Three fall sports? Daniels says yes to Jimmies

Photo submitted /Jimtown's Isaac Daniels controls the ball for the Jimtown soccer team earlier this month. Daniels is playing three sporst for the Jimmies this fall, soccer, football and cross country.

Jimtown junior Isaac Daniels doesn't go to work or go home and relax when his school day is finished. 

Instead, Daniels, who transferred last spring from Goshen High School to Jimtown, is a rare three-sport fall athlete, as he competes for the football, soccer and cross country teams for the Jimmies.

He is a kicker on the football team, a center-midfielder and striker on the soccer team and he's one of the top two runners in cross country.

"When I first moved (to Jimtown) I wasn't sure if there was going to be a boys soccer team this fall," said Daniels. "We didn't know that was going to happen until the end of the year. I knew for sure I wanted to play soccer. My uncle (Travis Daniels) is one of the assistant football coaches and he told me to try kicking the football. I did it and I liked it quite a bit. I always wanted to run for the cross country team. I was going to do all three sports if I was given the opportunity and Jimtown's coaches were very accommodating.

Daniels had had one of his lighter workloads athletically this past Tuesday. Daniels went to football practice and kicked and then he attended a cross country meet.

There's a daily schedule on a marker board at home.

"I write everything down for each day and make sure there's no conflicts," Daniels said.

He's able to attend most practices and games.

"When it comes to practices I go to football practice from 3 to 3:30 or 3:45 and kick for a half hour, then I go to soccer practice and usually I can make it to cross country practices. If I can't make it to cross country practice I run on my own. 

"I haven't had any conflicts yet when it comes to games and I don't think I will. Normally cross country meets take place on weekdays or we have Saturday meets. There was one complication with a soccer game at Elkhart Christian and a cross country meet at Tippecanoe Valley that both took place this past Saturday. There were other kids that were on the soccer and cross country teams and the soccer was rescheduled on Saturday to a later time so everyone could make it to the cross country. I've never missed a football game because they're on a Friday night."

Because of his talent, coaches are happy to share Daniels.

"He's an exceptional athlete," said Jimtown football coach Mike Campbell. "He has explosive speed and he possesses tremendous energy and stamina. Isaac is the best player on the soccer team and he's one of the best runners on the cross country team. Because he's a very energetic kid it benefits him to play three sports."

Campbell got introduced to Daniels' strong right leg this past summer during 7-on-7 practices.  

"His uncle said that there's a kid that can probably kick for us," Campbell said. "The first time he was kicking the ball it was ending up in the end zone. I looked at Travis and told him that we now have a weapon on special teams. Having someone that can kick the ball in the end zone and kick long field goals is a nice luxury to have."

Because of Isaac's ability to kick the ball in the end zone, Glenn was only able to reach Jimtown territory once in last Friday's 28-3 Jimmies win. That happened after a Jimtown fumble. 

"It's a big deal to have a kicker," Campbell said. 

Daniels has made all 11 of his PAT's and connected on a 43-yard field goal.

"That kick probably would have been good from 50 yards," Daniels said. "I thought it was a pretty solid kick."

Daniels is just as impressive to watch as a runner. Along with being on the cross country team, Daniels is a member of the track team. He's been a sprinter and long distance runner for Jimtown cross country and track coach Joe Linville. 

"He doesn't get to do any speed work for us," said Linville about Daniels' availability for cross country.  "He's done distance runs for us a couple times during practices. If he did speed work for us he would be an even better runner. But you take what you can get and we're glad to have him. 

"He did a lot of stuff this summer that helped prepare him for the cross country season. Three days during the week he ran and he also had some Sunday runs.

"I like seeing him kick for the football team and he by far is our best soccer player.

"There have been times where he has literally gone to soccer practice and then run a (cross country) meet or gone to football practice and then competed in a meet. Not many people can pull that off."

Daniels doesn't take a break from sports during the winter. Indoor track, powerlifting and Futsal (indoor soccer with a smaller, harder ball) keep Daniels busy in the colder months.

The 16-year old has a favorite sport.

"I would say soccer is my favorite since I've been playing soccer for almost my entire life," said Daniels, who has scored 13 goals this year for the Jimmies. "I'm most attached to soccer."

Daniels hits the books as hard as he kicks footballs and soccer balls. He owns a 3.7 grade-point average that he hopes goes higher at Jimtown.

"Since I've come to Jimtown I've been working a lot of harder and I think I can get to a 4.0 or 4.1 GPA," Daniels said.

"I'm juggling 4 (advanced placement) classes right now. I work hard during the day and that helps me have less homework. I find time during the evening to get all my school work done."

Daniels plan for the future is to maintain his high school athletic schedule, while appreciating his time at Jimtown High School.

"The coaches have been great and the people here are really nice," he said. "It's a very homey small school."

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