Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t stop playing, opting to show the grit and resolve that makes him one of the area’s Hometown Heroes.
The Lakewood Ranch High alum was torched. Real bad. But the NFL veteran used his speed to catch up and make a key tackle in the New York Giants’ 17-9 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Later, he sealed the win with an interception.
DRC was given a more prominent role with New York’s secondary during the game against the Lions because star corner Janoris Jenkins left the game with a back injury.
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Shortly after Jenkins’ exit, DRC was at the forefront of possible criticism for blown coverage on Detroit’s Golden Tate.
The speed in DRC’s legs, though, still remains a key weapon in his game and he ran Tate down for a tackle inside the Giants’ 11-yard line in the second quarter.
New York recovered a fumble on the next play.
Eventually, the Giants’ defense stiffened and effectively ended the game when DRC, who tallied three pass breakups, picked off Matthew Stafford with a leaping grab in the end zone in the final minutes.
Detroit did get one final series and DRC was once again involved, securing a tackle on the game’s final play.
In total, DRC finished with a season-high seven tackles after bouncing outside as a cover corner to replace Jenkins from his slot role, and Pro Football Focus gave him an 83.4 grade. That’s the second-highest grade among New York players — offense or defense — for Sunday’s performance.
Meanwhile, the college football season is winding down for former area stars.
Southeast High alum Eric Thompson is injured at the moment, but his Youngstown State teammates are in position to capture the Football Championship Subdivision national title on Jan. 7 against James Madison.
And the Penguins should be favorites to take down JMU after the Dukes suspended seven players, according to the Harrisonburg (Va.) Daily News-Record, on Tuesday. Two of those suspended players didn’t participate in the semifinal win against North Dakota State. They were leading tackler Brandon Hereford and second-leading receiver Terrence Alls.
Four Manatee High alums and Southeast High alum Jacob Sannon are the county players most likely to play in various bowl games.
Former Hurricane Demarcus Christmas is set to play on Florida State’s defensive line in the Orange Bowl against Michigan on Dec. 30. Temple wide receiver Brodrick Yancy should start in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. South Florida punter Jonathan Hernandez (41.2 yards per punt) is playing in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29, and South Alabama long snapper Andrew Zink is in the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30.
Sannon, who has 24 catches for 245 yards this season, is playing in the Idaho Bowl for Idaho on Thursday.
Now here’s a look at other Hometown Heroes:
Reggie Smalls: A Southeast High alum, Smalls is playing college basketball at Miles College, a Division II school in Alabama. Most recently, Smalls is coming off his best 3-point shooting game of the season. He drained 4 of 5 from beyond the arc on Monday against the University of Tampa. His 14 points were the second-most he’s dropped this season. In late November, Smalls scored 22 points against North Alabama. He’s averaging 6.4 points per game in 11 games this season.
Nick Goody: The former State College of Florida standout has a new Major League Baseball home. Goody was traded to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash considerations on Tuesday. Goody, an Orlando native who also played college baseball at LSU, was designated for assignment by the New York Yankees last Thursday. He posted a 4.66 earned-run average in 27 relief appearances with the Yanks last season. Goody’s strikeout rate was good, fanning 34 batters in 29 innings.