By Matthew Girard
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON — Shoemaker and Belton combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense in the Tigers’ 47-45 win against the Grey Wolves at Tiger Field on Friday night.
What was more amazing was that Shoemaker running back Dion Demers and Belton running back Keith Daniels combined for 681 of those yards on the ground, with Daniels shattering the Tigers’ single-game school rushing record.
With Belton’s Khiry Robinson out of the lineup, Daniels was the Tigers’ feature back and the junior literally took the ball and ran with it for 375 yards on 37 carries and three scores. Ramonce Taylor held the previous school record with 347 yards as a junior in 2003.
Daniels said he just did what coach Rodney Southern told him to do.
“Coach just said that I was going to get a lot of carries, and the offensive line and I did something with those carries,” Daniels said.
Although the Grey Wolves (1-5, 0-2 13-5A) lost their fifth consecutive game, Demers almost single-handedly won the game for Shoemaker by rushing for 306 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Quarterback Andre Smith also had a big night on the ground with 221 yards on 20 carries and two scores.
Shoemaker coach Ken Gray said both players had exceptional games.
“Dion and Andre both had good nights,” Gray said. “Dion definitely had a career night.”
From the beginning of the game it was clear Demers and Daniels were going to be key players for their respective teams. By the time Shoemaker jumped out to a 23-14 lead at the end of the half, Daniels had rushed for 127 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown, while Demers had 116 yards on just eight carries.
Daniels was the first of the two backs to hit the 300-yard mark early in the fourth quarter. Demers then broke the 300-yard barrier with 3:59 left in the game with a 35-yard touchdown that put Shoemaker ahead 45-44 after a two-point conversion.
Daniels said he didn’t know how many yards he had rushed for.
“I didn’t have any idea,” Daniels said. “I didn’t know how many yards I had, I was just running.”
Belton offensive lineman Jake Godin, who got into the rushing mix with a 7-yard rumble after picking up a Daniels fumble in the first half, said the Tigers (3-3, 1-1) were just looking for a win no matter what.
“As a whole, we (the offensive line) worked our butts off this week,” Godin said. “We had a 2-3 record coming in and we were hungry for district. We were 0-1 in district and we didn’t want to go 0-2, so we came out and fought our hearts out, and our running back got it done behind us.”
The Tigers went to the air just once in the game — which was a 20-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Cole Dominguez to Jarrett Crowell in the second quarter — but Southern said it was easy to stick with the running game.
“We didn’t come in with the intention of getting 400 yards rushing, but if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Southern said.
Despite not knowing he set the school record, Daniels said getting the record wouldn’t have meant anything without the win.
“It makes it so much sweeter,” Daniels said. “With or without the record, winning is sweet.”
Contact Matthew Girard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569.