CHAMPAIGN — If it’s important to play like you practice, then Danville’s Chris Collier would have been in trouble.
“I haven’t thrown a pass since two-a-days,” the Danville junior said.
For the second week in a row, however, Collier was summoned in relief at quarterback and helped the Vikings secure a 44-17 Big 12 Conference football win over Central on Friday at Tommy Stewart Field.
Coach B.J. Luke’s plan wasn’t to alternate quarterbacks, but starter Trent Sherfield aggravated a shoulder injury and during intermission, he said, “it tightened up on him.”
Danville (4-3) faces two upcoming must-win games to reach the playoffs, so Luke made a change at quarterback. It wasn’t a gamble, he said.
“I have confidence in Chris to run the offense and when they were younger (freshmen), we weren’t sure who would be our quarterback,” Luke said.
Danville won both halves, leading 32-10 at the break and outscoring Central 12-7 during the final two quarters. Collier scored each of the final two TDs, one on a 40-yard run.
Sherfield had two first-half TDs and William Morris ran for three scores as the Vikings generated 248 yards and seven scores on the ground.
“We can throw pretty well in good conditions,” Luke said, “and our run game keeps getting better.”
Sherfield passed for 115 yards and Collier hit 2 of 5 passes for 44 yards.
“It brought back memories of playing quarterback as a freshman,” Collier said, “but I’m OK with going back to receiver next week.”
Both Viking quarterbacks were working with a new center, Brandon Hightower.
“He stepped in and did a nice job on short notice,” Luke said. “We keep finding kids. It’s that next-man mentality.”
Central reached its season high for points. Rylin Newman and Jamar Stoval had rushing touchdowns, and Cam Miller not only hit both conversions but also a 25-yard field goal.
“We haven’t had many opportunities to put him in position to show off his leg, but tonight he did,” Central coach Brett Roberts said.
“Even though we lost, I was proud of the way we played. The kids were having fun. This sets us up to finish on a positive note.”
Versatile Tim Turner led the Maroons in rushing, caught three passes and completed a 13-yard pass. He was playing in his third game as a senior.
“It’s unfortunate he had the injury,” Roberts said. “We might have been a different team if we’d had him the whole time.”
Urbana 42, Eisenhower 18. Alex Lynch rushed for two touchdowns and Cameron Mammen passed for two as the Tigers officially clinched their first playoff berth since 2004 with a win in Decatur.
Lynch became the fifth Tiger to reach the 100-yard rushing mark in a game this season, gaining 100 on his 10 carries. Mammen rushed for a team-high 164 yards.
“Eisenhower gave us everything we could handle,” said Urbana coach Nathan Watson, whose team is 6-1. “They caught our attention, but our kids gutted it out.”
Lynch scored the game’s first TD and Mammen passed to Dustin Lard for a score as the Tigers went up 16-0 and led 16-8 at halftime.
“I was a little frustrated the way we played (the first half),” Watson said. “All of them, especially the seniors, stepped up.”
Mammen completed 9 of 15 passes for 103 yards. He also had a scoring pass to Andrew Bivens.
Tanner Laznik led the defensive effort with nine tackles.
Springfield 35, Centennial 7. Jimmy Fitzgerald completed 9 of 21 passes for 104 yards, including a second-period TD strike to Dustin Walls, but that was all the offense the Chargers could muster in a road loss. Springfield (4-3) is coached by former Danville assistant R.J. Luke.