By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
His first name naturally causes people to take a second look.
“It’s funny,” said Demon (pronounced Duh-MAHN) Haire. “In class the first couple of days there is roll call and teachers call me Demon (DEE-mon). But after a few days, they get it down and they ask me if I am really a demon, but I am a good person. It’s nothing really.”
Haire, 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior strong safety from Atlanta, Texas, is in his second year starting in the Missouri Southern secondary. There’s a level of comfort for Haire back there as his cousin, Demond Horsley, starts at free safety.
“We played Little League together, we played middle school together,” Haire said. “If I don’t understand something, he can give me a better understanding of it. I know I have a lot of questions through the week, and he will just straighten me out before gametime comes. We will get that down.”
The Lions, looking to bounce back from last Saturday’s 16-13 loss to Southwest Baptist, tackle Central Missouri at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Warrensburg.
Haire knows he will busy as the Mules average 293 passing yards per game, second-best in the MIAA.
“I will do everything that the coach is going to do ... help the defense out and the people who surround me,” Haire said. “Mainly do your job first, and everything else will fall into place.”
Wide receiver Michael Nelson is growing to love playing on the Lions’ special teams.
“In high school (at Bixby, Okla.), it was not always something you wanted to do,” he said. “But starting this year, it has really become a highlight of the game for me. It is one play where I know I can just go all out and just try to hit somebody.
“You just make sure on special teams you do your part. You hustle, you give the most effort you can, and just make sure you are sprinting. That’s is the main thing we do.”
Like the rest of the receivers, Nelson is improving his blocking skills.
“It is something that is a lot more fun for me,” he said. “At first I didn’t think I would like it at all because you want the ball as much as you can get it. Then you start to realize that it is more of a team thing, and blocking really is more fun when you see the running backs breaking big runs because of your blocks.”
Nelson is questionable for this week’s game after suffering an ankle injury against SBU.
It appeared the Lions and Southwest Baptist would be scoreless at halftime when SBU’s quarterback was tackled inbounds with about 15 seconds left, and the Bearcats were out of timeouts.
A flag was thrown on the play for an illegal block, but after a discussion among officials, it was determined that no penalty occurred. However, the flag stopped the clock until the ball was marked ready for play, and that gave SBU time to get its field-goal team on the field and kick a 33-yarder with four seconds on the clock.
Had the clock not stopped, time most likely would have expired before the kick was made. Those three points proved to be big in the Bearcats’ 16-13 victory.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss officials,” Lions coach Daryl Daye said. “Obviously it gave them the opportunity to get the guy on the field. It happens.
“But that’s football. Sometimes you’re on the good side of it, and sometimes you’re not. The bottom line is we’re going to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game in the fourth quarter. All four games that we’ve played, we had a chance to win them in the fourth quarter. We got them three times, we didn’t the other night. Now it’s what did we learn from it ... and keep working.”