JACKSON COUNTY quarterback Kyle Daniel continues to eclipse records — his own.
The senior Panther quarterback torched Franklin County for 395 passing yards Friday, breaking his own record, and four touchdown passes, tying his own mark.
The most important numbers of the night to Daniel? 4-2, as in Jackson County’s record now.
“The records are nice, but it’s more important to come out of there with a win,” Daniel said.
Ironically, Daniel and the Panther offense struggled early-on in the record-setting night with Jackson County only putting up six points at halftime.
“Nothing was clicking early on,” Daniel said. “You know, we had an awful first half offensively. But in the second half, we really started rolling pretty good.”
The Panthers answered with 26 points in the second half, and Daniel and Ben Brissey connected for the game-winning touchdown pass in dramatic fashion with 13 seconds left.
“I was really proud of how he turned it around and made some really big throws in the second half to give us a chance to win the game,” Jackson County head coach Benji Harrison said.
Harrison, also the quarterbacks coach, is in his first year working with Daniel, who has started off and on since his sophomore year. Daniel’s numbers through six games are nothing short of staggering with 1,241 yards passing and 15 touchdowns against only five interceptions. He’s completing 63 percent of his passes.
“He’s doing really good,” Harrison said. “Every week he’s getting a better understanding of the offense because there’s a lot on the quarterback in this offense.”
Daniel said he’s worked to improve his touchdown-to-interception ratio.
“Fifteen-to-five,” Daniel said. “I’d like the five to be a little lower but we’re 4-2 right now, bottom like, 2-1 in the region.”
Daniel credits Jackson County’s offseason preparation under Harrison for his surge in stats this year. The Panthers participated in around 40 passing league sessions over the summer. Those extra snaps paid off, Daniel said.
“Coach Harrison took us to a lot of 7-on-7s in the summer,” Daniel said. “We competed against a lot of Class AAAAA and Class AAAAAA schools. I think that really helped us.”
These are certainly fun times for the Panthers right now with the passing game clicking and Jackson County winning. The Panthers are averaging 25 points a game and their 4-2 start is the program’s best since starting 5-0-1 in 1992. But the fun only lasts as long as the Panthers keep the victories coming.
So Daniel stays focused on the major prize.
“It’s been great,” Daniel said. “We’ve got an off week this week. We’ve got to make sure we maintain our focus. It’s been fun so far, but it’s not going to be fun if were at home (having missed the playoffs) in week 11. Our goal coming into the year was to make the playoffs. It’s been fun to this point, but we can’t ease up now. We’ve got to keep going.”