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Hague: Harrison County's top sports stories of 2016

By Nathan Hague
Jan. 8, 2017 at 4 a.m.


When is telling someone 'happy new year' no longer acceptable? The reason I ask is because just like last year, I'm a about a week a late for writing my column highlighting the top sports moments of the year but heck, again like last year, I'm going to do it anyway.

Truthfully, I'm always somewhat hesitant in doing this because I always think I'm leaving off something big so if something comes to your mind that I don't mention, keep in mind it's not intentional but I have slept a time or two since then. These are in no particular order.

In my line of work, every now and then you watch an athlete who you know will have a bright future in sports and I feel like over the past year, I've gotten to see a handful of those student athletes.

One of those student athletes I got to see was Tiandre Jackson-Young. He tore it up on the basketball court by scoring more points than anyone in school history and then later made his presence known on the track where he finished second at the state meet in the long jump. He also came away with the Y.A. Tittle Male Athlete of the Year Award at the Best Preps Banquet last June.

For the third year in a row the Harleton Ladycats softball team went to state. Although they didn't come away as state champions, it was a great experience and they'll have a shot at going back in 2017. Harleton softball came close as did Hallsville baseball and softball so it'll be fun to see how they do this upcoming spring.

There were so many great story lines in football. It was a blast watching the Marshall Mavericks' season unfold and to see them improve right before our eyes. After losing their first three games to really talented teams, the Mavs bounced back and won six of their next seven games and earned a spot in the playoffs.

I'd be darn near impossible to talk about the Mavericks and not mention running back Cameron Haller. The senior rushed for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was such an explosive player and like Jackson-Young, I fully expect him to do big things in the future. Haller is set to play baseball at Texas A&M and before that happens, we still get to see him one more year as catcher for the Mavericks.

One of the best stories I covered, not just this fall, but for as long as I've been in this business was that of the Elysian Fields Yellow Jackets. Last spring, Kris Ephriam tragically lost his life in a car accident. The 'Jackets honored his memory by bringing his jersey to the 50-yard line before each game and the coaching staff picked a player from the week before to wear his No. 5 jersey the following game. The 'Jackets team motto was "Grind for 5" as they won 12 straight games and went three rounds into the playoffs.

I love that fact that Bert West, the all time winningest basketball coach at ETBU is back in the game coaching Waskom and I look forward to seeing how the program does under his direction over the next couple years.

Speaking of ETBU coaches, it was cool to see head football coach Scotty Walden become the youngest head football coach in the NCAA. I look forward to see what he does with the program and watch his career unfold.

There are several individual games in every sport that stand out as well and I know trying to recall some would be a disservice as I would definitely forget some that deserve to make the list. I look forward to covering more great games and being able to one day say, "I covered that their games in high school back in 2016."

(Contact Nathan Hague at nhague@marshallnewsmessenger.com)

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