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Posted August 27, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

Judges senior plans to cut comedy act

Handley's Delroy McDaniel
Handley's Delroy McDaniel gives a thumbs up to his upcoming season. All joking aside, McDaniel has taken a serious approach to his senior year. Dennis Grundman/Daily

Handley's Delroy McDaniel gains yardage
Handley's Delroy McDaniel gains yardage during last season's victory against Skyline. Andrew Thayer/Daily file

By Tommy Keeler Jr. - tkeeler@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Delroy McDaniel is going to be more serious this season.

Known for being goofy and joking around with his teammates, McDaniel has decided this season he will cut back on the comedy.

"I'm trying to be more serious now," McDaniel said. "It's my senior year now, so I have to step up as a leader. It's not joke time."

That doesn't mean that McDaniel won't still goof around or make his teammates laugh from time to time. After a recent practice, McDaniel came out of the locker room singing, bringing a smile to Handley coach Tony Rayburn's face.

McDaniel can't stop joking around altogether; it's just part of his personality.

"It doesn't really matter where I'm at," McDaniel said. "I'm just always loose, just trying to have a good time, make people laugh. Whether I'm in the classroom or on the field, or just hanging out, I like to bring the happiness into the room.

"If you see somebody down, they're having a bad day and then you bring them up. That makes your day better just to know that you could bring them up."

Rayburn said he's noticed McDaniel being more of a leader this year. While McDaniel still likes to joke around, he has a better understanding of when to do it and when not to.

On the field, McDaniel leads by example as well as vocally. Last year was a breakthrough season for McDaniel.

He started the season at fullback, but when Jeremiah Wilson -- who now plays for the University of Maryland -- went down with a left knee injury, McDaniel moved to tailback and the team didn't miss a beat.

McDaniel ran for 565 yards on 112 carries and had two touchdowns for the Judges last year.

"I just had to learn what he had to learn," McDaniel said. "I was very surprised. It boosted my confidence up a lot. It made me see I could help my team in many ways besides just playing fullback."

When asked about having to fill Wilson's shoes, McDaniel couldn't help but joke about it.

"Jeremiah, he's like a really good back," McDaniel said. "And you can't really fulfill those shoes; you just hope to fit them. And we wear a different shoe size, so I didn't really think I was going to fit them."

McDaniel is also a factor on defense, and was a starting linebacker last year. He finished with 71 tackles and three sacks.

McDaniel said he really enjoys playing on defense.

"It's easy because all you gotta do is hit," McDaniel said. "Having a bad day at school or at home and you come to defense ... you're just ready to hit. Everybody has pads on so it's OK, nobody really gets hurt. And you really forget about what was bothering you. It's like a stress reliever."

Last season, McDaniel had a little extra motivation and even a real appreciation for playing sports. He missed his sophomore year due to poor grades.

McDaniel said it was a tough experience for him, but he learned from it.

"I had a lot of people on my case that helped me get to where I am now," McDaniel said. "They were disappointed in me, and I wanted to make sure I repaid them by playing in my junior year along with my senior year.

"I didn't like to go [to watch games in my sophomore year] because I'd get a lot of lip. It was tough to watch because I missed the game and hanging out with my friends, because they were always doing football while I was home doing nothing."

This season, McDaniel will once again start at both tailback and linebacker.

With a season of experience under his belt, McDaniel is more confident and ready for another big year.

One thing that comes easy for McDaniel is leading the team. McDaniel is a captain and Rayburn said he is a good influence on his teammates.

"He's always positive," Rayburn said. "Whatever's going on, he's always a positive. He has a positive effect on his teammates."

Handley went undefeated in the regular season last year.

The Judges finished 12-1, losing in the Group AA Division 3 state semifinals to Bruton.

The Judges lost many key players, which will make getting back to states an even bigger challenge for the team.

McDaniel said he just wants his team to go as far as it can again this season.

"It was a blessing to think we made it that far," McDaniel said of last season. "A lot of people didn't think we'd make it that far and we proved a lot of people wrong.

"That's what we want to do this year."

McDaniel knows the Judges will have to step up if they are going to have a chance of getting back to states, and he loves playing with the teammates he has.

"I like them. They're cool kids," McDaniel said. "I've been going to school with them since middle school. We've had our good times and our bad times. But we've still stuck together as if we were a big happy family -- the Brady Bunch, extended version."

Rayburn
Rayburn

BREAKING DOWN THE JUDGES

    Coach: Tony Rayburn (ninth year, 69-21)
    League: Group AA Northwestern District
    Offense/Defense: I, multiple/50
    Key returnees: OL/DL Derek Dowrey, WR/DB Trae Peck, DB Jaivon Wilson, RB/LB Delroy McDaniel, LB Dexter Sloane, DB Daquanta Pannell, LB Ryan Crawford
    Key losses: RB/DB Jeremiah Wilson, RB/LB Leonard Grant, DB/WR David Carter, QB/DB Geremi Long, OL/DL Elijah Washington, OL/DL Warren Pink, WR/DB Kenny Griffin, OL/DL Mason Gray

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