Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Playmaking defensive end Daeshon Hall is Lancaster's difference-maker
LANCASTER — Chris Gilbert and his Lancaster coaching staff had to figure out a way to win without Daeshon Hall.
It was one of the questions that dominated their preseason meetings last summer.
Hall, a defensive end, accounted for 11 sacks in 2011.
He had planned to play only one season in Lancaster after moving from the state of Washington with his brother and mother, who received a job opportunity in the area. After that year, he intended to move back to Washington, where he has friends and family.
He spent the summer there and even backed out of his commitment to Texas and pledged to Washington.
But the 6-6, 230 pound Hall showed up during Lancaster’s first week of practice, much to Gilbert’s delight.
“Now we’ve got a chance for some rings,” Gilbert said of that moment. “He’s that much of a difference-maker.”
Of his decision to stay, Hall said he had “business to finish” in Lancaster. He’d developed close relationships with coaches and players that he didn’t want to abandon, and he believed Lancaster would be a state contender this season.
He was right.
Lancaster will have its chance for a Class 4A Division II state title against Cedar Park at 8 p.m. Friday at Cowboys Stadium.
The season has been nothing short of remarkable for Hall and the Lancaster Tigers, who won a program-best 14 games and will play for their first state title.
Hall, a senior, has tallied 83 tackles, including 24 for loss, 18 sacks and 20 quarterback pressures. He’s also forced two fumbles, broken up four passes and blocked three kicks.
He was named The Associated Press 4A defensive player of the year Wednesday.
Hall impacts most plays, including the ones on which he doesn’t record a tackle or a sack.
“If I’m a quarterback,” Gilbert said, “and my back was to him, I’m not comfortable. I’m not. If I hold it too long, he’s going to hit me square in the back and I’m going to fumble. He makes you pull the trigger, probably before you’re ready.”
Lancaster has given up more than 21 points only once this season, and its defensive dominance during the last two rounds of the playoffs has been a sight to behold.
Mesquite Poteet, which was averaging 50 points in its three playoff wins, scored only 13 against Lancaster in the Region II final.
Wichita Falls Rider, Lancaster’s opponent in the state semifinals, failed to record a first down in two overtime periods last weekend.
“It was rocky in that first half, but we made a lot of adjustments,” Hall said. “After halftime we had a good game, and in overtime we turned it up to another level. People were making plays all over the field.”
Hall has become a versatile option. He moved to linebacker against Mansfield Summit and took over the game. Hall had multiple sacks and forced a fumble in the 48-17 win.
Hall has also become a viable tight end during the playoffs. He’s a capable blocker and has caught four passes for 73 yards and three touchdowns.
He was originally a basketball prospect and had started receiving recruiting interest when he decided to switch to football.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware visited Lancaster in November and spent some one-on-one time with Hall. He gave the senior a few pointers that Hall said he’s used in the playoffs.
If all goes according to plan, Hall will be using those same tips during his own NFL career. He said he dreams of playing on Sundays after college.
Hall certainly looks the part of an NFL prospect.
“I want to see the kid who is an NFL player if he’s not,” Lancaster defensive coordinator Jamal Adams said. “He has the motor, he has the work ethic and does all the right things. … You expect to hear his name for a long time to come.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.
IN THE KNOW DAESHON HALL
Position: Defensive end
Ht., wt.: 6-6, 230
College commitment: Washington
2012 stats: 83 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 18 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 4 pass break-ups, 3 blocked kicks
Notable: Class 4A AP all-state first team, defensive player of the year
Favorite NFL player: DeMarcus Ware
Friday’s Lancaster-Cedar Park game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest Plus at 8 p.m. In the Dallas area, you can find the game on:
Time Warner Cable
Ch. 685 (Ch. 685-1 HD)
Ch. 448 (Ch. 9518 HD)
Ch. 755 (Ch. 1755 HD)
Ch. 77 (Ch. 577 HD)