on November 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)
Lions pounce on Pickens, finish perfect regular season
CENTRAL — Many former Daniel High School football players came back to watch the Lions’ season finale against Pickens on Friday night, the final regular season football game played at historic Singleton Field. This year’s edition of the Lions gave the alumni a look at what Daniel football was like in its heyday.
The Lions jumped out to an early lead, and then relied on an aggressive, opportunistic defense to dominate the Blue Flame 48-3 on an emotional night at Singleton Field. With the win, Daniel finished off its first perfect regular season since 1991.
Last week, the Lions clinched the Western AAA title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Some questioned whether the Lions would be motivated to play in this game. The doubters were silenced early, as the Daniel defense stopped the Blue Flame on a fourth down try on the game’s first possession. This led to a Daniel touchdown, as Justin Walker found Marquez McDowell in stride in the end zone from 30 yards away to give the Lions an early lead less then two minutes into the ballgame.
“The beginning of the game was great,” said Walker, who accounted for three touchdowns in the game. “Running down the hill and seeing them shoot fireworks was pretty cool. That got us fired up a little bit. Then we got a deep pass. Our defense scored, our special teams scored. That helped us out a lot.”
After a short Walker run stretched the Lion lead out to 12-0, Ethan White recovered a fumble deep in Pickens territory and ran it in for a touchdown to make the score 19-0.
After a Pickens field goal midway through the second quarter, Walker again went deep, this time finding DeAndre Hopkins down the middle of the field to extend the lead once again.
On the ensuing kickoff return, the ball was fumbled into the end zone and pounced on by several Daniel players, giving the Lions a 34-3 advantage. The Lions were not done scoring in the first half, as Brandon Anderson had a short scoring run to make the score 41-3 at halftime.
“It’s amazing what you can do when you get great field position and pick up a blitz,” said Daniel head coach Randy Robinson. “We gave Justin Walker a lot of time early, and he made some big plays for us.”
A Michael Wingard touchdown run early in the third quarter closed the scoring, but by that point the outcome was no longer in doubt.
At halftime, there was a special presentation in which former players were recognized and several former staff members received gifts, including Dick Singleton, the coach for whom the stadium is named. It was an emotional celebration of the old stadium that has stood for over 50 years, which will be the site of the new Daniel High School. Construction of the school is set to begin upon completion of the season.
The importance of this game was evident to everyone in the Daniel locker room. Walker added, “We knew there were a lot of people coming back, and we didn’t want to let anybody down.”
Even though Daniel celebrated the end of football in its stadium, there are still football games left to be played on that field, which is what Robinson told his team after the game.
“I told this team before I prayed with them to enjoy this weekend, because on Sunday afternoon, it’s over and we’ve got a new challenge ahead of us,” he said. “Personally, I wanted to win the last regular season game here. These guys that came back, I wanted it to be special for them.”
Daniel 48, Pickens 3
PHS 0 3 0 0 — 3
DWD 12 29 7 0 — 48
DWD — McDowell 30 yard pass from Walker (kick failed) 10:26
DWD —Walker 1 yard run (run failed) 1:28
DWD — White 27 yard fumble return (Howard kick) 9:18
PHS — Grabely 34 yard field 5:10
DWD — Hopkins 45 yard pass from Walker (Wingard run) 3:56
DWD — Davidson fumble recovery in end zone (Howard kick) 3:41
DWD — Anderson 2 yard run (Howard kick) 0:10
DWD — Wingard 7 yard run (Perkins kick) 8:01
First Downs 8 13
Rushes-Yards 36-100 37-203
Passing Yards 43 170
Com-Att-Int 4-11-1 8-10-0
Punts-Yards 6-151 2-71
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 0-0
Pen-Yards 7-47 5-50
Rushing — Pickens, Jones 27-100, Lawson 7-2, Brown 2-(-)2. Daniel, M. Wingard 9-71, Anderson 7-52, Jacks 10-49, Korn 1-16, W. Wingard 7-8, Walker 3-7.
Passing — Pickens, Lawson 3-10-1 12, Hester 1-1-0 31. Daniel, Walker 8-10-0 170.
Receiving — Pickens, Childs 3-38, Burgess 1-5. Daniel, Hopkins 1-45, Williams 1-37, Williams 3-33, McDowell 1-30, Greenlee 1-14, Cannon 1-11.