SCIOTOVILLE — A new story but the ending was all to familiar to Tartan fans .
East was perfect in 2016 as its 10-0 record indicated. However, Saturday night, the Tartans were anything but a well-oiled machine.
Looking for their first playoff win in program history, the Tartans were once again turned away as East felt the sting of its first loss of the year 55-27 in a Division VII, Region 27 against the Danville Blue Devils.
“Compliments to the seniors, like I told them, they’re the foundation to this program now,” Tartans head coach James Gifford said. “I’m not taking away from any player here before this class but they’re the foundation of it. Solid programs that win every year have to start from somewhere and this is our starting point. We’ll build from this and be better next year and the year after, and the year after that.
“I think East is here to stay. I think we’re going to be a team to do something special and make runs in playoffs. We’re close, we’re getting close. But it’s a good night. I’m not going to let this loss to Danville ruin our night. It’s still a great night and I’m proud to be a Tartan. “
East (10-1) was led by Drew Lowe who went 13-for 28 for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Lowe’s first touchdown strike put East on the board early in the second quarter after the senior hit Ethan Carver from 3 yards out.
In the Second half, Lowe began to heat up as the Tartans were trying to climb back into the contest. Lowe hit Ethan Gifford on a 5-yard touchdown before the pair finally hooked up again in the fourth quarter — this time it was a 61-yard TD.
Following an onside kick recovery, Lowe hit Kyle Flannery down the right sideline from 42 yards out.
“Drew is just an outstanding person,” Gifford said. “We’ll miss, not just his arm, but his leadership, his presence around the team. Drew’s the type of kid that you want to build your program around. His performance tonight was outstanding but I wasn’t surprised, I knew he’d have a big night. And compliments to the receivers, they were the ones catching the ball and the line blocked real well tonight as far as giving Drew time.
“I felt like we got better tonight. We improved. We were better this week than we were last week.”
On the other side of the ball, the Tartan defense struggled to contain the Danville (8-3) spread attack. Blue Devils quarterback Skylar Durbin accounted for six touchdowns, four passing and two rushing.
“I felt like we were doing OK against the pass until the very end there,” Gifford said. “But we knew that would eventually open it up for him to start running and it did. When that happened, now we start playing two dimensional and now they’re good at both. Compliments to Danville, they did a good job game planning.”
Danville —Hazen 54 yd pass from Durbin (Dorsey kick), 8:39
East —Carver 3 yd pass from Lowe (Lowe kick), 9:48
Danville — Durbin 1 yd run (Dorsey kick), 3:38
Danville — Hazen 14 yd pass from Durbin (Kick failed), :26.8
Danville — Durbin 9 yd run (Conversion failed), 7:46
East — Gifford 5 yd pass from Lowe (Conversion failed), 4:10
Danville — Hazen 46 yd pass from Durbin (Conversion good), 4:01
Danville —Winings 14 yd pass from Durbin (Dorsey kick), 9:39
Danville — Geenwalt 1 yd run (Dorsey kick), 8:59
East — Gifford 61 yd pass from Lowe (Conversion good), 7:44
East — Flannery 42 yd pass from Lowe (Conversion failed), 7:21
Danville — Greenwalt 25 yd run (Dorsey kick), 7:05
Rushing — Danville: Durbin 23-138, Stalls 4-33, Greenwalt 5-31, Stimpert 1-(-2); East: Brown 17-45, Carver 2-3, Scott 2-1, Lowe 2-(-1), Flannery 1(-4).
Passing — Danville: Durbin 15-25-224; East: Lowe 13-28-230, Douthat 1-3-0.
Receiving — Danville: Hazen 8-165, Mickley 4-35, Winnings 2-19, Stimpert 1-5; East: Gifford 6-106, Flannery 2-54, Scott 3-46, Brown 1-16, Douthat 1-5, Carver 1-3.
Danville 8-3; East 10-1
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.