[By Johnny Green, Special to ETSN.fm]

MOUNT PLEASANT — In weather better suited for penguins and polar bears, New Boston turned the heat up on Daingerfield in their Class 2A Division I Region II championship game Saturday afternoon at frigid Sam Parker Field.

The five-time defending regional champions had to get out of the kitchen, falling 41-14 in a completely dominant performance by the Lions.

New Boston (13-1), which suffered six turnovers and gave up six touchdown passes in a 40-23 District 8-2A D-I loss to Daingerfield in October, held the potent Tiger offense to minus-9 total yards and just four first downs. Keynon Whetstone's two first-quarter kickoff returns for touchdowns prevented the Lions from posting a shutout.

New Boston's Quinn Dedmon powers through several Daingerfield defenders to score in Saturday's 41-14 regional championship win in Mount Pleasant. (Evan Lewis, ETSN.fm)

Whetstone's returns — a 72-yarder on the opening kickoff and a 99-yarder that tied the score 14-all with seconds left in the quarter — were about the only mistakes the Lions made in setting a school record for wins in a season and advancing to the state semifinals for the first time. New Boston plays the winner of Monday's Wall vs. Eastland game next Saturday for the right to play for the 2A D-I title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 19.

Daingerfield had its nine-game win streak snapped and finished the season 10-4. The Tigers fell two wins shy of reaching their fifth state championship game in six years. They lost in last year's 2A D-I title game to Cameron Yoe.

New Boston's win also avenged last year's regional championship loss to Daingerfield, which won 35-28 on a last-minute punt return touchdown to eliminate the Lions.

Without Whetstone's heroics, the Lions could have had a three-touchdown lead at halftime. Instead they led 21-14, but came out even stronger in the second half, allowing Daingerfield only one first down while outscoring the Tigers 20-0.

New Boston's Quinn Dedmon tackles Daingerfield's Denzel Mims in the Lions' regional title win Saturday in Mount Pleasant. (Evan Lewis, ETSN.fm)

"I wasn't surprised that we played well," said first-year Lions coach Jamey Thomas. "We just didn't have the turnovers we had the first time we played Daingerfield. As for the way we dominated the game, it's hard to explain. I think our kids were just determined to win."

Junior running back Quinn Dedmon ran 29 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the second half. He set up his third-quarter six-yard score by completing a halfback pass for 13 yards on 4th-and-7, underthrowing receiver Juwaun Johnson, who came back to make a diving catch for the conversion.

Dedmon's other touchdown came with 3:38 left in the game, a three-yard run on fourth down after Dylan Martin returned his second interception of the game 21 yards to the Tigers' 11-yard line.

Keith Baldwin, who shared running back chores with Dedmon, scored three times while rushing for an even 100 yards on 19 attempts. His five-yard tally — on another fourth-down play — capped an 11-play, 60-yard drive that tied the score 7-7. He also had scoring runs of 23 yards in the second quarter and 12 yards in the fourth.

Daingerfield's Keris Alexander fumbles a snap near his own end zone in Saturday's 41-14 regional final win in Mount Pleasant. New Boston recovered the fumble and scored. (Evan Lewis, ETSN.fm)

New Boston went ahead on a Daingerfield mistake. A snap from the shotgun formation eluded Tiger quarterback Keris Alexander near the goal line, and linebacker Wil Teague came up with the fumble in the end zone to put the Lions up 14-7.

But the ensuing kickoff took Whetstone back to the 1-yard line, and the Daingerfield speedster broke three tackles on the left side before reversing his field and going the distance for the second time in the game.

Alexander and backup quarterback Malik Higgins were held to a combined 3-for-17 passing with two interceptions, both by Martin. Cordarius Anderson, who had rushed for more than 1,400 yards on the season entering the contest, was held to 12 yards on seven carries.

Daingerfield's Ramius Wallace runs the ball on a punt return during Saturday's 41-14 regional final loss to New Boston in Mount Pleasant. (Evan Lewis, ETSN.fm)


Class 2A Division I Region II

New Boston 41, Daingerfield 14

Sam Parker Field, Mount Pleasant

New Boston -- 14 7 7 13 -- 41
Daingerfield -- 14 0 0 0 -- 14

First Quarter
DF -- Keynon Whetstone 72 kickoff return (Whetstone kick), 11:49
NB -- Keith Baldwin 5 run (Cole Pace kick), 6:24
NB -- Wil Teague fumble recovery in end zone (Pace kick), 0:36.7
DF -- Whetstone 99 kickoff return (Whetstone kick), 0:17.3
Second Quarter
NB -- Baldwin 23 run (Pace kick), 6:47
Third Quarter
NB -- Quinn Dedmon 6 run (Pace kick), 3:04
Fourth Quarter
NB -- Baldwin 12 run (kick failed), 10:56
NB -- Dedmon 3 run (Pace kick), 3:38

                               NB              DF
First Downs             18                4
Total yards              300             (-9)
Rushes-Yards        57-282       20-(-18)
Passing yards          21                9
Comp.-Att.-Int.        2-5-1          3-17-2
Fumbles-lost           1-0               2-1
Penalties-yards       3-24             3-33
Punts-average       3-35.3         4-23.6

RUSHING -- New Boston: Quinn Dedmon 29-130, Keith Baldwin 19-100, Aaron Conkleton 4-15, Jeff Gladney 4-21. Daingerfield: Cordarius Anderson 7-12, Keris Alexander 6-(-8), Keynon Whetstone 2-10, Tyrek Boyd 1-(-2), Keaten Key 1-3, Malik Higgins 1-(-7), TEAM 2-(-26).
PASSING -- New Boston: Aaron Conkleton 1-4-1 8, Quinn Dedmon 1-1-0 13. Daingerfield: Keris Alexander 1-12-1 10, Malik Higgins 2-5-1 (-1).
RECEIVING -- New Boston: Gladney 1-8, Juwaun Johnson 1-13. Daingerfield: Denzel Mims 1-10, Cordarius Anderson 1-(-4), Keynon Whetstone 1-3.