Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas


June 26, 2013

Community National Bank and Trust 2013 All-Golden Circle Athletes of the Year

Steels all-round athlete

It was the year of the Polar Bear at Frost High School, where the football team and boys basketball team soared to new heights.

But it was also the year of Danial Steels, who soared higher than any athlete in the Golden Circle with an unforgettable year that saw Steels shine on the gridiron, the basketball court, the baseball diamond, the tennis court and on the track.

Oh yes, and while Steels was taking the fans’ breath away with moves in the open field and drives on the court, he was putting together a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

He was an easy choice to win the 2012-2013 Daily Sun’s Golden Circle Community National Bank and Trust Male Athlete of the Year award.

Steels was named to the Class 1A first-team All-State football team and to the Class 1A first-team All-State basketball team, a rare feat that may not be repeated in this area for years.

He won the Daily Sun’s Mike Montfort Offensive MVP award in football while taking home the Daily Sun’s Golden Circle Player of the Year in basketball.

He qualified for the region tennis tournament and played on Frost’s baseball team, and then at the end of the school year, Steels qualified for five events in the region track & field meet, earned a trip to the Class 1A state track & field meet in two events, and took home fifth-place in the 100 meters, just to put a little frosting on an already spectacular cake.

And it did it all quietly.

There is no swag, no bravado to Steels, who plays the game with class and character and an old-school mentality.

“I can’t do that,’’ said Steels, who doesn’t understand why athletes showboat and hot-dog it on the field. “I’ve always been taught to talk on the field and on the court. I don’t celebrate or anything. It seems unnecessary. I just do my thing. I do what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s not a big show.’’

He did some fancy oration on the football field, gaining 1,878 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns while leading Frost to the Class 1A Division II Region finals, where the Polar Bears lost a heartbreaker, 34-30, to state finalist Tenaha, falling just two yards short as the clock ran out.

Steels never flaunted his ability to dominate a basketball game, and averaged 24 points and 10.8 rebounds per game while listening to a number of players get in his face and trash talk to him on the court. He simply never talked back.

“Some guys try to talk (trash) during football and in basketball,’’ Steels said. “It’s worse in basketball because the guy is guarding you and he has more time to talk to you. They try to get to you. I just don’t say anything.’’

Silent Steels, the Silent Killer.

“He never showed any emotion. He never let anything get to him. He is a humble kid,’’ said Eric Blendon, who coached Steels in football and basketball. “He’s a great athlete, but you would never know it by talking to him. He works hard and works a lot on his own time. He grew up a lot this year and became the total package as a leader. We could tell our younger kids, if you want to be like someone, be like Danial.’’

Blendon still is impressed with the fact Steels was so talented he made the all-state team in both football and basketball.

“As good as a football player as he was, he was even a better basketball player,’’ Blendon said. “He can back up and hit a 3 or he can go to the basket. He can do it all. He can go down low and guard someone who is six inches taller than he is or guard someone six inches shorter because he is so quick.’’

Possibly the greatest compliment to Steels is how other coaches felt about him.

“All the coaches would say, ‘Thank God he’s a senior,’ ’’ Blendon said with a laugh. “He’s a phenomenal athlete but you can hardly get him to say a word. You would go with him for a soda or something and he wouldn’t say five words the whole time.

“On the field he just gave us whatever we needed. If we needed three yards he got four. If we needed four yards he got five. He has a knack for doing whatever it takes, doing whatever we needed. He wasn’t the fastest player on the field and he wasn’t the strongest, but he had the combination and he had the drive to get it done.’’

His first love was basketball.

“I picked up a basketball when I was 4 years old, and loved it then,’’ Steels said. “It’s still my favorite sport, but my best memory of this year is the football team. We went 3-7 and then 5-5 my sophomore and junior years and I was always getting beat up. We didn’t win much, and this year we won so much and we were good. It was so much fun. Everything about this season was special, even the two-days. We had that feeling that something exciting was going to happen.’’

It did. The season was like no other.

“It’s my best memory because we turned everything around,’’ Steels said. “It was so much fun because everyone — the fans, everyone — had so much fun. It was special.’’

Steels didn’t even play football until he was 12, and still wears No. 12 to this day because of that. When he arrived in Frost from College Station in seventh grade, the coaches knew they had something special.

“I played in a football game in eighth grade and I carried the ball every time except twice,’’ Steels said. “I gained over 250 yards or something like that and I was exhausted.’’

He loves both sports, and that’s one of the many reasons Steels decided to accept a scholarship to Prairie View A&M. He wanted to make sure wherever he went to college that he could play football and basketball.

No problem. He got exactly what he wanted.

More importantly, Steels liked the engineering program.

“I liked the campus and liked everything about the school,’’ Steels said. “And I liked their engineering program. That was important to me.’’

He plans on becoming an electrical engineer — just like his grandfather.

“He’s a great kid,’’ Blendon said. “He’s very smart, very ambitious.’’

Steels, the silent Steeles, laughed and talked and was at ease during his interview with the Daily Sun. He joked about how his younger sister does all the talking in the family, and that’s why he’s so quiet. He poured his heart out talking about the bitter loss to Tenaha and looked back and embraced his senior year, and everything it meant to him.

“It was such a special year,’’ he said, his voice dropping a bit as he looked back. “A real special year.’’

It was the year of the Polar Bear — the year of Danial Steels.

Text Only
  • RON MORGAN.jpg Morgan; Remembering House and a better era

    The Cowboys started training camp the same week that Robert Newhouse died.
    In a way, that’s very unfortunate for Jerry. Thinking back to the “Human Bowling Ball” and the teams of that era might lead to the inevitable comparisons to today’s product on the field.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • weights.jpg GC Football: Blooming Grove's Williams expects to win

    His father was a head coach for years at Pecos High and his brother-in-law is the head football coach at DeSoto, but Lawrence Williams Jr., a man who loves coaching football, never had any ideas about being the head man.
    “I love coaching,'' said Williams as he sat at his desk in Blooming Grove, where he became the Lions' head coach this summer. “I just never thought about being the head coach and I never applied to be a head coach. With this job I can still coach.''

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kevin Reese mug.jpg Outdoors: Kevin Reese: Summer time means summer tracking

    With only two months before opening day of archery season you should already have your bow maintenance complete, be shooting daily and chomping at the bit for our favorite day to arrive!
    Let’s face it, few animals turn our rotors like whitetail deer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-State Baseball: Corsicana's Harlan and Wolver honored on TSWA/Collin Street Bakery 4A All-State Baseball team

    Corsicana junior Brady Harlan and sophomore Layton Wolver were honored on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 4A All-State Baseball team that was announced Tuesday night.

    July 22, 2014

  • 7-23-14 Kayana.jpg Gymnastics: Kaylana Dickson celebrates national title with fans and her uncle David Hawthorne

    Kaylana Dickson got the name Bebop on her way to winning a national title in gymnastics this summer, and boy did it catch fire.
    Kaylana, a Corsicana native, picked up fans from all over the country and many bought Bebop T-shirts to help pay her expenses to Spokane, Wa., where she won the 8-and-under title in the double-mini trampoline event and finished third in floor exercise.
    More than 100 of her friends, family members and fans showed up at the Corsicana YMCA on Saturday to celebrate the national title and be on hand for a drawing for an autographed New Orleans Saints football jersey from David Hawthorne, a star defensive lineman for the Saints and Kaylana's uncle

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-State Baseball: TSWA/Collin Street Bakery All-State 3A baseball team is announced

    The Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 3A All-State Baseball Team was announced Tuesday.


    July 22, 2014

  • UIL Football: State championships to be held at AT&T Stadium

    The 2014 University Interscholastic League Football State Championship games will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington the League announced Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • All-State Baseball: Sunnyvale's Wilcox tops TSWA/Collin Street Bakery Class 2A team

    Sunnyvale's Jake Wilcox is player of the year on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 2A All-State Baseball Team

    July 22, 2014

  • GC Baseball: Kerens' Anderson makes TSWA/Collin Street Bakery all-state team at four positions

    Call it the rarest of rares, at least as far as all-state teams go. Brett Anderson of Kerens shows up on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery all-state team not one, not two, not three, but four times. Dawson's Lane Dotson was a second-team outfielder, and the Bulldogs' Trent Underwood made the third-team as a pitcher, and also garnered an honorable mention nod at first base. Kerens outfielder Brent Warren was also an honorable mention pick.

    July 21, 2014

  • RON MORGAN.jpg Morgan: All-star games and all-star shame

    If there is anything more useless than a political promise, it’s an all-star game. I don’t care what sport at what level. Any all-star game is simply an exhibition, a reward for being among the best (maybe). Any one of them is about as relevant as the IRS’s “dog ate my homework” excuse for losing emails.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo