Entering Sunday’s regular season finale, the chatter surrounding the New York Giants-Washington Redskins secondaries revolved around Janoris Jenkins and Josh Norman.
Jenkins, who turned in a Pro Bowl season for New York, was making his return to New York’s lineup after sustaining a back injury Dec. 18 against Detroit, while Norman burst onto the scene with last year’s Super Bowl run with the Carolina Panthers that led to a lucrative offseason contract from Washington.
Hometown Hero Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, though, stole the headlines.
DRC, a Lakewood Ranch High alum, shined with the sixth multi-interception game of his career. He also picked off a pass for the third consecutive game.
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DRC’s final interception in Sunday’s game also sealed the Giants’ victory, which doubled as an elimination of the Redskins from playoff contention.
Garnering a 92.0 rating from Pro Football Focus, DRC was at the forefront of the key plays in Sunday’s win.
He even almost added a field goal block in the second half. Coming from the edge, DRC dove and just missed the block with his outstretched hands. That field goal trimmed New York’s lead to three points, before DRC, who added three tackles and two pass breakups, iced it with his second pick of Kirk Cousins late in the fourth quarter.
Jenkins, who left the game early and is a limited practice participant so far this week, and DRC could form a dominant tandem in defending passes when the playoffs begin this weekend. New York travels to red-hot Green Bay, winners of six straight, on Sunday.
DRC, meanwhile, is enjoying his best season since he tallied six interceptions and 25 pass breakups for Arizona in 2009.
DRC wasn’t the only Hometown Hero to thrive during the holidays. Here are some others that stood out during the college football bowl season and beyond:
Bo Scarbrough: Welcome to the Bo Show, college football fans. A member of IMG Academy’s inaugural football team, Scarbrough delivered in a big way for Alabama at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.
The national semifinal game saw Scarbrough set a Crimson Tide bowl game rushing record with 180 yards on 19 carries. He added two touchdowns as Bama rolled past Washington, 24-7, to advance to the national title game against Clemson on Monday in Tampa.
Danny Walker: The Lakewood Ranch High alum used his holiday break from the University of Virginia to claim a prestigious amateur golf title.
Walker fired three straight rounds in the 60s to win the South Beach International Amateur on Dec. 22 in Miami.
Playing Miami Beach Golf Club and Normandy Shores Golf Club, Walker compiled a 13-under-par 270 total for the 72-hole tournament. That was good enough to edge American Philip Barbaree by one shot for the championship.
South Florida: If it was the last game in former Manatee High coach Joe Kinnan’s career, then he went out a fitting way: with a win. USF defeated South Carolina, 46-39, in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29.
Manatee High alum Willie Taggart’s departure for Oregon last month left the fate of his assistants with the Bulls up in the air. Kinnan and defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie were two assistants with Manatee County ties.
New head coach Charlie Strong is reportedly bringing in two assistants, both on the offensive side, to USF from his time in Texas.
Kinnan told the Bradenton Herald “whatever happens, happens,” as far as his future goes. The 71-year-old also added that “most of (my career) is in the rear view mirror.”
Manatee High alums Jonathan Hernandez and Greg Reaves both played in the Birmingham Bowl victory. Reaves didn’t register a stat, while Hernandez boomed four punts for 166 yards. His 41.5 average included a high of 51 yards.