DHS’s James is Mr. Gridiron

Published 6:21 am Friday, December 24, 2010

Whether it is for his importance to his team, his performance during his senior year or the totality of his high school career, DaMarcus James is once again The Demopolis Times’ Mr. Gridiron.

In a year where no fewer than four schools in the county produced strong candidates for the annual title, James takes the honor rather easily.

He rushed for 1,828 yards and 19 touchdowns on 209 carries. He also caught a touchdown and threw for a score in the only pass attempt of his career. He also made a few cameo appearances on defense, recording a sack and a fumble from a linebacker spot.

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But that statistics do little to tell of why James is indicative of everything the the Mr. Gridiron award represents.

To understand that, you must first turn to the Tigers’ week nine game against Selma. On his first four carries of the night James tallied 68 yards and appeared well on his way to repeating the 300-yard performance he had against Central-Tuscaloosa earlier in the year.

Then he suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter.

James sat until the third quarter. He hobbled onto the field and ran the ball four more times for 20 yards and returned to the sideline.

Without him, Demopolis staggered to a 21-14 win.

The following week against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, the Tigers did nothing short of get blown out. But their one touchdown drive of the game started when James carried the ball one time for eight yards. A play that seems rather insignificant on the stat sheet, the carry made

all the difference in the world to Demopolis. The entire feel of the Tiger sideline changed when James stepped onto the field. An injured James popped a would-be tackler and rumbled eight yards. The sideline erupted. The swagger returned. The Tigers scored.

Nowhere else in the county did one player mean more to his team than DaMarcus James. He not only led his team statistically, but he was the unquestioned emotional leader of Demopolis football. And when he is gone, the Tigers will miss far more than his 6,949 yards and 68 career touchdowns on 889 carries. They will miss his heart, determination and absolute refusal to accept failure as an option.