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2022 TOM HAM ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Daniels did it all for Demons

Fike senior named Athlete of the Year

Posted on May 27, 2022

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Fike High senior Demari Daniels stands with the nearly 5-foot trophy signifying he is the Tom Ham Athlete of the Year as presented by The Wilson Times after playing four sports. The Times Offensive Player of the Year in football, Daniels also played basketball, baseball and ran track for the Golden Demons.

Paul Durham | Times

Fike High senior Demari Daniels stands with the nearly 5-foot trophy signifying he is the Tom Ham Athlete of the Year as presented by The Wilson Times after playing four sports. The Times Offensive Player of the Year in football, Daniels also played basketball, baseball and ran track for the Golden Demons.

Fike senior Demari Daniels looks across the infield after rounding as Golden Demons head coach Buck Edmondson watches during a home 3-A playoff game against Southern Nash on May 10.

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Fike senior Demari Daniels looks across the infield after rounding as Golden Demons head coach Buck Edmondson watches during a home 3-A playoff game against Southern Nash on May 10.

Fike’s Demari Daniels, right, battles Beddingfield’s Cristofer Atkinson down the stretch during the boys 100-meter dash at the Scott Jones Memorial Classic on April 11 at Wilson Prep. Daniels qualified for the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional in the high jump and the 4x100 relay.

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Fike’s Demari Daniels, right, battles Beddingfield’s Cristofer Atkinson down the stretch during the boys 100-meter dash at the Scott Jones Memorial Classic on April 11 at Wilson Prep. Daniels qualified for the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional in the high jump and the 4x100 relay.

Fike senior quarterback Demari Daniels (12) passes during a home game against Hunt on Oct. 29. Daniels threw for nearly 1,500 yards on 57% accuracy as he was named offensive player of the year by the 3-A Quad County Conference and The Wilson Times.

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Fike senior quarterback Demari Daniels (12) passes during a home game against Hunt on Oct. 29. Daniels threw for nearly 1,500 yards on 57% accuracy as he was named offensive player of the year by the 3-A Quad County Conference and The Wilson Times.

Fike’s Demari Daniels (11) drives between Hunt players Alex Speight, left, and Drew PIttman during a game at Hunt on Feb. 11. Daniels was the second-leading rebounder and No. 3 scorer for the Golden Demons last season.

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Fike’s Demari Daniels (11) drives between Hunt players Alex Speight, left, and Drew PIttman during a game at Hunt on Feb. 11. Daniels was the second-leading rebounder and No. 3 scorer for the Golden Demons last season.

Fike High senior Demari Daniels stands with the nearly 5-foot trophy signifying he is the Tom Ham Athlete of the Year as presented by The Wilson Times after playing four sports. The Times Offensive Player of the Year in football, Daniels also played basketball, baseball and ran track for the Golden Demons.

Paul Durham | Times

Fike High senior Demari Daniels stands with the nearly 5-foot trophy signifying he is the Tom Ham Athlete of the Year as presented by The Wilson Times after playing four sports. The Times Offensive Player of the Year in football, Daniels also played basketball, baseball and ran track for the Golden Demons.

Fike senior Demari Daniels looks across the infield after rounding as Golden Demons head coach Buck Edmondson watches during a home 3-A playoff game against Southern Nash on May 10.

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Fike senior Demari Daniels looks across the infield after rounding as Golden Demons head coach Buck Edmondson watches during a home 3-A playoff game against Southern Nash on May 10.

Fike senior Demari Daniels looks across the infield after rounding as Golden Demons head coach Buck Edmondson watches during a home 3-A playoff game against Southern Nash on May 10.
Fike’s Demari Daniels, right, battles Beddingfield’s Cristofer Atkinson down the stretch during the boys 100-meter dash at the Scott Jones Memorial Classic on April 11 at Wilson Prep. Daniels qualified for the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional in the high jump and the 4x100 relay.
Fike senior quarterback Demari Daniels (12) passes during a home game against Hunt on Oct. 29. Daniels threw for nearly 1,500 yards on 57% accuracy as he was named offensive player of the year by the 3-A Quad County Conference and The Wilson Times.
Fike’s Demari Daniels (11) drives between Hunt players Alex Speight, left, and Drew PIttman during a game at Hunt on Feb. 11. Daniels was the second-leading rebounder and No. 3 scorer for the Golden Demons last season.
Fike High senior Demari Daniels stands with the nearly 5-foot trophy signifying he is the Tom Ham Athlete of the Year as presented by The Wilson Times after playing four sports. The Times Offensive Player of the Year in football, Daniels also played basketball, baseball and ran track for the Golden Demons.

Wilson Times Athletes of the Year

1974 — Clay Johnson, Fike

1975 — Stan Johnson, Fike

1976 — John Virgil, Elm City

1977 — Greg Artis, Fike

1978 — Gurnest Brown, Fike

1979 — Angela Armstrong, Fike

1980 — Willie Harris, Hunt

1981 — Moe Ruffin, Fike

1982 — Dennis Barron, Beddingfield

1983 — Izel Jenkins, Fike

1984 — Brian Harris, Fike

1985 — Anthony Thompson, Fike

1986 — Dennis Tripp, Farmville Central

1987 — Pam and Phyllis Gorham, SouthWest Edgecombe

1988 — Tyrone Joyner, Farmville Central

1989 — Donald Barnes, Hunt

1990 — Morris Foreman, Farmville Central

1991 — Terrance Howell, SouthWest Edgecombe

1992 — Jeffrey Savage, Fike

1993 — Corey Thomas, Beddingfield

1994 — Latonya Joyner, Beddingfield

1995 — Sabrina Thompson, Fike

1996 — Sabrina Thompson, Fike

1997 — Rikki Cockrell, Southern Nash

1998 — Julius Peppers, Southern Nash

1999 — John Green, Beddingfield

2000 — William Hesmer, Hunt

2001 — Joe Warenda, Greenfield

2002 — Georgia Davis, Southern Nash

2003 — Ginny Farris, Fike

2004 — Kendall Liner, Beddingfield; Connor Bedgood, Fike

2005 — Requan Boyette, Fike

2006 — October Harris, Beddingfield

2007 — Linwan Euwell, SouthWest Edgecombe

2008 — Laura Hanson, Fike

2009 — Jeremy Atkinson, Fike

2010 — Casey Elliott, Beddingfield

2011 — Meredith Pruden, Fike

2012 — Parker Lamm, Hunt; Josh King, Fike

2013 — Jordan Sharpe, Greenfield

2014 — Dexter Wright, Hunt

2015 — Dwanya Williams-Sutton, Greenfield

2016 — Tre Wade, Greene Central

2017 — Kenneth Sims, Beddingfield

2018 — Coby White, Greenfield

2019 — Darius Edmundson, Southern Nash

2020 — Keishon Porter, SouthWest Edgecombe

2021 — Jayleen Bullock, Fike

2022 – Demari Daniels, Fike

paul@wilsontimes.com | 265-7808

With a song in his heart and a smile on his face, Fike High senior Demari Daniels was both spectacular and consistent in his four seasons of play, earning him the distinction of Tom Ham Athlete of the Year as presented by The Wilson Times.

Daniels picked up the nearly 5-foot trophy at Fike’s Awards Day ceremony Thursday, capping a spectacular senior year for the Fayetteville State University-bound quarterback who also played basketball, baseball and track and field. He is the 51st recipient of the award in its 48 years and the 21st from Fike.

“I feel good, blessed really. It took a lot of hard work,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and focus. I had to be determined to do all that and more.”

Daniels did all that and more for the Golden Demons on the football field last fall. In earning offensive player of the year honors from 3-A Quad County Conference coaches and the Times, Daniels was the best athlete on the field most Friday nights. He rushed for 1,145 yards and 23 touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, while completing 57% of his passes for 1,496 yards and 11 TDs.

He accounted for more than 71% of Fike’s offensive yardage this season.

“Well, it’s awesome having a kid that’s capable, but more than that he’s just such a great kid,” Fike football head coach Tom Nelson said. “Great smile, great leader. The kids love him and play hard for him and follow him and that’s because he he does all the right things. He’s there every day. He’s early. He’s the hardest worker and that is a recipe for success for your team.”

Fike did have success, going 7-3 and winning the Wilson County Championship while finishing second behind Hunt in the 3-A Quad County Conference. However, beating the Warriors in the final regular-season game to win the county crown ranks among his top memories from his senior year, Daniels said.

During the winter, Daniels averaged 5.9 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Demons on the basketball court but he also earned the award for the team’s top defensive player.

“Coaching him was just awesome. You’d love to have 15 of him,” Demons basketball coach Brent Secrest said. “Was the leader, on and off the floor for the team.”

Secrest noted Daniels’ dunk off the opening tip against Hunt as particularly memorable.

“We knew he could dunk but we’d never seen him do it in the game and he just took it and dunked it,” Secrest said. “No one was expecting that. It kind of just floored everybody, got the crowd going and everything.”

Daniels didn’t fret over Fike’s tough season, going 5-14 and finishing tied for last in the Quad County.

“I loved the practices,” he said. “You know, our record didn’t really define us, but I loved every single practice and before the games and after games.”

Daniels, also Fike’s male athlete of the year, demonstrated his versatility for the track team, qualifying for the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional in the high jump and the 4x100-meter relay. He just missed landing a spot in the 100 dash, Fike head coach Sonny West said.

“He’s just an all-around, great athlete,” West said. “He’s going to have a great college career, but he’s the kind of kid that if a good college (track) coach got ahold of him, he would be possibly an All-American decathlete because I don’t think there’s anything he couldn’t do. He’s such a good, well-rounded athlete.”

Daniels — like his older brothers D.J. and Justin — initially played baseball in the spring at Fike but decided to switch to track last spring after having just completed a football season that moved to early spring following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The main reason he started doing track was he wanted to help his top-end speed for football,” said West, who also coached Daniels in football. “And you look at his rushing difference from his junior year to senior year because he developed that breakaway speed by running track last spring and it really carried over and helped us tremendously on the football field this fall.”

Daniels returned to the baseball diamond this spring but in a limited role, mainly as a pinch-runner. Demons head coach Buck Edmondson said that had COVID not interrupted his baseball career, he believes Daniels would have been a starting outfielder this season. Still, he was glad to have Daniels when he could.

“I knew what he meant to the track team,” Edmondson said. “So I know he missed a couple of games but all in all, he tried to be at everything he could. And he scored some big runs for us and just the type of athlete he is, he’s a difference maker.”

Daniels definitely made a difference for the Demons all year long. He was also an honor roll student-athlete and received the top music award during Thursday’s ceremony as well.

“There’s not one special thing about him. He is just special,” Nelson said.

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