Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's Dario Hamilton

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 2, 2008

By Ronnie Gallagher
You’d think after three seasons of being run over, run by and run ragged by Dario Hamilton, Central Davidson would have had an answer for the Salisbury tailback when the Hornets met the Spartans on Monday.
Yeah, you’d think. And you’d be wrong.
Hamilton continued his personal onslaught against Central in Salisbury’s 60-0 wipeout. He carried the ball just 10 times but finished with 164 yards, three touchdown runs and a lot of head-shaking by Central’s defensive coaches and fans.
“They think he’s in his fifth year, I believe,” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan chuckled. “The conference is going to be glad he’s graduating.”
For the record, Hamilton finished his career with 710 yards and 10 touchdowns against the Spartans. His latest effort left him with 3,027 yards, 82 from Tyris Davidson’s school mark.
“I don’t know the answer,” Pinyan shrugged. “It’s not like Dario is any more fired up against them. Things just happened for him.”
Hamilton doesn’t know the answer, either.
“I don’t think about it,” he said. “I just play hard.”
Hamilton remembers his freshman season against Central, not just because of his coming-out party where he averaged 25 yards per carry in the driving rain. He said he bought the Salisbury Post photo of raindrops falling on his head.
He “only” averaged 16 yards per pop Friday but the rain still had him playing in a soggy conditions.
“The field was real nasty,” Hamilton said.
“That’s another 200 yards taken away from him by playing on a wet field,” Pinyan grinned.
Hamilton scored on runs of 6, 41 and 45 yards. So what did Pinyan want to talk about? His blocking.
“I thought without the football, he and A.J. (Ford) probably played better,” Pinyan said. “They were blocking for each other and sending bodies flying.”
Pinyan credited Hamilton with quarterback John Knox’s 38-yard scoring run.
“Dario cleared a path,” Pinyan smiled. “The guy who is supposed to take the quarterback is laying on his back. It was that way all night long. It was just amazing.”
Pinyan realizes he probably could’ve gotten Hamilton the school record with a few more carries, but that’s not how this offense works. He took his star out midway through the third quarter.
“I don’t think that’s important to him,” Pinyan said of the record. “We want our backs to be unselfish.”
That’s why Hamilton and Ford cheer each other on.
“We see it as, I get the ball, he gets the ball. I block, he blocks,” Hamilton said. “It’s a team thing. You can’t win games if you don’t play together. So we share the ball.”
Hamilton, who calls himself a balanced back with speed and power, has impressed colleges. Western Carolina has already offered the speedster a full ride.
His resume will be even more impressive when he breaks Davidson’s mark, perhaps as soon as Friday night at home against East Davidson.
“I haven’t thought about it,” he said. “If it happens, it happens.”
Pinyan loves that attitude. Unlike some stars, Hamilton doesn’t worry about his number of carries or yardage.
“You talk about all he’s done,” Pinyan smiled. “But the bottom line is, he wants us to win.”