which had its string of consecutive playoff berths snapped last year at six, will open the 2013 season at Carleton Field in Bloomington with a 7 p.m. kickoff against the Purple Raiders.

After a road game at Chicago St. Rita, the Vikings will play their first home game on Sept. 13 against the Champaign Centennial Chargers.