DANVILLE — Experience is only valuable when it’s used properly.
The Danville football team had a lot of players returning this season, but at times last week in a 36-0 loss to Bloomington, they looked like a team playing for the first time under the Friday Night Lights.
“We were prepared and in position, but we just didn’t execute,’’ said Danville senior Delrey Crowder, a starter at receiver and defensive back. “We got that losing feeling and we didn’t like that.
“We want to go out there this week, get a win and get this thing moving forward.’’
That’s definitely the plan for both teams tonight at Ned Whitesell Field as Danville will host the Urbana Tigers, a 42-6 loser to Wheaton Academy in the opening week.
While the Vikings were being shut out for just second time in their last 105 games dating back to the 2009 season, the Tigers also didn’t score an offensive touchdown, their only points came on a 94-yard kickoff return by Printiss Turner.
“It has to be different, compared to where we were last week at this time,’’ said Danville coach Marcus Forrest, who will still be missing his two projected quarterbacks. “Not only do we expect them to play better this week, but we do have a couple of linemen that couldn’t play last week coming back and we moved another kid to the offensive line, so, we should be more sound up front.
“We were thrown off by all of the stuff that happened last week, but we were also really passive. We should be a lot more aggressive against Urbana.’’
Junior Devin Miles will handle the quarterback duties again on Friday night. Miles rushed for 217 yards on 33 carries, but he was just 3-of-10 passing for 6 yards — still, he accounted for 223 of his team’s 233 yards of total offense.
“It was new to me,’’ Miles said. “I had never really played quarterback, but I will do whatever it takes to help my team.’’
Forrest admits that the Vikings (0-1) need someone else to step up on the offensive side of the ball.
“Devin is a special kid. He is athletic and instinctual, but you can’t win with one kid dominating the offensive side of the football like we tried against Bloomington,’’ said Forrest. “We need one or two other players to step up, make plays and take some of the pressure off of him.’’
Miles admits that he actually looks forward to an opposing team focusing on him.
“If teams key on me that is going to open up things for my teammates and I still know that I can do what I do,’’ he said.
And, did he enjoy his career-best rushing game?
“That’s don’t matter, we lost,’’ he said. “It would have been good if we won and scored some points.
“But, we scored 0 points and that’s not good.’’
It wasn’t a complete disaster for the Viking offense. Danville actually moved the ball inside of the Bloomington 20 on four separate occasions but two of those drives ended with fumbles and the other two ended with failed fourth down attempts.
“You see the score, and you have an assumption that is a was a team that buried you or obliterated you,’’ Forrest said. “We moved the ball, but when we got inside the 20 and things tightened down. We just couldn’t execute well enough to get into the end zone.
“We needed to do a better job of finishing plays and finishing drives.’’
Finishing was also the key word this week on the defensive side of the ball.
The Vikings had 26 missed tackles, a few of them leading to the six plays of 30 yards or more for the Purple Raiders.
“We must do a better job of wrapping up,’’ said Danville senior linebacker Bennie Harris. “We need to stop trying to make a big hit or forcing a guy to fumble. We just need to make a solid tackle.
“We just didn’t make the plays that we expected to make.’’
That was probably the most surprising part for Forrest and the rest of the Danville coaches as the Vikings returned eight players on the defensive side of the football that had started a game before this season.
“We didn’t expect that,’’ Forrest said. “It wasn’t like last year when we had so many new players on the field, we expected more from this ground and honestly, they expected more from themselves.
“We could tell them all day to stop reaching for tackles and drive through the ball carrier. It took them being on the field and getting that experience to convince them that they need to do it differently.’’
According to Forrest, tackling is going to be a key tonight as Urbana has some athletic kids in the skill positions.
“The coaches have told us that they are athletic,’’ Harris said. “I think our team is also pretty athletic, so I think we should be able to tackle them.’’
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be heard locally on WDAN-AM 1490.