DANVILLE — Trent Sherfield has had big games before.
Friday night, the Danville quarterback had a huge game in the home opener of his senior season.
The Vanderbilt recruit accounted for 419 of the Vikings’ 420 yards of offense, rallying his team in the second half for a 35-19 triumph against Centennial in a Big 12 Conference game watched by 3,200 spectators at Whitesell Field.
“As a runner, Sherfield is one of the best in the league,” Centennial coach Mike McDonnell said.
As a passer, he may not have any peers. Sherfield threw for five touchdowns in a turnover-free performance, completing 15 of 22 passes. He hooked up with Chris Collier on three of the scoring strikes (covering 34, 11 and 45 yards) and Denzel Smith for the other two (covering 33 and 41 yards).
“We were down, but we regrouped and played like the team we knew we were,” said Collier, who had six receptions each half and totaled 191 yards.
The game started like the shootout many anticipated. Centennial scored on its first two possessions, engineered by quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald. Danville countered with TDs the first two times it had the ball.
“I’m disappointed we came up short, but Jimmy played well and we had some receivers who got the job done,” McDonnell said.
The Chargers’ Dominic Stampley gave Centennial (1-2) a five-point lead at halftime, scoring on a 62-yard pass from Fitzgerald, a play in which no one was within 15 yards when he made the catch at 3:06 before intermission.
Danville’s defense held Centennial to no points and 75 yards of offense the second half on 32 non-punting plays.
“We played with more confidence,” Danville coach B.J. Luke said. “The Chargers gave us a good game.”
Fitzgerald passed for 138 first-half yards, completing four passes for at least 17 yards. The Vikings limited him to 45 second-half yards through the air. Only one completion was for more than 9 yards, and it gained 12.
“They were giving certain things (shorter routes), and you go out and take ’em,” McDonnell said. “We have athletes, but not athletes who can blow by people.”
Centennial was 3 for 8 on third-down conversions in the second half. A key series came after Danville went up 28-19, the Vikings’ Hoey Watson sacked Fitzgerald for a 12-yard loss on third down, forcing a punt from the Chargers’ 19. Four plays later, Sherfield hooked up with Collier for the score that put the game out of reach.
Sherfield passed the Vikings (1-2) downfield the first three times they had the ball in the third quarter. Two drives required third-down conversions.
Though Sherfield passed for 274 yards, Luke said the key is “Trent’s ability to run keeps people in an honest defense.”
McDonnell said seniors Sherfield and Collier are “great athletes who can outrun anyone we’ve seen so far. When guys are faster than us, there’s not much we can do.”
Neither team committed a turnover in a contest that featured more than 700 yards of combined total offense.
“I’m sure it was a fun game to watch,” McDonnell said.
After all five Danville TDs, senior soccer player Gracson Torres — in his first year in football — booted the extra point. Collier serves as the holder.
“They try to get me off the field on kickoffs,” Collier said. “That’s OK. I love to play.”
TEAM CONF. OVERALL
Normal West 3 0 3 0
Bloomington 2 1 2 1
Champaign Central 2 1 2 1
Normal Community 2 1 2 1
Decatur MacArthur 1 1 2 1
Danville 1 1 1 2
Centennial 1 2 1 2
Decatur Eisenhower 0 3 0 3
Urbana 0 3 0 3
NEXT FRIDAY’S GAMES
Central at Bloomington
Normal Community at Centennial
Normal West at Danville
Urbana at Springfield Lanphier
NEXT SATURDAY’S GAME
Decatur MacArthur at Decatur Eisenhower