[By Johnny Green, Special to ETSN.fm]

NEW BOSTON — It's hard to believe New Boston and Daingerfield could have topped last year's game won by the Tigers in overtime.

But they did.

Led by hard-charging tailback Damien Haskins' career-best 393 yards rushing and five touchdowns, the state-ranked Lions still had to get a fourth-quarter extra point from Phillip Pyle to make the difference in New Boston's 38-37 victory Friday night.

The winning touchdown—a 41-yard Haskins bolt through the right side with 7:15 left in the game—was not near the end of the game. The Lions appeared to have Daingerfield stopped after the kickoff but were flagged for roughing the kicker, giving the Tigers and strong-armed quarterback Keris Alexander a second chance.

Even a Dedric Draggoo fumble recovery at the Lions 45 didn't clinch the Lions' win. After forcing a punt, the Tigers moved from their own 23 to the New Boston 39 before Alexander appeared to hook up with wideout Shawn Hooks for their third touchdown connection of the game, but Daingerfield was penalized for a chop block, and the Tigers never threatened again.

Haskins was magnificent, carrying the ball 37 times and scoring on runs of 20, 51, 45, 51 and 41 yards. He  also had touchdown runs of 56 and 63 yards wiped out by penalties or he would have been over 500 yards rushing.

"Damien was really ready to play tonight," said Lions coach Rick Barker. "I've never seen him run like  that. And we needed  him to do that because we really made some dumb plays on pass defense. We didn't think they could  run the ball, and they didn't after we adjusted to what they were doing early. We knew they wanted to pass, but we had a lot of breakdowns in our secondary."

Alexander was the story for Daingerfield (3-3, 0-1 District 8-2A), completing 15 of 32 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns, including a 16-yarder to fullback Justin Taylor with 11 minutes left in the game. That was followed by Corarius Anderson's 47-yard TD run after a Lion fumble. That score put the Tigers ahead with  9:03 left in the game.

But the Lions broke through to block  PAT kicks after both touchdowns, setting up Pyle to kick the game-winner. New Boston missed three extra points of its own.

The first half consisted of big plays from both teams—primarily on the legs of Haskins and the arm of Alexander.

Haskins ran for 179 yards—including touchdowns of 20, 51 and 45 yards—on 17 carries. He had another TD of 56 yards negated by a holding penalty.

Alexander completed only six of 16 pass attempts, but they went for 216 yards and three TDs, including catches of 29 and 67 yards by Shawn Hooks and 61 yards by Jonathan Barber.

Barber's score came with only 1:13 left in the second quarter and one play after Haskins' 45-yard scoring jaunt off a pitchout around the right side. However, the Lions missed the second of three PAT kicks, leaving them with a 25-17 lead. That enabled the Tigers to tie the game on Alexander's heave to a wide-open Barber over the middle and a two-point run by Ramius Wallace.

Daingerfield's only lead came on Carlos Macias' 26-yard field goal after Mims had moved the Tigers downfield after the opening kickoff. Running out of the Wildcat formation, Mims for 38 yards on his first four carries, then nabbing a 30-yard pass from Alexander to the Lions' six.

But NB's defense stiffened, holding Mims to minus-15 yards on his next three carries, and the Tigers decided to change their game plan with Alexander stepping to the forefront.

However, before his big plays Alexander turned the game in favor of the Lions when he threw under pressure from his own end zone, and Reginald Scales intercepted at the  one and stepped over the goal line. Later in the period, the Lions capitalized on a 7-yard Macias punt, Haskins scoring from the 20 to complete a four-play, 32-yard drive.

But the Tigers went 75 yards in eight plays after the kickoff with Hooks snagging his first TD pass. It took the Lions only half as many plays to go 75 yards after the ensuing kickoff with Haskins romping 45 yards for the score with 7:24 left in the pass.

Even after Haskins' 56-yard TD run was called back, the Lions got a big play after the penalty when Aaron Conkleton hit tight end Justin Johnson, who made a fingertip catch and turned it into a 43-yard gain to the Tigers 23.

But the Daingerfield defense threw the Lions for losses on four consecutive plays,  setting up Hooks' 67-yarder for a score that made it 19-17 with 2:14 remaining.

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