GILMER -- Darian Godfrey spends his weekdays practicing football. He spends his Friday nights playing football. His Saturdays and Sundays? Watching it.
Needless to say, the Gilmer senior is devoted to the sport. The Buckeyes starting quarterback the past three seasons, Godfrey is a creature of habit. That habit being, dedication.
"I have the experiences at quarterback I always dreamed of and put in a lot of hard work for it," Godfrey said Wednesday. "I just keep fighting until the end."
On Saturday, Godfrey will be a pair of wins away from the ideal ending. No. 1 Gilmer (13-0) meets third-ranked Cuero (13-0) in a Class 3A Division I semifinal at 6 p.m. at Bowers Stadium, located on the Sam Houston State University campus in Huntsville.
The ideal ending, of course, is the state title. It would be the Buckeyes' second of the decade and first since 2004. Two years ago, Godfrey quarterbacked them to the final; the effort, however, fell short.
That's not to say Godfrey and Co. have been short on effort, though. Godfrey, to the contrary, has played like the All-East Texas and all-state caliber player he's become. The 6-1, 190-pounder has completed 588 of 912 passes for 8,771 yards and 111 touchdowns during his career.
"He's a great competitor and a really great leader, on and off the field," said senior receiver and defensive back Tristan Holt. "He's always doing what's right. He's very smart, too."
Much like his maturity level and football knowledge, Godfrey's statistics have improved over three years.
The first three-year starter under head coach Jeff Traylor, Godfrey passed for 2,727 yards and 38 touchdowns during his sophomore season. He passed for 2,929 yards and 34 touchdowns during his junior season. He currently has 3,115 yards and 39 touchdowns during his senior year.
"(My sophomore season) it was fast and my head was spinning; I was just young," Godfrey said. "My junior year it started to slow down and I started to get it and make plays. This year, it's slow. You know where everybody is going to be; they know what decisions you are going to make."
Godfrey's sophomore season concluded with one of his more forgettable performances -- perhaps the only one. Playing with an injured thumb, Godfrey completed only 12 of 30 passes for 102 yards and a score in the Buckeyes' 38-13 loss to Liberty Hill in the 2007 Division I final.
To play injured gained the respect of his teammates, in addition to his coaches.
"I feel bad for the quarterback," Traylor said after the game. "You don't understand how wonderful he is. He's a great player, he's a great kid."
Thanks to many factors, Godfrey has been offered scholarships by Kansas State and Tulsa. His goal is to major in coaching, which would allow him to continue focusing on football.
"I would like to coach and become a teacher to let them experience what I've experienced," said Godfrey, one of the Buckeyes' 30 seniors. "God puts you on earth for a certain purpose. You've got to take that in and know what He wants you to achieve in life. You have to work towards that. When God's on your side, can't nobody be against you."
Shane Stark, Staff Sports Writer, Tyler Morning Telegraph