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Daingerfield Playing Its Best Football Just In Time For Second Matchup With New Boston

Daingerfield quarterback Keris Alexander (18) avoids a Winnsboro defender during the Tigers’ 47-14 third-round win in Tyler on Nov. 30. (Richard Shoemaker, ETSN.fm)

It’s not often a three-loss team would be considered a favorite against an undefeated team this deep in the playoffs, especially when that team is responsible for one of the three losses.

But that may be the case for this week’s Class 2A Division I Region II championship game between Daingerfield (10-3) and New Boston (12-0).

Daingerfield has the pedigree, just a couple years removed from a run of three straight state championships. And the Tigers have been awfully impressive in their three playoff wins, outscoring Eustace, Callisburg and Winnsboro by a combined score of 137-35.

“We made the decision early on to just get better every day,” Daingerfield coach Aric Sardinea said. “We always tell the kids about being disciplined on defense and the offense to keep working on technique. We tell them about working on the little things and the details every week. The kids have really bought into that. That’s what it’s all about. If you show them how to improve on the details, they play with more energy on Friday nights.”

Daingerfield dominated Winnsboro last Friday night. After falling behind 8-7 in the first quarter, Daingerfield outscored the Red Raiders 40-6 the rest of the way.

“One thing that I saw was the kids played with a lot of energy,” Sardinea said. “We came out in the first quarter, went right down the field and scored. You saw Winnsboro come right back and score and go for two. Our kids seemed to step it up to another level after that. Defensively, we had guys making plays on the line of scrimmage. Their offense is really designed to punish you up front.”

Daingerfield quarterback Keris Alexander passed for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, a continuation of his progression since being named the starter midway through the season.

For the season, Alexander has passed for 1,864 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“His progression at the quarterback position has been tremendous,” Sardinea said. “He turned it over early on, but he’s done an excellent job overcoming that.”

New Boston and its talented running back Damien Haskins, a 3,000-yard rusher committed to Oregon State, stands in the way of Daingerfield continuing its quest of four state titles in five years.

Haskins ran for 393 yards and five touchdowns to lead New Boston to a 38-37 win over Daingerfield in their regular-season matchup on Oct. 5.

“I’ve coached in 5A before and now I’m in 2A. I’d have to say (Haskins) is probably in the top two of three I’ve seen at that position. He’s a very physical kid and he has the speed to get outside. He does a really good job in their scheme.”

The game, set for Mount Pleasant’s Sam Parker Field, might be considered one of the top playoff matchups across the entire state.

“We’re excited about it,” Sardinea said. “It’s a big game, from a fan’s perspective. The kids are real excited about getting another chance to play them again.”

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