CARDINGTON — Danville beat the Pirates here Friday night. But Cardington (1-1) has to take a substantial share of the blame in the 30-22 KMAC loss.

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight. I don’t know what the penalty count was, but just from what we saw, we would get something and then get killed and get something and get killed,” said Cardington first-year head coachTod Brininger.

The penalties amounted to 125 yards compared with 247 yards of total offense the Pirates generated.

“Danville is a good team. They play hard. We knew they moved the ball on Centerburg. They shot themselves in the foot last week and we shot ourselves in the foot this week.”

Danville led 6-0 after a quarter thanks to an opening drive that saw Levi Lyons go in from the one.

An Ashton Plowman 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was called back due to a block in the back penalty.

The win gave Cam Smith his first career victory as the Blue Devils (1-1) head coach.

“It feels good. A win is a win. I think ultimately we did end up executing our offense. We made a lot of mistakes, but we also capitalized on their mistakes as well,” Smith said.

Nate Hickman and Trey Brininger hooked up on 12 pass completions for 157 yards. Overall, Hickman was 28-for-46 passing for 241 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

“They threw it well. Their quarterback and No. 11 receiver knows how to get open in space,” Smith said.

Max Payne to Aiden Bell gave the visitors a 12-0 lead on a 35-yard scoring catch and a few minutes later Danville threatened to blow the game open going up 18-0 on a TD pass to Payne.

But Ashton Plowman took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards — this time with no flags thrown — to get Cardington on the board 24-6.

Moments later Kaiden Calopy sprinted free for a 50-yard score and a 24-6 lead.

Hickman found Brininger from 8 yards out to make it 24-14 at halftime.

Mistakes plagued both squads in the second half, stalling drives.

The Pirates got to the 1 on a 31-yard pass to Brininger. Gabe McConnell snagged a touchdown reception and Brininger caught the two-point conversion to cut it to 30-22 with 3:25 left.

Danville boomed a punt 52 yards on its next possession, forcing Cardington to start at its own 1 with 2:12 to play. A long pass and then a holding penalty ended the drive.

“It’s going to continue to be a roller coaster,” Brininger said. “I still don’t know if any team knows who they are. This should be our third scrimmage and still be finding out about what we have.”

Brininger and Ashton Plowman had 6 tackles each and Colin McAvoy 5.

Payne finished with 170 yards on 11 of 17 passing. He added 33 yards on the ground. Deion Parker rushed for 76 yards on 17 carries and Colopy had six catches for 100 yards,

Cardington visits Northmor Friday night.

“The kids will battle back. I told them we could be doing something else on this Friday night, but good or bad, we’re out here playing football.”

By Anthony Conchel

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