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A second chance for one MulePosted Saturday, August 27, 2011, at 5:20 PM
Lorenzo Dailey (22) and T.J. Boner (73) celebrate after Dailey's touchdown Friday night at Morrow Stadium. (DAR photo/Paul Davis)
The Mules lost 27-25 to Vashon. Dailey led the Mules in tackles with nine and ran one time for 2 yards on offense.
For more on the game see Sunday's DAR.
A year ago it looked as if Lorenzo Dailey might never play football again.
Friday night in Farmington, the Poplar Bluff senior was making big hits and scoring for the Mules.
"It was just great having that feeling again running into the end zone," Dailey said of his 18-yard touchdown run during the preseason jamboree. "Like, 'yes, I did it.'"
A week before the jamboree last year, Dailey suffered a seizure at practice. At first it wasn't clear what was the cause, but it was certain that he would not be able to play football that season -- maybe forever.
"It kind of hurt me because football is something that I enjoy playing," Dailey said. "For somebody to be like you probably won't be able to play it kind of made me like, 'why? I can't believe it.'"
Tests later pointed toward scar tissue that formed near Dailey's brain as the cause for the seizure. He said about a month before the seizure he fell, hitting the back of his head.
"It was bleeding but I didn't pay too much attention to it because I thought I'd be alright," Dailey said.
Medication helped and because he's been free of seizures, Dailey was cleared to play football this fall.
"I always had in the back of my head that I was going to be successful," Dailey said. "I refused to (quit). I really expected to be doing this."
As a sophomore, Dailey was second on the team in tackles and third in sacks with 3 1/2 as the Mules reached the postseason for the first time in nine years. He never scored but set up big plays as a blocker and had one carry for 13 years to help run out the clock in a win.
When a teammate made a last-second interception to seal another victory, Dailey sprinted downfield and made a block at the goal line trying to set up a meaningless touchdown.
The Mules started last fall dedicating the season to Dailey, wearing 'No. 22' stickers on the helmets, but his presence on defense was missed and he was the first in a long line of injuries as Poplar Bluff finished 1-9.
Four plays into the jamboree Friday night, Dailey made his first tackle. With the Farmington offense threatening inside the 5-yard line, he plugged a hole up the middle with junior T.J. Boner and helped keep the Knights out of the end zone.
"Defense was excellent, I couldn't ask for anything better," Dailey said, sounding more like a coach than player. "For us to be out there and shut everybody down from scoring on us, that's great."
Dailey is the quarterback on defense, calling out plays, and will be called upon as a running back when needed. His biggest asset, however, won't show up on the stat sheet.
"He's a heck of a linebacker on defense, he plays well there," Mules coach Mark Barousse said. "We need him there, but as a change of pace running back he helps us too.
"More than anything else this team needs his leadership."
Dailey has led by example ever since he was cleared to play and is not going to let this second chance go to waste.
"It means all or none," Dailey said. "I'm willing to put everything out there on the line.
"I know my team, they're going to be willing to do the same thing so we're just ready to get the job done."
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Brian Rosener has been the sports editor for the Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff, Mo. since December 2001. He was born and raised in St. Louis, where he attended Lindbergh High School and Webster University. He is married to Jennifer, a Poplar Bluff native, has a son Jack, 11, who is a much better golfer and swimmer, and a dog named Satchel.