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New Boston’s 3,000-Yard Rusher Damien Haskins Leads Lions Into Rematch With Perennial Power Daingerfield

By now, most are aware of the season New Boston senior running back Damien Haskins is having.

But is there more to the Oregon State commit than his 3,059 yards and 51 touchdowns?

“He’s always got a smile on his face,” New Boston coach Rick Barker said. “He’s very articulate, he takes care of his business. He’s a leader and he leads by example. He’s always on time, he’s the kind of player you want because you’re never going to have a problem with him. He’s a very humble kid, he’s not selfish by any stretch.”

Haskins may not be selfish, but the New Boston coaching staff isn’t shy about getting him the ball. He has 255 of the team’s 441 rushing attempts and has scored 51 of the Lions’ 66 touchdowns.

“There’s no secret about what we do,” Barker said. “We’re an I-team and like most I-teams, the running back’s going to get a lot of carries.”

A commitment that strong to just one player requires a significant sacrifice from the other offensive players.

“Receivers usually want to split out and get the ball, but we don’t throw it very often, but they do a great job of blocking on the edge,” Barker said. “Our fullback never gets the ball, he’s like a glorified lineman back there. Without those guys, Damien wouldn’t have the year he’s having.”

Haskins rushed for 228 yards on 40 carries last week against Pottsboro. He only scored one touchdown, but it was the game-winner midway through the fourth quarter.

“Everybody comes up with something a little different, a scheme on how to stop him,” Barker said. “We’ve seen some crazy lineups as far as where they line up with their defensive front. Our scheme is a zone scheme most of the time, and we try to align our best people against their worst people. If we need to bump out of our formation, we’ll do that.”

New Boston faces District 8-2A Division I rival Daingerfield (10-3) in Mount Pleasant on Friday night in the Class 2A Division I Region II final, a rematch from New Boston’s 38-37 win on Oct. 5.

Haskins ran for 393 yards and five touchdowns in that one.

“We won by a point; it was a wild game,” Barker said of the regular-season matchup. “They threw it over the top of us and we ran in through them. We’ve played them a bunch of times over the last three years. It will be a whale of a ballgame. You’ve got the two top programs in 2A, in my opinion, right here.”

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