After more than 100 years of football having been played in Hanford, a pair of firsts came in 2015.
乐动体育As a team, Hanford won the 4AA state championship, the first in any boys sport in school history.
And senior Joseph McDaniel put up numbers that surpassed every running back that preceded him.
乐动体育McDaniel is the Sentinel’s 2015 football Player of the Year.
One of many standouts on Hanford’s state championship team, McDaniel’s name, however, will go down in the record books.
McDaniel rushed for a school-record 2,169 yards (25 touchdowns), becoming the first Bullpup to surpass 2,000 yards in a season.
乐动体育And the list of those who tried include the likes of Shawn Wills, who went on to star at UCLA; Avery Horn (signed with Michigan out of high school); and Jewerl Thomas, a future NFL player.
“He was our rock,” said Hanford head coach Josh Young. “And a lot of people said ‘yeah, he broke the school rushing record, but he did it in 15 games.’ But when he broke the record, he did it in less carries than Shawn had.”
In 2015, the Bullpups used a quicker pace on offense with McDaniel running stronger as games went on with the Bullpups getting it done in the air and on the ground, forcing opposing teams to be unable to focus on one aspect of Hanford’s offense.
“Our motors were never off,” McDaniel said. “Our guys wore people down. Holes started to open up.”
乐动体育Not only was McDaniel’s season total a school record, that number alone would have been good enough to give him the third most career rushing yards in school history.
It was better than the 2,005 yard Thomas had in three seasons at Hanford High before playing with the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.
乐动体育McDaniel was the West Yosemite League’s offensive Player of the Year while also playing linebacker for the Bullpups tallying 53 tackles (25 solo).
乐动体育In Hanford’s 15 games, McDaniel rushed for at least 100 yards in 11 games, including all five playoff games. He ran for a career-best 312 yards against Hanford West, 190 yards in the 4AA NorCal championship.
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乐动体育McDaniel’s career total of 4,412 was second to only Wills’ 4,608 in school history.
乐动体育“I wanted to hit that 2,000 mark,” McDaniel said. “I wanted to win state.”
乐动体育McDaniel did both.
乐动体育As a junior, McDaniel helped the Bullpups to their first Section title in school history. Following that year, the California Interscholastic Federation expanded the state championships from five to 12 divisions.
After Hanford was selected to play in the state playoffs in 2014, all they had to do was keep winning in 2015.
“It gave us a lot of motivation,” McDaniel said. “We knew we’d have a chance to be able to play with each other for a few more weeks.”
Against Bonita Vista in the state championship game, McDaniel would run head-to-head against Greg Bell, the Barons’ running back who had committed to San Diego State.
McDaniel helped hold Bell to just 133 yards on 33 carries with more than half of those yards coming on one run late in the game.
“He’s so soft spoken but he plays physical,” Young said. “That showed in the championship game. With how the weather was, we knew we’d give him the ball alot and he was up for the challenge.”
McDaniel had 163 yards for the game.
More importantly, the Bullpups led on the scoreboard at the end 33-21.
乐动体育“I knew I had to make sure my name ended above his,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel enjoyed the run the team made, that included a victory parade through downtown.
“All the support and how many people would come up to you was crazy,” McDaniel said. “It was fun to be apart of it.”
And as for finishing as one of the best backs in Hanford history?
“I was honored to get in that position,” McDaniel said. “I have to thank my line for getting me there.”
The reporter can be reached at 583-2431 or email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @jsbutters.