DANVILLE — Devin Miles wore the disappointment on his sweat-drenched face as he walked off Whitesell Field on Friday night.
The Danville junior running back finished with an interception and two touchdowns, including an 84-yard kickoff return. But it wasn’t enough in a 22-19 loss to Normal Community, and every one of the Vikings knew it.
“We had the game,” said Miles, who collected 21 of his 42 rushing yards on a single touchdown trot in the fourth quarter. “It’s just moments, little moments that we could have just done (better) to shut it out. We’re where we’re supposed to be. We’re a great team. And that’s a tough team we played here.”
The Ironmen (6-1, 6-0 Big 12 Conference) needed about four minutes to close a 12-point gap midway through the final quarter, pulling past the Vikings (4-3, 3-3) after a late interception turned into eight points with less than five minutes remaining.
Missed opportunities defined the end of the night for the Vikings, who gave up a 79-yard touchdown pass from Aidan Oliver on fourth down that ignited the Ironmen’s comeback. After a quick interception, the Vikings had no answer for Oliver again as he ran for a 22-yard score and tossed a perfect floater into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
Danville coach Marcus Forrest told his players going into the game that matching up with the conference leaders would be a good gauge of where the Vikings stood as a team, but more telling to him was how upset his players were after the game. The discontent was more palpable than how the Vikings reacted after some of their more important losses in 2018, which Forrest believes is a sign of growth toward better things despite the end result.
“One thing we do know is being able to play just like that with one of the better teams, and it wasn’t a matter of freak things happening,” Forrest said. “We thoroughly played with the confidence and effort that we can play with anybody, and that’s what the kids are starting to understand. So, if nothing else, what we gather from this is we’re a pretty good team and we need to start playing like that all the time.”
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Vikings.
“We can’t let this happen again,” Miles said. “We’ve got to show up the next game and get it done.”
Maroons suffer loss. Champaign Central never led in an eventual 64-27 Big 12 loss at Peoria. Tarell Evans racked up two touchdowns to lead the Maroons (3-4, 3-3), who trailed 48-19 after the third quarter.
Tigers fall short. Printiss Turner returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown for Urbana, but the host Tigers lost 43-20 to Peoria Richwoods. Turner also added a touchdown catch for Urbana (1-6, 1-5).
Chargers stumble. Winless Centennial lost 26-18 at Thornridge in nonconference action. The Chargers (0-7) led 18-14 after three quarters before Thornridge answered with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Montez DuBose paced Centennial with 83 rushing yards on 16 carries, while Kenny Tran had 67 rushing yards.