Friday, October 19, 2012
Sports News

Senior focus: Dane Eimer

Part 2: 'One game left. We just want to make the most of the opportunities we have left to play.'

By Justin Tierney

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[October 19, 2012]  It has been a season of highs and lows for the Lincoln Railer football team.

There was the stunning upset victory over Springfield High on homecoming.

There was the crushing loss to Springfield Southeast on a field goal in the final seconds.

There were moments of pride. There were moments of frustration.

But through it all, one constant for the Railers has been Dane Eimer.

A senior, Eimer has played nearly every down for Lincoln this season -- on offense, defense and special teams.

Many nights, he has also been the team's heartbeat, delivering fiery speeches in Railer huddles, making critical catches on offense and delivering vicious blows on defense.

In preparation for Friday night's season finale against Olympia at Handlin Field, Lincoln Daily News sports writer Justin Tierney sat down with Eimer this week to discuss the 2012 season.

Tierney: You mentioned hitting people. Do you like the physical nature of the sport, the aggressive part of it?

Eimer: Definitely. If I had the choice, I would play defense. I'd rather hit someone than get hit. It works out that I play both ways. It ends up being more fun, because sometimes I get to hit people on both sides of the ball, I guess.

T: I know you've got two older brothers and a younger brother. So you're the third of four boys. I'm sure there's been some roughhousing and things in your house, backyard brawls and things like that. Is that part of your love for football too? Just being your nature, having grown up in a house full of boys, that is probably pretty competitive.

E: Yeah, it could be. The roughhousing and all of that stuff that goes on during the summers. I had two older brothers to whip me into shape, keep me in line. We played a bunch of games in our backyard. Basketball, whiffle ball, tackle football that was one-on-one.

T: One-on-one tackle football? You and your brothers played one-on-one tackle football?

E: (Laughs) I don't know why we did it. It was weird, but it worked out that way. We'd have an all-time quarterback and go one-on-one in routes.

T: That's another thing I'd like to ask you about, being physical. No offense, but you're not the biggest kid on the team. What do you measure out at? Five-foot-11, 160 pounds?

E: It says 160 on the roster, but I'm probably 150 or 155. I'm probably 5-foot-10.

T: You go against bigger guys, but you've still been able to lay out some big hits. What's the key to you being able to hit people the way that you do?

E: Just determination and having no fear. I don't know how to say it. It's just going out there and not fearing being knocked down, because that's going to happen sooner or later. So, I try to knock other people down.

T: Is that your favorite part about playing safety? I've seen a couple times this year, where, based on your instincts, you've read the play and come up, gotten a head start, surprised some people. Do you agree with that?

E: Oh yeah. Safety is definitely, in my opinion, the best position on the field. Everything is in front of you. You react to it and you go hit somebody.

T: What about receiver? I talked to Coach Mac about you playing receiver, and it was something he said you really worked hard at this summer. Is it fair to say that being a receiver was something you had to learn a little bit more this year?

E: Yes. I mean, I've always played a little receiver, in junior high and freshman through junior. But I knew this year, I would have to be the top receiver, you might say, I don't know. I worked on my routes. I knew the routes, but I just got better at them. Being quicker.

T: So, you say safety is your favorite position. But is the catch against Springfield (to set up a winning touchdown on homecoming) your favorite moment on a football field?

E: (Laughs)

T: Or is it a big hit? I would guess the catch against Springfield is up there.

E: Definitely. It was a home game. I don't know. That whole game was just fun. But yes, that moment, that play, we'll say it was definitely a top three play, at least.

[to top of second column]

T: One thing that Coach Mac has told me over the course of the year is that you are a very fiery leader. I don't think you're a guy who makes a big show of it, but when your guys are in a huddle, you are screaming and yelling. Talk to me about that. How did you develop into a leader this year?

E: It's funny, because sometimes, other players try to find me to get something to say to get other players fired up. It's just the role of the leader or the captain role requires sometimes. It's just getting everyone fired up for the game, getting everyone fired up to play the opponent that week. I'm just in my role of captain, I guess. I know you have to play with passion. If you don't want to get knocked out, you have to be ready and focused to play your best, before you go out and play.

T: Over the course of the year, I think one of the most impressive things, not just about you but the whole team, is -- it's not always easy being a Lincoln High School football player. You lose games by wide margins. You have some things in the deck stacked against you. But you guys still love it. How do you stay so positive? How do you keep your love for the game, even in the hard times?

E: It's just going out there and playing every down, every second of the game, as hard as you can. If you do that, if you give it your all, you're successful. Most of the people on the team have that same attitude. Just getting a chance every Friday night, because you only get nine of them. Or at least the minimum we'd have this year was nine. And now we're getting down to the end. One game left. We just want to make the most of the opportunities we have left to play.

T: That leads me into my last few questions, and that's about the future. Are you wanting to play football in college? Have you made any decisions on that yet?

E: I haven't made any decisions. If (there's) an opportunity, I would enjoy playing football in college. If it doesn't work out, I had a lot of fun playing in high school.

T: So, if you choose not to play in college, this weekend could be your last football game. Has that crossed your mind at all? What does that mean for you?

E: It's definitely crossed my mind. But I try not to think about it. It's hard letting something go that you're so passionate about. You never want to let it go. The last football game? It's something you love, something you cherish. You never want to give it up. But, sooner or later, everybody has to move on. But you enjoy it while it's still here.

T: What do you think it'll be like on Friday? Before the game, doing things for the last time. What's that going to be like? Do you think you'll be emotional?

E: Definitely. It's an emotional game. The last time I have a chance to step on Handlin Field and give it all that I have for the team, going out there fighting with my buddies, out there on the field.

T: It just seems like for you, no matter what the score is, no matter the outcome -- the game itself is sacred for you. Is that fair to say? You just have a different opinion of it. Most kids, it's just something they do. They're just on the football team. For you, it's like a sacred place.

E: Definitely. It's just a game, but the seniors this year, it's been more than just a game. We've all grown up together, playing together. We love the game so much. We're passionate about it. Even when we're not winning, or things aren't going our way, we're still giving it our all. That's what was special about this senior group. We never gave up. Even when we're going both ways and we know it'll be tough.

T: So, how important is it for you guys to win on Friday?

E: I'd say we're going to go out there and give it our all and we're going to be on top, because we're going to play with more passion, we're going to play harder than the other team, because this is our last chance to do it as a Lincoln Railer. We want to be on top.


Part 1 of interview: 'It's just love for the game, I guess. I just play as hard as I can, and it's never giving up.'

Justin Tierney's Railer football reports

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