Allen's return for Danville one to remember
DANVILLE – The "signature play," as B.J. Luke calls it, had Daveon Allen's autograph.
Allen accepted a handoff from teammate Clowzell Adams and raced 83 yards down the west sideline with the opening kickoff Friday night at Whitesell Field to give Danville all the points it would need in a 21-0 first-game Big 12 Conference win against Urbana.
The special play should not be a secret.
"It's the same thing we ran when I was in high school," said Luke, the Danville head coach. "In 1971."
The kickoff trickery is still in the playbook because special teams coach Frank Luzenske is still on the staff.
"Coach Luzenske is the master architect," Luke said.
Luke did a little scheming of his own at halftime.
"He said we'd come out running the ball and then surprise them with a pass," Allen said.
After four successive third-quarter running plays – and during a relentless rain storm – Allen hauled in a 30-yard scoring strike from Kendall Carter. The pass was the only one completed by either quarterback.
It came with 6:04 left in the third quarter and two plays after Danville's Mario Crosby raced 36 yards on a third-down play where Carter was nearly sacked before he pitched.
"Daveon can be a big-play guy," Luke said. "He has worked hard and has done a nice job of being a leader, which is what we had hoped he'd do."
The Vikings added the final points with 1:23 left in the game when Carter scored on a 1-yard run.
"For 3 1/2 quarters, we played our tails off on defense," said Mike Hoskins, who made his debut as the Urbana head coach and saw his defensive unit yield one TD until the final 90 seconds.
Danville's defense – an-chored by Ryan Donnelly, Zane Kentner and Lamar Briggs – made certain the Tigers were unable to gain ground offensively. The Vikings limited the visitors to 94 yards, 87 of which came during Antonio Jones' eight rushing attempts.
"He's explosive and almost broke a couple," Hoskins said. "We have to get the ball in his hands more."
Luke was pleased with Dan-ville's defense, which held Urbana to three first downs.
"Our kids pursued and played hard and flew to the ball," Luke said. "Our kids are not big, but they can run and I think we can hang with people."
What chagrined Hoskins the most were his team's mistakes. Urbana was whistled for 16 penalties, totaling 125 yards. In one second-half sequence of nine plays, the Tigers were hit with two unsportsmanlike calls.
"One thing we've got to get is to stay disciplined and stay focused," Hoskins said.
Danville's top rusher was Adams with 70 yards.
Allen said the team is looking to improve.
"It's always nice to get off on a win," he said, "but we can do better. Much better. We can step it up."
Urbana's Kendall Arrington intercepted a pass, and Danville teammates Kentner and Shavon Morris recovered fumbles.
Hoskins said he is unsure of the status of injured lineman Andrew Pruitt, who sustained a first-half rib injury.