The biggest game of the year seems to be coming around a lot lately for Danville.
The Admirals get another one tonight when they Middlesboro in a battle for sole possession of first place in District 2A-7 that became the latest game of the year as soon as time expired in their win over Somerset last week.
That’s a good thing, of course, because a loss last week would have left this game with much less meaning, at least for Danville. And this isn’t the end-all of the Admirals’ season, win or lose. There’s still one more district game to play next week against Lexington Christian, an important playoff prep game against Frankfort, and of course, the postseason.
But by my count, this is game of the year No. 5 for Danville. Here’s how it fared in the first four:
- Franklin-Simpson: It was the first game of the season and thus the first game of the Clay Clevenger era, and the Admirals took an important step with a decisive win.
- Boyle County: The results weren’t so good here, as the Rebels dump-trucked the listless Admirals to avenge a lost last season, starting a sudden spiral that threatened to wreck their season.
- Green County: Two blowout losses, a handful of injuries and the departure of a handful of players had undone a good start, and the Admirals were at a crossroads before making a critical turn for the better in this road game.
- Somerset: Against the team that had dominated their district for two years and dominated them for four years, the Admirals pulled off an upset that once again changed our perception of them — this time in a good way.
Playing Middlesboro won’t stir the interest of Danville fans like playing Somerset, but this is a good team, one that has been building for two years to get into position to contend for a district title. Remember that the Yellow Jackets almost defeated both Danville and Somerset last year, and they have only gotten better.
There are strength-of-schedule issues, however. Middlesboro’s best opponents were a Bell County team that isn’t what it usually is and a Pikeville team that dropped 77 points on the Jackets.
Danville will have to recapture both the execution and the emotion it used to beat Somerset in order to win the biggest game of the year of the week, but the Admirals have shown us that’s well within their reach.
There is also a critical district game tonight at Lincoln County, where the Patriots and Southwestern will both be fighting for the playoff lives. Two of the six teams in District 5A-7 won’t make the postseason, and the loser tonight in Death Valley stands a pretty good chance of being one of them.
Elsewhere, it should be an easier night for Boyle County, Mercer County and Garrard County in district games against Marion County, Taylor County and Western Hills, and Casey County will try to pick up a non-district road win at Metcalfe County.
- Boyle County over Marion County
- Casey County over Metcalfe County
- Danville over Middlesboro
- Garrard County over Western Hills
- Mercer County over Taylor County
- Southwestern over Lincoln County
Last week: 4-1; season 27-5 (.844).