THE CAPTION FOR DAMARKUS LODGE should read “Game-Changer.” In leading Cedar Hill to the Class 5A D II championship last season as a junior,
Lodge made dominating plays which keyed the
playoff run through the state finals. Lodge had
four first-half touchdown catches in the finale
of a late-night quadruple-header as Cedar Hill
beat Hebron, 42-21, at AT&T Stadium. Lodge
finished with six catches for 1 29 yards. In a
bi-district victory over Temple, he had nine
catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns.
In the state final win over Katy, Lodge led a
second-half rally. After touching the ball three
times in the first half — twice on short passes
and once on a 42-yard run from a direct snap —
Lodge started Cedar Hill’s comeback.
On a fourth-and-two late in the third quarter, Lodge ran 62 yards on a direct snap to cut
Katy’s lead to 24-16. He caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Justin McMillan to give Cedar
Hill the lead for good with 6:02 left.
Lodge, who finished the season with 22
touchdown receptions, was named the game’s
Cedar Hill Head coach Joey McGuire has
called his talented receiver the top 2015 recruit
in the nation. McGuire knows a thing or two
about recruiting the position. Cedar Hill sent
three wide receivers off on FBS scholarships in
2012: Quincy Adeboyejo (Mississippi), Travis Wilson (Nevada) and Brandon Harris (Iowa State).
Lodge played behind these college signees
as a sophomore, had six receptions, but times
“We’ve had juniors that were good, but maybe
weren’t quite ready for the big stage,” McGuire
said. “Dezmon Briscoe had a great senior year.
Adeboyejo had a great senior year. They were
learning as juniors. DaMarkus is already past
where they were as seniors.”
That spring when Lodge was a sophomore
he grabbed everyone’s attention during drills
against a bevy of proven talent at the Rivals
5-Star Underclassman Challenge. He moved
as smoothly as any player in attendance. When
one-on-one drills started, he simply kept the
attention he earned and has not looked back.
McGuire made a bold prediction that spring
to a gaggle of awestruck reporters at the Rivals
Camp: “If he stays on track, he will be the best wide
receiver we have had at Cedar Hill and will be the
best in the state, if not the nation. He is that good.”
The 6-3, 185-pound Lodge has speed and
athleticism. His acceleration is deceptive; his
long strides can help him separate just after a
few steps on defensive backs. Lodge’s fearlessness and confidence going against, running
past and out-muscling some of the best defensive backs in the state last season has accelerated his fame as a game-changer and Coach
McGuire’s reputation in the process.
Besides being one heck of a football coach
Joey McGuire is proving to be a prophet as well.
– David McNabb