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July 8, 2013

Daniel earn inaugural Boys’ Athlete of the Year

Charlestown senior gets honor with accomplishments in football, basketball

CHARLESTOWN — When you ask any diehard Charlestown High School sports fan who the best athletes in their school’s history are, they can reel off an impressive list.

Those names include Steve Hamilton, Abby Conklin, Chad Gilbert, Kristin Mattox and B.J. Steele.

Now, Aaron Daniel is a part of that list.

During his senior year in 2012-13, Daniel solidified himself as one of the best players in the history of Charlestown football and then helped the Pirates’ boys’ basketball team post a winning record.

The contributions Daniel made to both teams have earned him the News and Tribune’s inaugural Boys’ Athlete of the Year honor.

A voting panel of area coaches, athletic directors, media members and fans selected Daniel from a list of 14 candidates. To be eligible for the honor, the student-athlete must have played at least two sports and been on a News and Tribune All-Area team in at least one sport.

“It’s absolutely well-deserved,” Charlestown boys’ basketball coach Sean Smith said. “Aaron accomplished so much last season, especially in football but in basketball as well. He’s the closest thing to the total package we have at Charlestown. He never gets caught in the moment. He never gets rattled.”

Daniel was grateful to have received the honor against so many worthy area male athletes.

“It’s incredible,” Daniel said in a recent phone interview. “There are a lot of great athletes in the area. There are lots of great baseball and basketball players in the area, so it’s an honor to have this.”

Daniel gained 3,841 total yards as the Pirates’ starting quarterback last season. He accumulated a school-record 2,075 passing yards and 1,766 rushing yards. Along with the yardage, Daniel was a part of 68 touchdowns, with a school-record 36 coming through the air and a school-record 32 on the ground.

Daniel’s production and leadership enabled Charlestown to have one of its best seasons ever. The Pirates finished the regular season undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press Class 3A poll.

Charlestown won the outright Mid-Southern Conference championship and the Class 3A Sectional 23 title. But the Pirates’ state championship quest ended in the Class 3A regional at Dutch Reis Field, as Charlestown lost a heartbreaking, yet thrilling battle against Gibson Southern, 57-49. The Pirates finished the 2012 season with a 12-1 record.

Daniel won the News and Tribune Area Player of the Year honor and was named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 All-State team.

Despite falling in the regional, Daniel was proud of his team’s accomplishments last year.

“It was a great season. We had a very good team,” Daniel said. “It was just a great time to be there.”

Daniel concluded his Charlestown football career owning 18 school records. That included the program’s all-time passing record (5,637 yards), the career rushing mark (4,506) and the all-time touchdown record (86). Daniel gained 10,143 total yards in his high school career.

Charlestown football coach Jason Hawkins was happy to see his star player receive the Boys’ Athlete of the Year award.

“I think it’s a great honor for him to win. It shows what he accomplished in his career,” Hawkins said.

Along with fellow senior Chris Braun, Daniel led the Pirates’ boys’ basketball team to an 11-10 overall record and a 5-4 MSC mark. Daniel averaged 16.2 points per game and led the team in assists (108). He made the News and Tribune All-Area third team and was selected the team’s top defensive player for the third consecutive season.

“Aaron is one of those kids that doesn’t get too high or too low,” Smith said. “He stays focused. He’s an intelligent young man and he’s coachable. He’s going to give you 100 percent. Everything he earns, he deserves. He’s a great representative in all the aspects of Charlestown High School.”

Whether he was on the gridiron or the hardwood, Daniel says he tried to lead his teammates by example.

“I just go hard in practice and in drills,” Daniel said. “I just tried to show the guys how things should be done.”

Hawkins concurs that Daniel leads by letting his actions do the talking in anything he does.

“Aaron is a leader by example on how he performed on the field, the weight room and in the classroom,” Hawkins said.

In the fall, Daniel will attend Indiana University in Bloomington and be a preferred walk-on on the Hoosiers’ football team. Daniel is expected to be a safety at IU and has prepared for his freshman season by adding 20 pounds of muscle to his frame.

Even though the odds are against Daniel as far as getting any playing time with the Hoosiers, Hawkins says Daniel will take that as a challenge and work hard to get onto the field.

“Aaron came into Charlestown never playing quarterback and he did that for four years,” Hawkins said. “He’ll do whatever it takes. He’ll do whatever the coaches ask him to do. He’s got a great opportunity.”

Smith agrees.

“I’m not a football guy, but I know this — he’s an ultra-competitive kid,” Smith said. “He’ll give 100 percent on and off the field and be a contributor to the Indiana Hoosiers’ football program.”




* News and Tribune Area Player of the Year

* Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 All-State team

* School-record 2,075 passing yards

* 1,766 rushing yards

* School-record 36 passing touchdowns

* School-record 32 rushing touchdowns

* 18 school records at conclusion of high school career



* News and Tribune All-Area third team

* First on team in assists (108)

* Second on team in scoring at 16.2 points per game

* Second on team in rebounds (155)

* Top defensive player award for third consecutive season

* News and Tribune Area Player of the Year

* Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 All-State team

* School-record 2,075 passing yards

* 1,766 rushing yards

* School-record 36 passing touchdowns

* School-record 32 rushing touchdowns

* 18 school records at conclusion of high school career

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