Boonville seniors Jalen Poindexter and Damario Walker led by example on opposite sides of the ball this season for the Boonville Pirates football team.
While Poindexter was the main cog on defense at the linebacker position, Walker did his thing on the offensive side of the ball not only as a receiver but as a running back in the Wildcat formation.
But that’s not all. While leading the secondary this past season for the Pirates, Walker impressed both the coaches and Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association enough to be selected second team all-state at receiver (media) and third team all-state at defensive back (coaches).
As for Poindexter, he too, impressed the media with his solid play night in and night out while earning second-team all-state honors.
Boonville Pirates football coach Devin Brown said for Poindexter and Walker to be selected all-state obviously shows what they accomplished this year.
“It’s tough to make all-state obviously and for Jalen and Damario to get that it’s great for them to be recognized,” Brown said. “Honestly, I am always surprised because you don’t know who is going to make it and how they are going to get voted. You just never know because you think this kid might make it and this kid might not but you are happy when they get on.”
As one of the top linebackers in the state in Class 3, Poindexter picked up where former great Wes Davis led off in 2011 as the team’s leading tackler.
Although Coach Brown admits that he didn’t know what to expect out of Poindexter this season, he said Jalen more than exceeded his expectations.
As the leading tackler on the team with 97 solo stops and 53 assisted tackles, Poindexter also finished the season with two sacks, three forced fumbles and one blocked field goal. He also had 10 games where he finished with 10 tackles or more and played perhaps his best game against Class 4 Hannibal with 13 solo stops and seven assisted tackles. Poindexter also had a 18 tackle night against the Fulton Hornets while finishing with 11 solo stops, seven assisted tackles and one sack.
“When the season started we talked about Jalen and how good he was going to be and then in the first game against California it was a little bit rough for him,” Brown said, “and then all of a sudden he started clicking and finally took over the role. In the first few games kids are finding out where they fit in and he was so used to having Wes (Davis) there and running the show and making all of the calls and then all of a sudden he had to do it and he took over. To see what he did and how well he played all year long he definitely exceeded my expectations. He was pretty dang good there at the end.”
Page 2 of 3 - Poindexter said he was shocked to learn he had made all-state.
“We have been through a lot this year,” Poindexter said. “It was tough but we came through. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Wes Davis. He taught me a lot and has made me who I am today and made me a way better player. Also, coach Newham has been through a lot with me. Even though I was a pain at times he made me way better and the player that I am today.”
Of course Poindexter also did his part with a 20-game effort against Hannibal. He said that was his best game of the season.
“The Hannibal game was probably my best game,” Poindexter said. “They are a Class 4 school so to have a good game against a really good team means a lot.”
As for the highlight of his career, Poindexter said it was going 6-0 in the conference last year and winning districts. “Last year was a fun season,” Poindexter said. “We won both conference and districts and finished 10-2 so that was a great season playing with all the guys.”
While Poindexter did his thing on defense, Walker showcased his skills night in and night out on the offensive side of the football.
As the team’s leading receiver this past season with 34 catches for 515 yards and three touchdowns, Walker also ran for 271 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns.
Of course Walker only topped the 100-yard mark once this season with seven catches for 118 yards and one touchdown against the Centralia Panthers. He also had two games where he finished with over 70 yards receiving, with three catches for 75 yards in the season opener against California and five catches for 78 yards and one touchdown against Mexico.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, Walker finished the season with 29 solo stops, 20 assisted tackles, four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
As far as his best game, Walker had 11 total tackles against Moberly with seven solo stops and four assisted tackles. He also had eight tackles in the season opener against California with five solos and three assisted.
Brown said Walker was used in a number of different ways this season. “We used him at quarterback, running back, receiver, punt returner and kick returner,” Brown said. “He was also our lockdown corner. You have to have athletes with some skill and speed and that’s what Damario had. Damario also took his job seriously. He watched film and had hours in when a lot of kids had minutes, so that’s how much he cares and how dedicated he was in doing it.”
Page 3 of 3 - Walker said it was kind of shocking to make all-state on defense because he didn’t feel like he did enough.
“I felt like I could have done a lot more,” Walker said. “I am excited to have it, though. It’s a good thing to hold to and look back at your high school career and know you did enough to get all-state.”
As for the highlight of the season, Walker said it was probably Kirksville. In that game, Walker said he had a kick off return for a touchdown to start the second half and had a long catch right before halftime.
“As far as my career I would say it had to be last year,” Walker said. “We finished 6-0 in the conference and also won districts.”