It’s been said that one of the toughest things in sports is being the guy who follows “the guy.”
In other words, becoming the player who has to take over for, or replace, an accomplished athlete who took his team to the highest levels of success. That’s pretty much the Daylin Goad story.
Goad, a three-year starter at quarterback for Mingo Central, found himself in that position in 2018 when took over under center for Jeremy Dillon, who guided the Miners to their first Class AA football state championship as a junior in 2016. Dillon did it so well that he was selected to receive the Kennedy Award as the top player in West Virginia. Dillon later signed with the basketball program at Marshall.
A tough act to follow, indeed.
Still, Goad said he never felt the pressure of taking over at quarterback for Dillon, who was a senior during Goad’s freshman season. Goad addressed the issue Tuesday during media day at West Virginia State University for Saturday’s WCHS-TV/Fox 11 North-South All-Star Football Classic. The game, returning after a year’s absence induced by COVID-19, is set for 12:05 p.m. Saturday at South Charleston High School.
In fact, Goad thinks following Dillon boosted his own career, which is scheduled to continue next season at Glenville State.
“It kind of helped me,” Goad said, “because I watched off of him my freshman year and I learned. Because I watched his footwork, and all that stuff, and it just made me push harder to try and win the same awards he did.”
Goad had a fairly decorated career with the Miners, earning second-team All-State honors as a sophomore when he passed for 3,266 yards and 40 touchdowns and ran for 527 yards and 10 scores. He followed that up with a first-team All-State spot as a junior, throwing for 3,446 yards and 30 TDs and running for 990 yards and 21 scores.
In those two seasons, Mingo Central went 17-6 and made the playoffs each time, reaching the quarterfinals in 2019. His senior season, however, was more like an afterthought — again, due to COVID-19.
The Miners managed to play just three games last fall because Mingo County was constantly in the wrong hue on the state’s color-coded map that determined the status of in-person classes and eligibility for athletic events around the state.
“We were preparing for Belfry,” Goad said of the Miners’ Kentucky neighbor, “but that was canceled. Then we were off for quarantine — well, not quarantine but our [county] was red and we couldn’t practice. Finally, we came back and we were playing Man with three days’ [notice] and got two practices for them. I just wished we had more time to practice, prepare for those games.
“Then we played two games in one week — that was tough.”
With Mingo County finally out of the red, the Miners squeezed in two games in three days — losing to Man 28-24 on a Wednesday, then falling to Oak Hill 34-26 on Friday. A week later came a 28-22 victory against Tolsia, and the season was suddenly over.
“I enjoyed it while I could,” Goad said. “That’s why we played two games in one week. We knew the season was probably going to get canceled, so we tried to play as many games as we could. Coach asked us if we wanted to play two and we said yeah. It was tough, but we did it.”
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Goad will likely see a lot of work in Saturday’s game, as the South has just two quarterbacks listed on its roster, with Caleb Jantuah (Richwood) being the other.
After just a couple of North-South practices this week, Goad see some similarities in the offense the South will be running compared to the one he operated at Mingo Central.
“Sort of,” he said. “More in the air than running, though.”
The teams will practice twice each day leading up to Saturday’s game while staying on campus in West Virginia State’s dormitories.