Sherfield rallies Danville
CHAMPAIGN — His name is Trent Sherfield. It sounds like Sure-field, which is unlike the conditions for Friday's Big 12 Conference football game at Tommy Stewart Field.
The Danville High School quarterback was unfazed by a wet football, a slippery field and a constant drizzle during the final 13 minutes. It was then that the junior rallied the Vikings from a 15-point deficit to a 32-23 victory that rained on Centennial's homecoming celebration.
The odds might have seemed overwhelming, but that was fine with Sherfield.
"Everything is possible," Sherfield said.
Danville ran 53 plays from scrimmage the second half. On 26 of them, Sherfield threw a pass. On 23, he ran the ball. He rushed for 156 yards after intermission and passed for 165 in the final two quarters.
"Sometimes, he tries to make things happen that are not there," Danville coach B.J. Luke said, "but he is a competitor and doesn't like to lose."
Centennial scored all 16 of the first-half points thanks to a breakout game from Tre'Vohn Crosby (team-high 153 yards rushing), who was making his season debut.
"He had been sitting on the sidelines," Centennial coach Mike McDonnell said.
Sherfield got the Vikings on the board with a 5-yard run, followed by his two-point conversion with 7:28 left in the third quarter to cut the Chargers' 16-0 lead in half.
"I was disappointed at halftime," Luke said. "We'd worked hard to build the program here and I challenged them. I said, 'Are you going to let that go?' They responded."
Crosby responded first, scampering 61 yards for a TD that lifted the Chargers into a 23-8 lead.
A 32-yard pass from Sherfield to Martez Davis with 32 seconds left in the third quarter started the improbable comeback.
In a marathon 3-hour, 12-minute game marred by 32 penalties (for 286 yards), McDonnell said, "We helped them. We gave them a little bit of hope. We had a drive going, and we'd jump offsides. We had too many mistakes."
Danville's Hoey Watson and Mike Vascura teamed up to tackle Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald for a safety with 7:33 left in the game.
Three minutes later, Sherfield's 1-yard run brought the Vikings within a 23-22 margin.
Luke then called for a pass play for the two-point conversion and Davis hauled it in.
"Martez made a strong, two-handed catch," Luke said.
McDonnell wasn't surprised by the call.
"It was raining, but the ball boys were doing a good job of keeping the balls dry," he said.
Centennial — which had three interceptions by senior Dustin Walls — had its final hopes ended when defensive lineman Tim Pittman intercepted a Fitzgerald pass and ran 15 yards for the game's final points, with 17.3 seconds remaining.
"It feels unreal," Pittman said. "My first high school TD. I'll remember this forever."
Sherfield ended with 192 passing yards and 173 rushing. Sure-handed receiver Steve Williams hauled in eight of his 14 completions.
"We got the win, now we can move on to Normal West," Sherfield said. "We've got receivers who can go get the ball. Steve had an awesome game. Martez had an awesome game. Chris (Collier) had an awesome game."
Luke was happy with the second half.
"I told them I'm not getting it out of them like I need to," he said. "They responded with pride in the second half. We'll keep working at it.
"This was a crazy night in Champaign."