Instead, Luke saw his Vikings surrender 30 points in the fourth quarter and 36 points in the final 18 minutes, 23 seconds en route to losing their season opener for the second straight season. But, the coach senses a different feeling with his team.
“I was impressed with the way the kids bounced back this week,’’ he said. “We went back to work on Monday, I think this group understands that this is a long season. These first two weeks can really make us into a really good football team for the final seven weeks.
”Last year, the Big 12 Conference champions (Urbana and Bloomington, each lost a game during the season. I think that could definitely happen this year.’’
According to Luke, the key this week is about improvement.
”We have to go out there and get better this week,’’ Sherfield said. “If we do that, that will give us an advantage over all the other Big 12 Conference schools.’’
St. Rita is definitely a better team this year as Tommy Mister, a transfer from Oak Lawn Richards, is the starting quarterback. The senior has already committed to play at Iowa State next year and in last week’s win over Marist, he accounted for 414 yards (220 rushing, 194 passing) and all four touchdowns for the Mustangs.
”We have to get to him before he can break it off,’’ Cooper said. “We have to hit him before he gets to the edge.’’
Sherfield said while Danville’s defensive front seven will be trying to contain Mister, the Vikings defensive secondary will be trying to contain his big-play receivers.
”We all have a job to do,’’ he said.
Offensively, Sherfield matched Mister with four rushing touchdowns and the Vikings quarterback had 315 passing yards and three scores through the air. Senior wide receiver Chris Collier caught eight of those passes for 289 yards.