School Spotlight: Daphne High School, Daphne, Alabama.

Daphne High School is a 4-year public high school located in the city of Daphne, Alabama, a Surburban town with approximately 26,000 residents’ residing apart of Baldwin County Public Schools. Home of the Trojans, Daphne High School first opened its doors to students with one main building in 1987 and has experienced an academic population growth over the years. In 2012, Daphne High School was honored as a National Blue Ribbon School as Alabama’s Public and Private Exemplary High Performing Schools. Not only limited to outstanding academics, but Daphne Athletics were also publicly recognized in 2012 for the Alabama High School Athletic Association Sportsmanship Award. With an enrollment size of approximately 1,400 students with a 93% graduation rate, Daphne High has produced notable alumni such as T.J. Yeldon (RB Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills), Ryan Anderson (LB NY Giants), Eric Lee (DE New England Patriots), Jeremy Clark (DT Philadelphia Eagles), and Kenny King (DT Baltimore Ravens). Daphne offers various academic programs including an International Baccalaureate Program, multiple AP courses, and dual enrollment opportunities that rank Daphne to be 40th within Alabama. Shifting into Trojan Athletics, Daphne High School competes as a 6A school and has attained two 6A State Championship Titles in both 2001 under Coach Savarese and in 2010 under Coach Vickery, who was inducted in the Baldwin County Varsity Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 2013, the Trojans Football Program led an undefeated season in region play but lost in the first round of the state playoffs. The current Head Football Coach is Coach Kenny King: the young Daphne Football star himself. He has had the honor in coaching notable alumni including Trent Battle, Running Back for TCU (appearance in 2022 National Championship) and Diego Guajardo, prominent Kicker/Punter for University of South Alabama, with 3 game-winning kicks.

Coach King will enter his 8th season as head coach at his alma mater, Daphne High leading the Trojans with a 27-17 record so far. King’s professional football career began in 2003, when he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals where he spent 4 years, then went to the Baltimore Ravens and retired in 2008. Coach King’s previous coaching experience begun as the assistant coach for the powerhouse school Hamilton High in Chandler, Arizona, for 3 years where he was working with the defensive line. Coach King has always paved a way impacting the community and young student-athletes, named after Kenny King Charities, established to ensure that athletes focus on academics while developing their football skills. The optimistic future of King’s coaching career withstands the next exciting chapter of bringing home that state title to Daphne by really changing the mental aspect of the game while playing fast. Still bleeding purple and gold, the hometown hero Coach King goes in depth in our 1-on-1 interview how his philosophy paves the right trajectory in bringing that ultimate success to Daphne.

“Our plan is to make sure that our kids have the knowledge of the game. When I look back at Daphne’s successful seasons including covid year, we brought on the mental side of the game so much that the physical side of the game came by playing fast. It all comes down to making sure that we are effective in everything we do, challenging the kids not only on the field, but in the classroom, weight rooms, and when things are going bad. It’s about taking advantage of the opportunities so that when we’re down, we find somebody that’s going to get us up.”

Trojans Head Coach, Kenny King

After discussing Coach King’s interpretation of his personal philosophy, we shifted into the measures as a coach and how that defines success as a coach. Coach King’s measure of success is determined by two things: teaching the kids and if they are willing to play for you. Coach King mentions it is easy to get caught up in measures of success based on wins and losses, but in this time of day, in today’s society, he measures it off the effectiveness of the kids and how they are becoming better men. Coach King’s overall purpose as a coach is so that once these young men leave his program, they go out to society and become upstanding men: great husbands, great sons, great fathers, and really have that sense of direction. To help achieve those morals and ethics set under Coach King’s regime, he mentioned the town of Daphne as a very supportive atmosphere for these young men to hold them accountable for that. As King mentions, “It is a great city with lots of support in academics and athletics, they have high expectations to produce successful teams here and really support the achievements of these young men”. Considering that King had the luxury to grow up in Daphne and now coach for his hometown, the atmosphere here is extremely exhilarating. Daphne is growing exponentially and serves as a great town to not only bond but produce highly successful athletic teams. While speaking with Coach King, something that stood out to me about the Daphne Trojans was the enthusiasm about the kids’ passion to reach their full potential.

“I’m most excited about this team because I know their hungry, they are hungry for success. They are humble and hungry. They are humble to understand they got to work to strive for that certain success, but hungry because their willing to work hard to really get it.”

Trojans Head Coach, Kenny King

Behind the scenes of the Daphne Trojans Football Program are the stars themselves who produce great work ethic, day in and day out. Honorably mentioned by Coach King are 9-star key players for the Trojans beginning with RB Nick Clark, OL Elijah Stevens, OL Cooper Donoghue, DT Tyler Durant, DE Talib Graham, DT Marquaes Lambert, FS Al Woodard, WR John Davis, and DL Colton Rainer.

Nick Clark is a 5″8 210lb. Class of 2024 RB prospect out of Daphne High, described as a “heavy hitter” by Coach King. Clark is All-State obtaining a great work ethic that is difficult to take down on the field.

Elijah Stevens is a 6’4 330 lb. Class of 2024 Offensive Lineman with great feet and very explosive.

Cooper Donoghue is a 5’11 262 lb. heavy hitter Offensive Lineman for the Class of 2024 with a very physical playing style on the front.

Tyler Durant is a 6’3 265lb. DT who been starting since a sophomore for Daphne, now entering his senior year next year. Durant has been named All-State, All-County, and All-Region with his extreme athleticism and powerhouse mobilities.

Talib Graham is a 6’3 240 lbs. DE C/O 2025 transfer from Chandler, AZ and now a Trojan at Daphne High School. Graham was recognized by Coach King for his various speed abilities, running a 4.5. Graham is very disruptive and great on the pass rush accomplishing an overall great job.

Marquaes Lambert is a 6’1 270 lb. DT out of Daphne High School, Class of 2025 prospect. Lambert is among many of the players that can really make it happen for the Trojans Football Program.

Al Woodard is a 6’3 175lb. CB/WR/FS versatile prospect for the Daphne Trojans (Class of 2024). Woodard is very athletic and has great vertical skills playing defensive back.

John Davis is a 5’10 145-pound Junior WR and Returning Starter for Daphne High. Coach King recognized Davis for his athleticism and ability to work with great hands.

Colton Rainer is a 6’2 236-pound DE entering his junior season for the Daphne Trojans, starting since a sophomore. The Class of 2025 prospect is a big-time wrestler that translates his very physical and aggressive playing style on the field with a high motor.

“These are the guys that make it happen.”

Kenny King.