DANVILLE — Danville is one step closer to making its first playoff appearance in 11 years. The Hawks survived a 42-33 shootout with Class 4A, Region 7 opponent DAR to earn their fourth region win of the season.

The Hawks now have their highest region win total since 2009. A team that went 0-10 last season is in play for its first region title since 1995.

“Everybody is in the locker room dancing,” running back Cameron Moore said. “We’re not guaranteed a spot, but we are pretty darn close. We’ve overcome what everyone has said about us.”

A lot of factors went into Danville’s turnaround this year. One of the biggest ones is the addition of quarterback Luke Nail, who transferred from Madison Academy this offseason. Nail gives Danville a passing game that it didn’t have last year.

On Thursday, he showed why his coaches were excited about him leading the offense. He threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another. He also intercepted a pass on defense for a touchdown that sealed the nine-point win for the Hawks.

Nail finished 12-of-23 for 283 yards passing.

“We knew we were going to have some opportunities to throw it,” Danville coach Shannon McGregory said. “They committed to stopping the run and made us throw it. Luke can throw the football.”

Nail’s first touchdown of the night came in response to DAR taking a seven-point lead. He found Ethan Sapp for a 71-yard touchdown and then put Danville up 14-7 with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Moore.

DAR cut the lead to one before Moore returned a punt over 60 yards for a touchdown right before the half.

Moore struck again in the second half with a 47-yard touchdown run that gave Danville a 28-19 lead. DAR responded to make it a two-point game before Nail found the end zone on a 6-yard run.

DAR pulled within two with 6:11 left. Nail then led a drive from Danville’s 6-yard line all the way to DAR’s 11-yard line before the Hawks turned it over on downs, giving DAR a shot with just over a minute left.

Four plays later, an errant throw found its way into the hands of Nail, who coasted for the 30-yard interception return that gave Danville the win.

Danville’s win brings them to 5-3 on the season and 4-1 in the region. The Hawks are 5-1 since starting the season 0-2. Danville has two more region games against St. John Paul and Fairview. Two wins would give the Hawks a region title for the first time in 25 years.

“I think this win is going to get us rolling into the next game and the game after that,” Moore said. “Then, hopefully, it’s on to the playoffs.”

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Guntersville 37, Brewer 7

GUNTERSVILLE — Jonathan Morgan scored on a 1-yard run with less than a minute to play as Brewer avoided being shut out in a Class 5A, Region 8 game.

Morgan finished with a team-high 70 rushing yards for the Patriots, who trailed 6-0 after one quarter and 23-0 at the half.

Wyatt Styles completed 20 of 33 passes for 164 yards.

Brewer (3-4, 1-3) continues region play next week at home against East Limestone.

—matthew.speakman@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2460. Twitter @DD_MSpeakman.

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