DANVILLE, Ohio — Sometimes there’s no way around it, you’re simply outmatched.
The South Gallia football team knew what it was up against Friday night, as the Rebels traveled to Knox County for a Division VII, Region 25 quarterfinal showdown with D-7 poll champion Danville. The host Blue Devils, who have made five straight playoff appearances, began their 16th postseason in style, defeating SGHS 63-0 in the Rebels fourth-ever playoff game.
Danville (11-0) wasted little time getting on the board as Ridge Durbin completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Cal Honabarger just 30 seconds into play. DHS scored again at the 8:46 mark of the first when Justus Brady recovered a fumble in the endzone. Ridge Durbin connected with Honabarger for a second scoring pass with 1:24 left in the first, this time from nine yards out. Luis Martin, Reese Dorsey and Piet Hartmann each made an extra point in the first quarter and Danville led 21-0.
Ridge Durbin kept his roll going in the second quarter, throwing three touchdown passes, while rushing seven yards for another score. Honabarger was one the receiving end of a 30-yard touchdown, while Kenton Mickley caught a 26-yard scoring pass and an 11-yard scoring pass in the second. Hartmann made two extra points in the second quarter, while Dorsey and Eduardo Demetrio each added one.
DHS scored just once in the third, as Skyler Durbin found paydirt on an 18-yard run with 2:14 remaining in the quarter. Danville also scored once in the fourth period, with Chris Greenawalt punching in the endzone from six yards out with 8:28 left in the game. Demetrio and Martin both had an extra point kick in the second half and Danville claimed the 63-0 victory, its eighth shutout in the last nine games.
“We came out and did the best we could,” sixth year SGHS head coach Jason Peck said. “We’ve been banged up for a little bit, but the kids came and played hard and I appreciate that. I give our guys credit, they don’t quit. The score doesn’t reflect it, but I’m very proud them.”
South Gallia (6-5) was outgained 502-to-92 in total offense, including 212-to-39 on the ground. Danville held a 27-to-3 advantage in first downs and a 4-to-1 edge in takeaways. Both teams were sent back 20 yards on penalties, and DHS only punted once, while forcing SGHS to punt six times.
South Gallia senior Landon Hutchinson, who was 6-of-13 passing for 53 yards with one interception, led the Rebels on the ground with 38 yards on 12 carries. Isaiah Geiger, Johnny Sheets and Dominick Seward each added two yards on the ground in the setback.
Kane Hutchinson, who intercepted a pass in the endzone in the third quarter, led the SGHS receiving corps with 28 yards on three receptions. SGHS senior Nathan Colburn caught two passes for 21 yards, while Geiger had one reception for four yards.
Ridge Durbin, who led Danville on the ground with 70 yards and a score on 10 carries, was 24-of-29 passing for 268 yards and five touchdowns. Kenton Mickley had 95 yards and two scores on nine receptions, Honabarger added 108 yards and three scores on eight receptions, while Skyler Durbin had 54 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
Danville will face Harvest Prep in the regional semifinal on Friday night at a venue that has yet to be determined. HPHS also advanced passed a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division team in the opening round, as the Warriors edged Belpre by a 21-19 final.
South Gallia, which had to win its final four games of the season just to make the playoffs, was shutout for just the second time this season. The only other time the Rebels were held scoreless this season was a 44-point, Week 6 loss at Belpre.
“I was very proud of where we were at the end of the season,” Peck said. “It’s always our goal to get to playoffs, we might not have been ready for it this year, but we got here anyway. I’ll take that as a success.”
South Gallia, which falls to 0-4 in postseason games, and has been shutout in three of its four playoff appearances. SGHS also qualified for the playoffs in 2005, 2006 and 2011. Danville was also the Rebels’ playoff opponent in 2006, and the Blue Devils won that game by a 51-20 final.
SGHS headed into Friday night’s game averaging 33.6 points and 409 yards of total offense per game.
This marks the final game in the Red and Gold for South Gallia seniors Isaiah Geiger, Justin Crago, Jared Nolan, Landon Hutchinson, Kane Hutchinson, Owen Bevan, Nathan Colburn, Blake Strait, Dominick Johnson, Hunter Calhoun, Ty Carpenter, and Jake Saunders.
This group of seniors, who were in eighth grade the last time the Rebels made the postseason, has helped SGHS to a pair of winning seasons in their four years.
Ohio Valley Publishing sports writer Donald Lambert contributed to this report. Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.