Sunday, October 18, 2009

Big 12 Update: Danville Clinches Conference Title

The Danville Vikings faced one of their toughest challenges of the year on Friday night at Normal Community High School. The Ironmen had defeated Danville six times in the last three seasons, and Normal had only one close loss to Bloomington in 2009. The field was one of the largest mud puddles I have ever seen, and both offenses had trouble advancing the ball at all for the most of the game. Normal gained only 26 yards the entire second half. The Ironmen's only pass completion in that half was for a loss of six yards. Danville, though, played well in the fourth quarter to take an impressive 12-6 victory. Once again, the Vikings defense was solid, and their offense even managed to complete a few passes despite the horrible conditions. The win guarantees Danville at least a share of the Big 12 title, their first since 1996. The Viking faithful surprisingly came to Normal in full force. While sitting in the visitors section, I must admit that I caught a slight case of Danville fever. Their fans were enthusiastic on a cold night as far from their hometown as the Big 12 gets. They even brought their Nordic horn blower and appallingly unrepresentative cheer squad. The excitement in the visitors stands was equal to the excitement expressed by the hosts on homecoming night. I must give a lot of credit to the Danville players and coaching staff for an already successful season. As I have stated before, I expect the Vikings to continue winning deep into the playoffs. Anything short of a semifinal appearance would be disappointing. In an effort to keep the pressure on the Vikings, Bloomington High School continued its winning ways while visiting Decatur Eisenhower. The Raiders held a 55-0 halftime lead with five touchdown plays of 40+ yards. The final score was 62-6. Next week's spotlight game in the conference will be Bloomington-MacArthur. Both teams are very competitive, and it will be played at Fred Carlton Field. If Danville can manage a victory over visiting, winless Urbana, they will win the Big 12 outright. The tentative schedule includes a Royal Donut victory party immediately following the game and a parade on Saturday morning culminating in a celebration at the pavilion in Lincoln Park. Look for FreeKeon staff at the festivities.

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