LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) D'mauriae VanCleave's versatility playing offense, defense and special teams keyed Danville High School's perfect championship season. Todd Adler coached Logan County to an unbeaten regular season and a playoff win, an impressive turnaround from 1-9 the previous year and 33 consecutive losses before he took over.
VanCleave's all-around skills helped the Admirals win their first state championship since 2003 and earned the senior's selection as Kentucky's Mr. Football by members of the Associated Press. The 5-foot-8, 160-pounder accounted for 1,857 yards on offense and 29 all-purpose touchdowns, including four in Danville's 35-21 Class 2A title game victory over Mayfield.
The senior prided himself on flexibility and added, "It meant a lot to me because I wanted to have an impact on my team in more than one way."
Admittedly soft-spoken, VanCleave played wherever the Admirals needed him and let his performance speak for him.
He entered the state championship as the school's first 1,000-yard receiver with 1,053 and 13 TDs, 659 rushing with nine TDs and three other scores as a kick returner. VanCleave followed up by totaling 218 all-purpose yards and four TDs, including a 67-yard scoring run and a 60-yard punt return TD.
He also intercepted two passes in being chosen as the game's Most Valuable Player.
Danville earned its 11th state title a season after falling short in the championship, a disappointment VanCleave said motivated him and teammates to finish the job last fall. To that end, Admirals coach Clay Clevenger made sure VanCleave touched the ball as much as possible.
"You knew once he got the ball in open space, there was going to be a big play made," Clevenger added. "The last half of his senior year he really turned it up another notch and led us to that championship."
VanCleave, who played in last weekend's Kentucky-Tennessee Border Bowl all-star game, finished the season with 1,095 yards receiving, 762 rushing, six interceptions and 29 total TDs.
"As an upperclassman, I had to set an example," said VanCleave, who has verbally committed to play collegiately at Wofford. "My coach giving the ball so much let me know he trusted me."