on November 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Nostalgic feelings around Daniel program

CENTRAL — After the Daniel High School football team clinched the Western AAA title two weeks ago with a resounding victory over Greenville, it began to look as those the Lions had slipped back a decade – much to the delight of everyone involved with the program.

From the Lions’ play on the field to the fans that flocked to Sirrine Stadium in Greenville that night, Daniel head coach Randy Robinson said it seemed a bit like the glory days of the 90’s that featured four state titles.

“After the fan support we had at Greenville, I think we have the community back behind us,” Robinson said. “I honestly believe we had more fans at Sirrine Stadium than they did. The kids really like that, and it was really fun seeing a lot of people supporting us on the road.”

With community interest as high as it’s been in years, Daniel (9-1) will continue its search for a state title when it hosts Camden Friday night at Singleton Field in Central.

The game will mark the first home playoff contest for Daniel since the 2004 season against J.L. Mann, which the Lions won before losing to Fairfield Central on the road the following week.

As Robinson has said since the preseason, the Lions’ path truly began during the summer, when he made it clear it was time for Daniel to rise to the level it did in the 90’s, when the team was widely considered “the team of the decade.”

From voluntary workouts during those summer sessions up until today, that’s still what the team talks about in the locker room and on the practice field.

“These guys talk about it all the time. They want to get the tradition going again,” Robinson said. “We had a little lull in the early 2000s. We only won one region championship back in 2001, and these guys were little kids watching the late 90s team with all the success, so it’s a big deal to the kids.”

Daniel’s junior quarterback Justin Walker said the team’s number one goal had been to win the region going into the season. But with that now out of the way, the larger goals that team set are now in range.

“He (Robinson) told us at the beginning of spring practice that if we want to win region, we’d have to work hard over the summer,” Walker said. “That was our goal, and we accomplished that. Our next goal is to win State. Hopefully we can accomplish that. Winning region was a big help for our momentum going into the playoffs.”

On top of the goals that the Lions set for themselves, they’re also getting motivation from an outside source that had largely faded away in recent years – the fan base.

Robinson, in only his second year, has made an attempt to reach out to the community more than in years past, and the towns that feed into the school have rallied around this team.

In fact, the McDonald’s in Clemson will host a Daniel night starting at 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. tonight. The football team will arrive around 6:45 p.m. so fans can come out and meet with the team for autographs and pictures.

That’s something that has been missing from the program for a while, and Walker said it’s a tremendous boost for the team.

“We have people in the community wanting to help us out now,” Walker said. “It feels good to have the community involved because it makes us want to play hard for the people in Clemson, Central and Six Mile.”

Home attendance has been high all season, and the Lions are a perfect 5-0 at Singleton Field this season. Robinson said he’s expecting another big crowd as the Lions look to maintain that undefeated streak.

Friday’s game in Central will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.