The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

November 20, 2012

Hatfield speaks out

DANVILLE —  If not for a lofty goal set by a then unproven sophomore defender, Danville Vikings soccer coach Chris Griffin might not have known who DeMarion Hatfield was.

Griffin certainly was familiar with Hatfield, and it wasn’t lack of effort that kept him from being noticed. The truth was, he simply didn’t talk much. But a promise made by Hatfield to score 40 goals definitely caught Griffin’s attention.

It was Hatfield’s first year as a member of the varsity soccer team, and he fell well short of the mark. But he didn’t get discouraged. He remained persistent and continued to make the same promise prior to his junior and senior seasons.

“He’s actually made that promise for three consecutive years,” Griffin said. “He came into our summer camp his sophomore year and said, ‘I’m going to get 40 goals this year, coach.’ I said, ‘Alright, I’ll believe it when I see it.’ I said, ‘I need you to prevent 40 goals this year.’

“That’s more of his position. He promised 40, but I would say he saved more than 40 (his senior season). He didn’t let me down because he saved more than he had promised at the other end.”

Despite his joking demeanor, Hatfield remained relatively quiet until this year. As his soccer skills progressed, so did his leadership. The results by his senior year had the 2012 Commercial-News Soccer Player of the Year standing out as one of the most recognizable and outspoken Vikings on the defensive side of the field.

“He really kind of came out of his shell after three years of really not ever hearing him say anything,” Griffin said. “This year, he really stepped up and was very vocal, which is what you need out of that position. He stepped up to do that for us.”

As a center back, Hatfield had no choice but to lead. Griffin lauds the senior captain’s communication skills as a reason for his success in running the team’s defense, and while Hatfield proved he was more than capable of taking on the role, his job was made much tougher in his final campaign. The loss of three key players, really before the season got started, put a damper on the Vikings’ initial expectations, and forced a number of players to step up.

When the season began, the Vikings’ roster once filled with talent and promise quickly began to dwindle. One senior expected to fill a starting role chose to not play, and another departed in favor of fine-tuning his skills with a U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy team in St. Louis.

As if that wasn’t enough of a hit, junior Eziquio Flores played only a handful of games before being sidelined for the season with an injury.

“As a team, we knew we had to pick it up,” Hatfield said. “For me, I knew we had to stay strong on defense for the team. I knew if we could have our seniors play good, the rest of our team should play good. That’s what we were looking for this year.

“I knew that even without them, we could still do good if we all stayed on the same page and worked hard. We didn’t have the best season, but we still did good for what we had.”

After starting the season 1-5-3, the Vikings lost only three of their last 10 contests. Once again, it came down to communication on the field, and a willingness of the team to put group success before individual honors.

“At the beginning of the year, I think we were hurting missing those players,” Hatfield said. “Towards the end of the year, we were used to not having them, and people were starting to pick up each other. I think that really helped because everybody was helping each other and being supportive. That was a big key for us only losing three games at the end of the year.”

Griffin had no doubt that Hatfield would be able to effectively fill his role as captain and help the Vikings grow as a collective unit. He had already seen it multiple times in practice from the senior defensive leader.

“He was the most vocal player that we had, by far,” Griffin said. “And really, it was that way in practice. I would stop practice periodically, but when we would play small-sided games, DeMarion’s team would win no matter who I put on his team probably 90 percent of the time, just because he was always talking, always communicating, and made everybody around him better. (He) made everybody around him more aware of their surroundings and the situation by his constant communication.”

Though the potential was there, Hatfield’s progression on the field might have come more rapidly than expected. He grew up playing both soccer and basketball, but unlike many of his peers, didn’t make a full commitment to the sport until after his freshman year at Danville High. That’s when the mother of teammate Mac Leverenz suggested Hatfield try playing with the Little Illini club team. It was Hatfield’s first exposure to soccer outside of Danville Soccer Association or high school competition.

“With him not playing the traveling soccer, he was not exposed to the higher level of competition and higher level of training,” Griffin said. “He just didn’t get that early on like some of the kids get. When he did get to step up and play a little bit better soccer, he got better each and every game. His mannerisms on the practice field were the same as they were in the game. He worked to get better everyday. He was one of the hardest-working kids that we had on the team in everything you could ask for, just in his work ethic and drive to get better.”

His drive brought him to once again make the same lofty promise to Griffin this year. Hatfield was moved forward on occasion in situations where the Vikings wanted to press more in the offensive zone, but his scoring opportunities were limited. Though he knew the prospects were unlikely, he wanted to prove his dedication and make his senior year one he wouldn’t forget.

“I wanted to score 40,” Hatfield said. “I told coach I’d get him 40, but I guess five is good enough. Playing sweeper, I’m used to saving goals, so to score some goals was really nice.”

Text Only
Sports
  • SPT- Cn0418 - Covington softball photo 2 Trojans cruise to victory COVINGTON, Ind. - The Covington softball team had a big first inning as they scored five runs on their way to defeating Attica 11-1. Attica threatened to score in the first, getting Karrah Pattengale to second, but they were unable to drive her home.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lunger steps up for Buffaloes GEORGETOWN -- In only the second start of his career, Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman pitcher Tyler Lunger pitched a five-hit complete game as the Buffaloes defeated Milford 8-2 on Thursday in Vermilion Valley Conference action. "I feel I threw well

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - CN0418 - Danville boys tennis photo Maroons blitz young Vikings DANVILLE -- In the process of gaining experience, the Danville boys tennis team has taken a few lumps in the first few weeks of season. On Thursday afternoon, the Champaign Central Maroons delivered a few lessons to the younger Vikings with a 9-0 vic

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peelman pitches no-hitter as Vikings beat Maroons CHAMPAIGN -- Alissa Peelman pitched a no-hitter as the Danville High School softball team beat Champaign Central 11-0 in five innings on Thursday in Big 12 Conference action. Peelman was also 3-of-4 with three RBIs for the Vikings while Mackenzie Kin

    April 18, 2014

  • Thursday's Local Scores PREP BASEBALL At Georgetown Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman 8, Milford 2 Milford 101 000 0 -- 2 5 10 GRFC 200 141 x -- 8 8 3 WP -- Tyler Lunger. LP -- Clayton Rieches. Two or more hits -- GRFC: Dylan Bina, Ethan Silva. 2B

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - CN0417 - Andy Bott photo Better late than never for Bott BISMARCK -- Marshall golf coach Matt Grobe completely surprised Bismarck-Henning standout Andy Bott with an e-mail earlier this year. Bott, who is a three-time all-stater for the Blue Devils, was preparing to attend Illinois Wesleyan in the fall. "Ou

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0417- Westville softball photo Nourie, Tigers beat Comets 20-4 in five inning game MUNCIE -- On a very windy day which made playing softball tough for both teams, Westville defeated Oakwood in five innings 20-4 with some good offensive production and a solid pitching performance from Stefanie Nourie. Nourie got her first win of the

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- Cn0417 - Seeger baseball photo 2 Falcons make quick work of Pats WEST LEBANON, Ind. - North Vermillion sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored seven runs en route to a 13-1 win over the homestanding Seeger Patriots. The visiting Falcons got five hits including doubles by Jordan West

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0417 - Local Roundup photo Salt Fork's Learnard pitches perfect game JAMAICA -- Salt Fork's Ross Learnard finally got back on the mound on Wednesday for the first time in a week and he did not disappoint, pitching a perfect game as the Salt Fork baseball team beat Schlarman Academy in five innings. "He had his breakin

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0416 - NV softball photo 2 Patriots smash Falcons CAYUGA, Ind. - Seeger took an early lead, extended it and then kept North Vermillion at bay as the Patriots defeated the host Falcons 14-3 in five innings. The visitors scored one run in the top of the first inning and, after North Vermillion went do

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

E-edition
NCAA basketball
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014


Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later
NDN Video
My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star