DANVILLE — Very few players get an opportunity to start on the Danville varsity football team as a sophomore.
Danville's Deonta Turner was one of those few players as he was thrust into a starting linebacker position a year ago.
But things didn't go very well for Turner, who had just 18 tackles on the year and just five in the final six games for the Vikings as he lost his starting position midway through the season.
"Sometimes when you are short on bodies, you try to accelerate the process like we did with Deonta last year,'' Danville coach B.J. Luke said. "He had a very athletic body and we thought he was ready. But it was probably a little earlier than it should have been.''
And after such a disappointing season, Turner could have easily given up. But that just isn't his way.
"There was no way that I was going to quit the team,'' said Turner, who is currently fourth on the Vikings with 29 tackles. "Football is my favorite sport and I always knew that I was going to back playing this year.
"I just had to work my way back and work in the summer at getting that starting spot back this year.''
And the 6-foot, 190-pound junior has been one of the bright spots on a Danville team that is just 1-3 heading into Friday's game at Decatur Eisenhower.
"I'm real proud of Deonta,'' Luke said. "He made a big jump from where he was last year as a sophomore. He worked hard in the weight room during the offseason and he is really do a nice job at the outside linebacker spot.
"He responded from losing his starting spot last year and he has made himself much better player this season.''