By Eric Shultz
For The Daily Item
The game was tied at 14 at halftime, but Luke Klingerman’s performance on the ground gave Mount Carmel every reason to be in the lead.
Helped by long runs of 61 and 30 yards, Klingerman amassed 161 yards on 21 carries during the first two quarters. Danville defensive coordinator Bill Freeman said the two huge gains were due to being out-schemed on the play-calling and by strong blocking by the Red Tornadoes offensive line.
When the second half began, the Ironmen’s defense was much more dominant. It stymied Klingerman on the majority of his carries after halftime and kept forcing the Tornadoes to punt.
In total, Klingerman ended his final game as a Tornado with 195 yards on 33 carries, seeing his numbers taper off significantly in the last two quarters.
Despite the distinct contrast between Klingerman’s production in each half, Freeman said that there were not many halftime adjustments made to slow him down.
“We just started making plays. Early, a couple of our lineman had a shot at him and ran by him,” Freeman said. “He gashed us — I don’t think he pounded us; he gashed us for big gains. So what we stressed at halftime was, ‘Look, when the play’s in front of you, you gotta make it’ ... (and) the kids started doing that.”
Rather than scheming differently, Freeman said he saw a different mentality in his defense in the second half.
“I think they just started to believe they could play with Mount Carmel. Everybody in the area was saying they were too big, they were too strong,” Freeman said.
“Once they started believing it, they started playing.”