By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
HOLLY SPRINGS – Dakota Dailey is only a sophomore, but Marshall Academy’s quarterback has championship game experience. It’s just in another sport.
He was the starting point guard the last two seasons for the Patriots’ state championship basketball teams.
The young QB will have opportunity to play for a third state title, this one in football, at 5:30 p.m. Friday against Brookhaven Academy in the MAIS Class AA championship game at Millsaps College in Jackson.
“Playing for a state championship as an eighth grader has helped me deal with pressure,” Dailey said. “It’s just another game.”
Marshall first-year head coach Bart Jenkins adds: “The bigger the game, the more pressure, the better he plays. He’s a leader. When he steps into that huddle he has command of the offense.”
Dailey, a first-year starter, has passed for 1,966 yards, rushed for 872 more and accounted for 26 touchdowns. One of those was a pass interception return for a TD.
“He’s a playmaker,” Jenkins said. “His pre-snap reads have improved and his arm strength continues to improve. He’s done some things I didn’t expect to see until next year.”
Dailey credits his success to his teammates, especially his backfield and receivers.
“You’re a lot more comfortable back there when you know you don’t have to do it all,” he said.
One of Dailey’s favorite targets is senior Aaron McAlexander, whose receptions total 1,521 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“I tell Dakota to throw it and I’ll make a play,” McAlexander said.
McAlexander, who starts at safety on defense, has intercepted 11 passes this season and 31 total for his three-year varsity career. He has also returned four punts for touchdowns this season.
“He defines competition,” Jenkins said. “When the ball’s in the air, he goes to another gear. He’s so talented.”
The third piece of the Patriots’ offensive attack is sophomore running back Devin McGregor, who has rushed for 1,365 yards and 13 TD.
“He wants the ball; he wants to make a play,” Jenkins said.