Tiger senior loves to play baseball
Sports: baseball, basketball, football
Weight: 170 pounds
Baseball positions: shortstop, pitcher
Football positions: wide receiver, safety
Basketball position: frontcourt
College: undecided (but has visited Xavier University and is looking at Marietta College and other schools)
Major: biology (pre-med)
Family: Richard and Barbara Danford; older brother Lucas (currently attending Marietta College), older sister Sofie (Southern Cal grad and working at Vet Clinic in Seattle, Wash.)
Question: You’ve actually played soccer?
Answer: (smiles): I played it all the way up until the fifth grade when I switched to football. I played like traveling soccer. Soccer was my whole sports life.
Q: Why’d you switch to football?
A: All the people in my elementary school, like Trent (Dawson) and Darnell (Kimbrough), they were all football players, so I just wanted to try it out. And, I ended up liking it.
Q: So, what is you favorite sport?
A: Baseball’s definitely my favorite. After the high school season, I spend my whole summer playing baseball. That’s what I love to do.
I’ve been playing since I was 7, I think.
I like football. It gives me a change of scenery, coming off the baseball season. I feel like football’s more team-oriented. It builds my ability to function with the team for all my other sports and have a positive attitude towards everything. Football’s definitely fun, but baseball’s my favorite.
Basketball’s a lot of fun, too. Basketball, I actually think…in the seventh grade, I thought about quitting baseball and just playing basketball all the time, because I thought that was my favorite sport. But then, once I got to high school, it all changed. I’ve just stayed with three sports my whole life. Each sport helps with all the other sports.
Q: In basketball, you like to mix it up with the big boys?
A: (Laughs) We don’t have a whole lot of height. I’ve been able to develop my skills underneath and use my strength to my advantage — and my quickness.
I just do whatever I need to do.
Q: Do you think you’d like to play baseball at the collegiate level?
A: My dad works at Marietta College, so I have a list of schools that I can get tuition exchange with. I’ve been looking at those schools. I want to play baseball in college.
Q: What kind of goals have you set in your senior year?
A: I really haven’t set any personal goals. But, for football, we definitely want to make the playoffs. Last year, we had the capability of making the playoffs. We just didn’t have the right mindset the whole year. So, that brought us down a little bit. This year, I definitely think this is our last chance, and we’re going to give it our all to make the playoffs.
Q: I think it all started with Marietta’s dramatic season opening win at Morgan?
A: We were missing a few guys for that game. But I think we showed a lot of character, that we weren’t going to give up in any games this year.
This season, we’ve shown that we’re not going to give up at all. In the St. Marys’ game, we were down 30-8 or something like that, and we fought back as hard as we could. We never gave up.
Q: Marietta’s at the midway point of the football season. Any thoughts about the rest of the season?
A: In these last five games, we’re going to have to have high energy every week.
(Pauses) I think one of the biggest goals actually for me this year in football is to beat Dover. I’ve never beaten Dover in my high school career ever in any sport.
If we can be a good defensive team, we can beat anybody. Our offense has so much chemistry. We all know what we need to do to win games.
Q: How about basketball goals?
A: In basketball, I think our main goal is to make it to the Convo (Ohio University Convocation Center). Last year, we lost to Fairfield Union in our second tournament game. That was heartbreaking.
Then, in baseball, we had a pretty good season last year, but we’ll be looking to go farther. We’d like to go to the state tournament.
Q: How about some career highlights?
A: (Smiles) Last year, when we beat Parkersburg (in football), that was just an awesome win. And, doing what we did this year to them (49-13 win last Friday night) was even better.
In my sophomore year, we should’ve beat Warren in football, but we let the game slip away from us. But beating Warren twice in a row since then has been pretty awesome.
In basketball, we had a tough time competing in the ECOL (East Central Ohio League) at first, but last year, we started beating some of those bigger teams. So, that’s been kind of a highlight.
And, in baseball, last year, we beat Warren three times. And, we won the Washington County Tournament. We got to play at OU in the tournament, and Trent (Dawson) threw a great game. We just couldn’t get enough hits together to win that game. The support we had from the community was great, that whole ride.
This football season, it’s been great, and I think they’ll continue coming, because they know that we don’t want to lose.
Q: How about yourself? Does any particular game stand out?
A: Well, last spring in baseball, when we played Warren in our sectional tournament, I’d been hitting the ball hard the whole game. In my last at-bat, it was probably my weakest hit of the game, but it got past the second baseman, and we won on that.
I like to say that I’m a team player. I do whatever it takes for our team to win. I don’t really base our season off of my individual stats.
Q: Who has inspired you during your sports career at Marietta High?
A: Growing up, I’ve had coaches pushing me to be my best. When I played soccer, I had Shane Hartshorn. He helped me develop a lot when I was little, and it’s helped me with all of my sports.
Then, Steve Hill (baseball) and Glenn Dawson (basketball), they were my youth coaches, and they’ve been with me the whole time. They’ve helped me develop a lot.
Q: What do you do when not playing sports?
A: I just like hanging out with my friends, who are normally my teammates. I like to play video games. That’s kind of like my relaxing thing to do.
Q: Do you play golf?
A: (Laughs) I golf sometimes, but I’m not very good.
Ron Johnston, firstname.lastname@example.org