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Floyd County Sports

November 23, 2012

H.S. FOOTBALL: Daniel’s amazing career ends with Player of Year honor

CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown quarterback Aaron Daniel’s four-year numbers are astounding: 10,143 yards of total offense, 155 total touchdowns.

His senior year saw Daniel rush for 1,766 yards and 32 scores and throw for another 2,075 yards and 36 touchdowns. That’s nearly 4,000 yards and 68 combined scores.

Simply phenomenal.

“I’m not sure anyone could ever reach [those numbers again],” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins said.

“He was hands down the best player on the field,” Clarksville coach Steve Cooley said. “He’s an unbelievable talent. He’s extremely hard to coach against just because he’s so athletic. He was a great high school football player, one of the best I’ve ever coached against.”

Cooley — like every other coach who had to game plan against Daniel — will be happy to see him move on to the next level.

“I’m going to make sure he picks up his diploma in May,” Cooley joked.

In three years as the starting quarterback at Charlestown, Daniel’s teams went 28-8. The Pirates won a pair of Mid-Southern Conference championships, played in two sectional title games and they won their first sectional crown since 1996 during this year’s 12-1 campaign.

“It’s been a great experience to be with these kids and Aaron’s been the leader of them,” Hawkins said. “To watch him grown, it’s been a great three and a half years. I hope I’ll get to coach someone as good as Aaron again, but I’m not sure I will.”

Led by a strong defense with nearly everyone returning, Charlestown is expected to be very good again in 2013. The Pirates may be considered MSC and sectional favorites again. But it won’t be easy without the luxury of Daniel under center.

“Next year, I’m going to find out how good a coach I am,” Hawkins said. “Aaron’s not going to be around to bail me out.”

As Daniel moves on to the hardwood for Pirate basketball and on to college — potentially as a Division I defensive back or a smaller school quarterback — he won’t be just remembered as a football player.

Hawkins said he will remember Daniel as much for what he brings off the field as he did as a football player.

“When my son Caleb grows up, I want him to be just like Aaron Daniel,” Hawkins said. “Not just a great football player, but a great student who works hard and has done everything I’ve ever asked of him. He does things in the community and he cares about kids.”

Following Charlestown’s only loss of the season, in which the Pirates led 49-14 before falling to Gibson Southern 57-49 in the regional, Daniel certainly didn’t feel like engaging with fans.

As he walked out of the stadium, one young heartbroken Pirates fan called out Daniel’s name. Daniel took the time to talk with him and give him a huge.

“Of course Aaron didn’t feel like doing that,” Hawkins said. “But that kid will remember that the rest of his life. It goes to show you what kind of kid [Daniel] is.”

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