With an impeccable performance from none other than senior Deandre Hopkins coupled with 15 yard gaining carries from Brandon Anderson, the Lions were on a roll.
Pendleton’s passing game looked weak as they never managed much more than a few complete passes and offered two interceptions for the able hands of senior standout Deandre Hopkins.
An up-the-middle running game proved to render little more for the Bulldogs, who were stopped by a mass of talented defense from Daniel.
Had Pendleton made fewer key mistakes they might have had a chance as they had a collection of shining moments here and there still never being able to put it all together.
As is typical in Lion country, Daniel didn’t seem to have that problem, letting their key players speak for themselves and letting the defense work.
The first of four Lion touchdowns began later in the first half when Hopkins found the open hole just in time to save junior Quarterback Kolton Corn from a sac as he passed the ball to Hopkins, who then managed a 25-yard touchdown run. Kicker David Gammons did not disappoint with his extra point kick to put the Lions at 7-0 in the first half.
Hopkins quickly recovered the football for Daniel with his first of two interceptions giving the Lions more opportunities to score. However, their second successful attempt wouldn’t come until there were only 47 seconds remaining in the half.
A fumble from Pendleton would lead to an immediate recovery by senior left back Quan Benson at the Bulldog 23 for a turnover.
Daniel wasted no time as Tevin Robinson tossed a pass right over the heads of unsuspecting Bulldog defense and into the hands of J.P Hill at the 15. Hill proceeded to run it in for a 23-yard touchdown followed by another good extra point by Gammons, leaving the Lions up 14-0 at the half.
The second half would be all about Brandon Anderson, who accrued 83 of his total 98 yards rushing and topped them off with a 45-yard touchdown off of a pass from Corn. The touchdown would put the Lions at 21-0 and left all hopes of a Bulldog comeback looking bleak.
Remarkably, Anderson rushed almost as many yards individually as Pendleton did as a whole, with their total at 106 for the game.
To make matters worse for Pendleton, Hopkins would add insult to injury with the final touchdown for Daniel off of a Pendleton punt.
After catching the punt at the Daniel 44, there was simply nothing stopping him. While defender after defender tried to wrangle the elusive Hopkins, he was already at the 5 before anyone could snag a hold strong enough to stop him.
What to most might seem impossible, Hopkins said he believes is do-able with focus and knowledge of his surroundings.
“Making plays like that is all about field awareness, knowing where the ball is and being ready to receive it,” he said. “I have one goal, and that’s to score.”
The touchdown would improve the gap to 28-0, and with thanks given to a strong Lion defense for keeping the Bulldogs at bay for the duration of the game, Hopkins himself gave much credit to his defense as did Head Coach Randy Robinson.
“I absolutely give credit to the defense,” Hopkins said of the win over Pendleton. “They shut down Pendleton who can run the ball both ways. We were able to play them on both ends tonight which gave us a lot of success.”
Hopkins wasn’t the only one impressed with the defense. Robinson seemed altogether at peace with the win and offered his praise with ease.
“Defense is what we hang our hats on, we wanted some three and outs to stop the run and give us more shots on offense,” Robinson said. “Overall I am pretty pleased tonight.”
Daniel will head into region competition next Friday as they travel to Woodmont to face the Wildcats. Woodmont comes into region competition with a 0-5 record while Daniel improves to 5-0. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m..