Files signs with Hendrix College

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Above, Dane Files with his family, on front row, parents, Ashley and Mark Files. On second row are Kenzie Lipa, granmother Penny Shelton, great-aunt Sandie Parker and aunt, Maggie Morgan. On back row are grandfather Rodney Shelton and Coach Aaron York.

Come on, play football with us this year. We’ll have fun! Can’t you just hear teens urging a friend to pick up the pigskin and join the team so they can hang out and have fun? Thankfully one St. Mary’s senior listened to his friend and played football for the Tigers his senior year. And what a senior year it was! His time on that 100 yards of turf led to his recruitment and ultimate signing to play college ball. Dane Files signed his letter of intent to play at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark.

This article published in the May 8-9, 2021, print edition

And yes, he only played one year of his high school career but in that year, one where he had over 600 yards receiving, he got nods for All-District and nominations for All-State by both the sports writers association and the coaches association. Coach Aaron York said Files got his body in shape, but most importantly, had is academics in shape which always helps in the recruiting process.

Triston Mitchell congratulates Dane Files

York, who had Hendrix head coach Buck Buchannan as his defensive coordinator in college, said Files was a really good fit for Hendrix. “I’m just glad I got him for one year. He has such a competitive nature that will help him excel. He fits their (Hendrix’s) program and their program fits him.”

Dane Files signed his letter of intent to play wide receiver at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., at a ceremony at St. Mary’s Catholic School Thursday, May 6. Files, seated, is shown with his football teammates. Photos by Juanice Gray

York said Files’ height is his upside. “He has great reach and coordination.” Files chose Hendrix after York urged him to visit. His parents, Ashley and Mark Files, said the academic program, facilities and the fact it is a private school made it the right choice for them. So how did Files gain the attention of recruiters after only one year on the field? His innate athletic ability. His family lives in Winnfield and were drawn to St. Mary’s when Dane played on the SMS travel baseball team.

Mark said the distance from home to school was a deterrent to Dane playing every sport he wanted. He played football in junior high, then said the next three years he dedicated to baseball and golf, earning All-District nods in both. Then that conversation with his friend, Triston Mitchell, finally got him on the field. Having his driver’s license so he could get himself to and from practices was also a plus according to his parents. Dane, a wide receiver, said the highlight of his year was a catch in a game against Logansport. “I carried a kid on my back into the end zone.” He said.

He appreciates York getting his game films out to recruiters. He was also approached by two Mississippi colleges but knew he wanted to go north. Mark said they have hunting land in Arkansas not far from Conway and really like the area and have contacts that live there. So, the kid with a dream season will have many opportunities. He can pursue his love of athletics while pursuing a degree in either business or environmental science.

York told the assembly at the signing, “We’ve had five college recruiters come in this week. You get your academics in order and the other stuff will fall into place.” It also doesn’t hurt to have friends who push you to make the most of your abilities.