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Games of 2012, No. 3: Daingerfield 35, New Boston 28

Daingerfield’s Edwin Mims (7) runs with the ball during the Tigers’ 35-28 fourth-round win over New Boston in Mount Pleasant on Dec. 7. (Richard Shoemaker, ETSN.fm)

Just like the No. 10 game on the ETSN.fm countdown of the best games of 2012, No. 3 featured district foes fighting for a regional championship.

Just like that No. 10 game — Elysian Fields’ 21-14 win over Hughes Springs — the team that lost in the regular season came out on top in the postseason.

Daingerfield’s Edwin Mims returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown with 45 seconds remaining to propel the Tigers to a heart-stopping 35-28 Class 2A Division I Region II championship victory against New Boston, which had beaten the Tigers 38-37 at home in the regular season.

Setting the stage: Oregon State-bound running back Damien Haskins shredded Daingerfield in the Lions’ 38-37 regular-season win, rushing for almost 400 yards and five touchdowns in what was the de facto District 8-2A Division I championship game. Daingerfield rebounded from that loss, winning seven consecutive games to put the Tigers in position at a shot at redemption against the undefeated Lions.

First impressions: Haskins got going early in the game, bursting 26 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 7-7 late in the first quarter. But New Boston used big plays in other aspects of the game to gain a 21-14 halftime lead. Tyjae Clark scored on a 94-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Conkleton, while Jeff Haskins returned an interception 76 yards for a score. At intermission, everything was going New Boston’s way.

In the moment: But again, Daingerfield fought back behind Mims, who took over the game during the second half. One of the latest in a long line of Mims playmakers in Daingerfield football lore, the versatile senior scored on touchdown runs of 20 and 10 yards to give Daingerfield a 28-21 lead entering the fourth quarter. New Boston tied the game on a 24-yard Conkleton-to-Clark strike 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter, but Daingerfield punter Carlos Macias twice pinned New Boston inside its own 10-yard line with timely punts. New Boston managed to get the ball out to its own 28-yard line after the second boot, which went out of bounds at the 2-yard line. But that set up Mims’ 70-yard punt return touchdown for the lead with 45 seconds to play. New Boston quickly drove the field in an attempt to tie, but time expired during an incompletion in Daingerfield’s end zone after the Lions had reached the Tiger 13-yard line.

Last impressions: After surrendering almost 400 rushing yards to Haskins in the first encounter, Daingerfield limited the star to 137 yards on 33 carries. Mims scored four of Daingerfield’s five touchdowns on runs of 33, 20, and 10 and the aforementioned punt return. New Boston’s stellar season ended at 12-1, but Daingerfield advanced to beat Wall 29-22 in the state semifinals, giving the Tigers their ninth state championship berth in school history. Cameron Yoe avenged a 2010 state-title loss to Daingerfield this time, beating the Tigers 38-20 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

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