Tagarook wants to do more in title game

November 29, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Even though Danville easily handled Beechwood in last year's Class A state championship game, lineman Masaak Tagarook didn't feel like he did his part for the Admirals.

"I was pretty sick. I had a sinus infection and some other stuff. I started on offense and mainly played offense. I didn't get to play too much on defense because the coaches were trying to save me," said Tagarook.

He got so sick during the second quarter that he had to go back to the dressing room.

"I was tore up. I was real sick. I was just dizzy and could barely stand up," Tagarook said.

He wasn't sure he would even be able to play the second half. Then he took off one of the two insulated shirts he was wearing and drank a lot of fluids.

"That got me feeling better and I was able to go out there and tough it out," Tagarook said. "I don't know how much I really helped, but at least I tried. I want to do a lot more this time because I know how much Beechwood wants to beat us. Nobody wants to lose two straight state title games."


A rematch of last year's title game

The Admirals meet Beechwood Friday at noon at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in a rematch of last year's state title game.

Tagarook had never seen a state championship football game until he watched his older brother, Manning, play in the 1998 state title game against Caldwell County. The Admirals lost 38-28, the only time in 11 state championship appearances that Danville has not won.

Two years later Masaak Tagarook was back in Louisville watching his brother help Danville beat Newport Catholic 23-9 to win the state crown. In 2001, Masaak made another trip to Louisville as a freshman reserve on Danville's team that beat Newport Catholic 14-13.

"It's like a dream come true to go back again," Tagarook said. "Hopefully we are going to get that third win (during my career)."

Tagarook is not a Danville native. He lived in Oregon before moving here while he was still in preschool. He didn't know that much about how football was played here until his older brother got to Bate Middle School.

"When Manning was at Bate, I went to those games. Then he went to high school, and I got to see what the Danville program was all about," Tagarook said. "I always liked football. There was just something fascinating about it. I played Little League football here and just love something about the game."

He made all-state choir

Not that football is his only love. He recently made the all-state choir, an honor Danville teammate Jacob Moore also earned. He plays the guitar and gave up playing the trumpet in the band only because it conflicted with football.

"Music is right up there with football," Tagarook said. "It means a lot to me. I would much rather be all-state in football than choir, but to tell the truth, I would love to be all-state in anything because that says you are the best at what you do."

Tagarook enjoys singing. He says he mainly sings in the choir, but admits he's been known to let out a few tunes in the shower because he enjoys singing so much.

"I would probably still be in the band if there was a way to do that and play football, too," Tagarook said. "I like music, but I love football."

Tagarook's play has improved during Danville's playoff run. He's also been more demonstrative on the field in recent games.

"I think it is because he's playing with a sense of urgency because he realizes his football career is close to an end," Danville coach Sam Harp said. "Danville football means a lot to him. He bleeds blue. He's talented on the field, but he means a lot to our program off the field, too. He's really a great kid."

Tagarook admits he had some doubts about the team's potential when the year started.

"I think everybody on the team did," Tagarook said. "But we kept fighting. We did what we needed to do to get back to Louisville because we never gave up."

Proud of Turner's record

He's also proud that he had a part in putting Kelvin Turner's name into the state record book. Turner has scored 116 career touchdowns, four more than the previous state record. Turner has scored 43 of those touchdowns this season.

"That record means a lot to me. He's one great athlete and if you give him a seam, he can bust any play. I am very glad we have him on our team, and I'll always know I was a little part of his record," Tagarook said.

Still, he has unfinished business Friday and already knows what would be a perfect ending to his football career.

"I want to cap it off with a blowout," Tagarook said. "To me, that would be the perfect way to end my Danville career."

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