Turnovers Sabotage Daingerfield’s Title Hopes in 38-20 Loss to Cameron Yoe
ARLINGTON -- The yardage battle was close. Time of possession? Relatively close. Third-down conversions? Same story.
Turnovers? Different story.
Daingerfield committed five turnovers and Cameron Yoe suffered none. The Tigers' first two led to an early 14-point deficit, and they never recovered in a 38-20 Class 2A Division I championship loss at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Yoe (15-0) avenged a 33-27 loss to Daingerfield in the 2010 2A Division I title game to win its second state championship in school history. Daingerfield, which made its ninth title game appearance, fell to 6-3 in championship games.
The first six minutes were disastrous for Daingerfield. An interception inside its own 10-yard line led to Daingerfield falling behind 7-0 on Zach Felts' nine-yard touchdown catch. Yoe defensive tackle Edgar Luna fell on a fumble punt snap in the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 6:15 left in the first quarter.
That, combined with a decided field position edge, helped the Yoemen jump to a 28-0 lead less than 2 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
"Any ball game you have five turnovers, that hurts you. We can look back on it and wish they weren't there, but they were there," said Daingerfield coach Aric Sardinea, who rejected the notion that his Tigers were nervous. "The first (interception), we just didn't get the ball out far enough. He threw it in the right area. You can say it's nerves, but I'm not gonna say it's nerves. The punter, he took his eyes off the ball. That happened earlier in the year, but it wasn't nerves, either. ... A lot of times when you try so hard, you make those mistakes. I don't attribute that to nerves."
"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. We're a state championship community. It's in their bloodlines. It just runs through Daingerfield, so I'm not gonna ever tell my kids they're nervous. We just missed a few opportunities."
Yoe's first three touchdowns came on a nine-yard drive, a fumble recovery in the end zone, and a 31-yard drive, proving the importance of the Yoemen's field position advantage.
Yoe picked off Daingerfield's Keris Alexander three times and recovered two of the three fumbles the Tigers put on the ground. After Edwin Mims left the game with an ankle injury, Jalen White picked off Alexander in the end zone to kill a Daingerfield drive trailing 38-20 with about three minutes left. Daingerfield got the ball back, but another interception, this one by Defensive Most Valuable Player Somari Wright, punctuated the Yoemen's five-takeaway defensive performance.
Wright, a junior linebacker who flew around the field the entire game, had a game-high 14 tackles, including two for loss, to accompany his interception.
Daingerfield went to Mims at quarterback for most of the game, and the senior playmaker kept the Tigers somewhat in the game in the second half along with senior Shawn Hooks. Mims completed 13 of 19 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 13 times for 64 yards. Hooks caught a game-high 10 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, which cut Yoe's lead to 35-20 in the fourth quarter. Hooks also had Daingerfield's first touchdown, a 13-yard run that trimmed the deficit to 28-7 in the second.
Daingerfield suffered a critical turnover when Mims was stripped in the red zone on the Tigers' first possession of the second half. Instead of potentially cutting the Yoe lead to 28-14, the ball bounced into the end zone, where Yoe recovered it for a touchback.
Daingerfield's most successful offensive possessions came when the Tigers were forced to play catch-up down 35-7. Mims frequently found Hooks and Tykeema Wilson, who caught six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, in man coverage to cut Yoe's lead to 35-20 before the Yoemen iced the game with the late interceptions.
"We felt like we had to go back and get the ball in Edwin's hands. ... They were doing some things defensively that took away some of our other kids, so we had to try to take what they were giving us," Sardinea said. "We did that a little bit in the second half, not as much in the first half.
"They did take away our quick game, and if you take away our quick game, it can compress some things."
Yoe did that well. The Yoemen pressed Daingefield early and often, completely disrupting the Tigers' screen game by blowing up perimeter blocks.
Yoe senior running back Keaton Denio was named Offensive MVP with 22 carries for 163 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jason Kopriva had 171 yards and two touchdown on 19-for-29 passing. Aaron Sims led Yoe with five catches for 68 yards. Felts had six offensive touches for 57 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving).
Yoe outgained Daingerfield 367-329 and had a 26:56-21:04 advantage in time of possession.
With those numbers relatively even, it was easy to see the difference the turnovers made.
"That put us in a bind early in the game when you give them two touchdowns that quick," Sardinea said. "We knew what they were going to do, but we just weren't executing and those turnovers got to us early."
Class 2A Division I
Cameron Yoe 38, Daingerfield 20
Cowboys Stadium, Arlington
Cameron Yoe -- 21 7 7 3 -- 38
Daingerfield -- 0 7 6 7 -- 20
YOE -- Zach Felts 9 pass from Jason Kopriva (Michael Evan kick) -- 8:18
YOE -- Edgar Luna 0 fumble recovery (Evan kick) -- 6:15
YOE -- Keaton Denio 31 run (Evan kick) -- 0:51
YOE -- Colton Shuffield 14 pass from Kopriva (Evan kick) -- 9:36
DAI -- Shawn Hooks 13 run (Carlos Macias kick) -- 7:03
YOE -- Felts 14 run (Evan kick) -- 1:58
DAI - Hooks 10 pass from Edwin Mims (pass failed) -- 0:00
DAI -- Tykeema Wilson 10 pass from Mims (Macias kick) -- 8:32
YOE -- Evan 42 field goal -- 5:28
First downs 17 15
Total yards 367 329
Rushes-Yards 35-196 25-84
Pass yards 171 245
Comp.-Att.-Int. 19-29-0 18-33-3
Penalties-Yards 11-65 3-13
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2
Punts-Avg. 7-36.3 6-43.2