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No time like the present: Ironmen roll

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DANVILLE — Danville coach Mike Brennan wasn’t one to savor the moment immediately following a 69-0 victory over Central Columbia Friday evening.

Coming off a third consecutive shutout and posting impressive offensive numbers in the same number of games, Brennan doesn’t want the Ironmen to live in the past.

That’s because they have a date at Loyalsock — fresh off a win over five-time defending state champion Southern Columbia —in Week 4 and a visit from those same Tigers the ensuing week.

“We just have to keep getting better. We’re pretty healthy and hopefully, we get our dinged up guys back next week,” Brennan said. “It’s a very important game. We went up [to Loyalsock] last year and lost 26-21, we played very poorly up there in Week 4. It’s the same situation — we go up there in Week 4 this year. We came back here and played them in Week 12 and played our best game of the year, and that’s what it’s going to take.

“I’m excited for this group, this group’s really worked hard and done what we’ve asked them to do so far. It’s time to get going and have our best practice of the year.”

The Ironmen weren’t getting ahead of themselves and taking the Blue Jays lightly either. Danville, never having to defend in its own territory on any of Central’s 50 offensive snaps, had two or three guys getting after the Blue Jays’ ball carrier all night.

That proved to be beneficial for the offense, especially as the Ironmen pulled away late in the first half. In a span of 1 minute, 7 seconds, they struck for three touchdowns.

The first two were via touchdown passes to Carson Persing with Madden Patrick’s only completion of the night being a 20-yard score.

After a three-and-out by the Jays, Zach Gordon connected with Persing on a 54-yard play. Persing flashed off some good footwork with a nice inside move to fool the secondary. He finished with 108 yards on three catches.

The Jays then coughed up the ball on the first play of their next possession, and Ty Brown-Stauffer capitalized one player later with a 9-yard scamper. The senior had an 8-yard score earlier in the quarter, flipping over the line for the finishing touch to help him finish with a game-high 68 yards on 11 carries.

Mistakes were common throughout the night for the Jays. Receivers dropped multiple passes, a defender dropped a sure pick-six, two fumbles led to Ironmen touchdowns and a 22-yard interception return by Carter Raup in the third quarter all led to the gap on the scoreboard.

Feeling the pressure all night from the Iron Curtain, the Blue Jays had 10 plays go for negative yardage, including five sacks. They finished with 59 total yards.

“We’re a young team and we keep making young mistakes. We shoot ourselves in the foot left and right,” Central coach EJ Smith said. “Penalties, missing receivers, fumbling the ball — mistakes are killing us. It’s us killing ourselves. We have to fix things.”

Smith wasn’t all negative, though, alluding to the Jays’ defense forcing the Ironmen to punt twice — something they haven’t had to do in a game up to this point.

Between those punts, though, the Ironmen show balance. Four different guys rushed for touchdowns with Aaron Johnson starting the fun, encapsulating all 42 yards on the first drive, including 29 on the opening score.

Then after Gordon connected with Hayden Winn to the 1-yard-line, Gordon finished the job to close out the first quarter scoring. Jack Gibson added a six-yard scamper in the third quarter.

Then, facing a fourth-and-short situation, Landon Kehoe reeled in the final touchdown from Raup to give the Ironmen three quarterbacks with a touchdown pass on the night.

“We’re making lots of plays, lots of guys are getting reps and experience so we’re in a good state of mind mentally,” Brennan said. “Right now things are going right, but it’s going to get much, much more difficult. We know that, we’ve been talking about that the last few weeks.”

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