Daingerfield Can’t Overcome Disastrous First Quarter Against Cameron Yoe
ARLINGTON -- The Daingerfield Tigers entered their ninth state championship game brimming with confidence after winning nine straight.
Most of that disappeared in the early moments of Friday afternoon's Class 2A Division I title game, with Cameron Yoe taking advantage of a pair of Daingerfield miscues en route to a 38-20 victory in front of 12,327 fans at Cowboys Stadium.
Before the Tigers could settle in, they found themselves facing a 21-0 deficit in the first quarter. An interception inside the shadow of their goal post and a special teams gaffe in the end zone turned the tide Friday in a rematch of the 2010 2A Division I state title game.
Daingerfield (12-4) dug itself a hole right off the bat when Cameron Yoe's Zach Riola intercepted junior quarterback Keris Alexander inside the Tigers' 10-yard line on Daingerfield's first play from scrimmage.
Three plays later, Yoe's Jason Kopriva hooked up with Zach Felts for a 9-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing Tigers possession, Alexander was sacked for a 13-yard loss on third down, forcing punter Carlos Macias to field a snap from his own end zone.
However, Macias dropped the snap, picked it back up, only to have it squirt free once gain. Yoe's Edgar Luna picked it up in the end zone to give the Yoemen a 14-0 lead with 6:15 to go in the opening quarter.
A few more negative plays and a penalty pushed another Daingerfield drive inside its own 5 when Macias dropped back to punt again. Yoe took over at the Tigers' 31, and Offensive MVP Keaton Denio bolted for a 31-yard touchdown for a 21-0 lead with 51 seconds showing on the first-quarter clock.
"The first one, we just didn't get the ball out far enough," Daingerfield coach Aric Sardinea said. "He threw it to the right area and he just didn't throw it out far enough. On the second one ... our punter took his eyes off the ball. If you look at the other ones ... a lot of times when you try so hard you make those mistakes."
Daingerfield was in a 21-0 hole, and Yoe's three scoring drives covered a total of just 40 yards.
"I don't think it's nerves," Sardinea said. "It's been two years since we've been here. Our kids, our community ... this is what we do. We're a playoff football team and we're a state championship community. It's in their bloodlines, it just runs through Daingerfield. I'm never going to tell my kids that they were nervous, I don't believe that. I just think that we just missed a few opportunities."
The Tigers had to play catch-up the rest of the afternoon, which led a few more mistakes in the second half, perhaps none bigger than on their opening drive of the third quarter.
Following a 36-yard completion from Edwin Mims and Shawn Hooks, Mims took the snap and darted toward the end zone when the ball popped out of his hands at the 12 and rolled into the end zone for a touchback. A touchdown there would have cut the deficit to 28-14. Instead, Yoe built a 35-7 lead two possessions later when Felts took it in from 14 yards out.
Despite dominating Daingerfield on the scoreboard, Yoe outgained the Tigers 367-329. The outcome was decided by turnovers. The Tigers turned it over five times, while Yoe played mistake-free football.