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Mclaughlin playing rock-solid football despite mourning the loss of teammate, Daimon Ducheneaux

McLaughlin football team/community rallies in memory of Daimon Ducheneaux
Sep 11, 2017

By Rich Winter
One of the more surprising teams in Class 11B is the McLaughlin Mustangs. Smack dab in the middle of their move up to 11-man from 9AA, the Mustangs have ripped off three consecutive wins, 50-0 over Standing Rock, 14-0 over Crow Creek and most recently 50-0 over St. Francis Indian. 

While the start of the season has been a bit of a shocker, those in the McLaughlin community may not be as shocked because the kids on this years team are playing for a lost teammate, Daimon Ducheneaux who died in a car wreck just before the start of the season. 

It has been a tough loss for the community, and the team. Co-head coach, Skyler Traxinger (Kenny Comeau is the other co-head coach) knew they had something special in Ducheneaux the day he first showed up to practice in 2015.

"In 2015 Kenny Comeau and myself took over this program. We are both alumni that had excelled at the sport when we played. I moved back from Mitchell in 2014 and acquired a job in McLaughlin working at the local grain co-op. With about a week left going into the 2015 season kickoff we got approved to take over the program as Co-Head Coaches. From my view the program was close to being shutdown by the school due to lack of interest and success. Our first year we practiced on an alfelfa patch behind the bus garage. We were blessed with a group of 12 freshman. All we were doing that first practice was trying to identify the people on the team that were football players. It took about a minute of that first practice when this freshman kid absolutely lit up a senior," Traxinger said. 
That kid...Daimon Ducheneaux

"From that moment on we realized the potential we had in our hands and what this program could become in 2 or 3 years. That group of 12, 7 remain on the team as juniors now. Number 8 is why we play though. Daimon would have been our 8th from that group. He was an exceptional kid with exceptional talent. He played Middle Linebacker and Tight End. He wore the number 22. In our program we instilled the motto: FAMILY (Forget About Myself I Love You). And Daimon was the model of that saying. He was very close to all of his teammates, coaches, friends, and family and is dearly missed. It was a shockwave for the entire community and it showed the first week of practice when we only had 6 kids all week. After the funeral, the following week we had 20 committed to playing football. Now we sit at 27. We have no one to thank but the inspiration that has filled this town due to Daimon's accident. He continues to be an inspiration to us every single hour of every single day. He will never be forgotten and that is why we are retiring the number 22 in McLaughlin. Because in our eyes Daimon is the reason we are where we are by setting that tone in that very first practice back in 2015," Traxinger said. 
While McLaughlin has gone 3-0 with a ton of inspired football playing, their is some talent on this team as evidenced by senior DE, Donovan Two Lance who has 11.5 sacks in three games. That is the most in South Dakota and 2nd most in the entire United States.

"Like we have been saying the past three games in our pregame meetings. We are already inspired. Me and Kenny dont need to motivate these kids when them lights come on. You see that DD22 on back of there helmets and thats all the motivation they need. They are not only playing for him but they also understand that he was the main reason that we are still playing football in McLaughlin in 2017. We have a great group of kids up here with loads of talent and now they have found that inspiration. Honestly I find it a miracle that we are even playing football after the accident yet alone being 3-0. These kids are inspiring the community and us coaches," Traxinger said.
While scoring 114 points and giving up none, Traxinger points to a defense that is playing outstanding football.
"We have a senior, Donovan Two Lance who is ranked currently number 1 in the state and number 2 in the nation in sacks (11.5 sacks thru 3 games) Maxpreps is the source. But we installed some different schemes that are helping the players get into positions to make plays. We have a good combination of speed, size, agility, and experience, but we will take it one week at a time," Traxinger said. 
Of course you don't average 38 points per game without having an offense, and McLaughlin despte the leap from 9AA to 11B seens to be making a quality transition. 

"Jobb Agard has taken the reins as the Starting QB for us. He is an exceptional talent with a big arm. He is currently a Sophomore. Tucson Freeman is our main back, he is a Junior that I believe could play college ball anywhere he wants to. He has an outstanding combination of academic and athletic success. Leon Brown Otter is a 6'3 170 lb wide out who is a sophomore. Exceptional combination of speed and hands. Really has the potential to do big things these next couple of years. Antoine Davis is our Center. He is a junior that played guard last year and took over for a 4 year starter at center. He has a great consistent snap and is quick off the ball," coach said. 

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