A balloon release is set in memory of a Marshall High School student killed during a vehicle rollover on Wednesday in Harrison county.
Hayden Alexander Blalock, 17, of Marshall will be honored during the 3:45 p.m. Friday balloon release at Marshall High School’s Maverick Stadium.
Guests and students are also asked to wear red on Friday in Blalock’s honor.
Dairy Queen of Marshall is set to host “Give Back Night“ from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday where they will donate a portion of sales to the Blalock family.
Funeral services for Blalock have been scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday in the Maverick Gymnasium at Marshall High School.
Blalock, a senior who played defensive tackle on the Maverick’s varsity football team and was active in the Marshall FFA, was killed about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday while driving to school.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jean Dark said in a released crash report that the one vehicle wreck happened when Blalock was headed west on FM 1997 near CR 4008. He reportedly struck a wild hog in the road, causing his pickup truck to veer off the roadway and roll several times.
“The vehicle went off the roadway to the right were it struck a culvert at CR-4008 and rolled over several times,” the report read. “The unrestrained driver was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene by Judge Nancy George.”
Marshall ISD officials on Wednesday said the Maverick community was devastated by the news of Blalock’s death.
“Hayden was an extremely popular student and was a member of the Maverick football team and was also very involved in the Marshall FFA as an active welder,” Marshall ISD Superintendent Jerry Gibson said on Wednesday. “He was a true gentleman and a role model for all of our students.”
Blalock is the fifth Marshall ISD student to die this year, Gibson said.
“Each death has been hard but today was probably a little more raw because Hayden was actually on his way to school this morning when the accident happened,” Gibson said. “Many of our teachers and students did not know of the accident when they arrived to school this morning.”
The Marshall Ministerial Alliance assisted school counselors with grieving students on Wednesday and will continue to be on hand as needed.
Marshall ISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jake Griedl said Blalock was an inspiration to his teammates his four years as a Maverick football player.
“He was by far one of the hardest working kids in the program,” Griedl said. “He always had a smile on his face and brought an energy to the locker room that will be hard to replace. He’s going to be missed.”
Griedl said he met with the football team this morning after news of Blalock’s death was known.
“That’s something they don’t train you on in administrative training,” he said. “We told our team right there because we wanted them to hear it from us before they heard it on social media or before they got to the high school. It was very tough. It’s a tough loss.”
Griedl said the team will also plan a way to honor Blalock further on in the football season to honor his memory.
“Hayden is one of those guys that every team, principal and superintendent wants to be part of their district,” Griedl said. “He carries himself to such a high standard and find the light in every dark situation. Everyday he found a way to encourage his teammates and coaches and it was the exact same way in the high school. He lived above reproach.”
Gibson said Blalock was a longtime Marshall FFA member.
“Hayden was a great leader in our FFA program, a great welder and worked on any project that he could,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the Maverick students and staff are in mourning.
“There’s no right or wrong way to mourn,” Gibson said. “I’ve also learned, the majority of the time, the students want to mourn together. They remember the memories and they cry together so as a district, we just prepare to support them in that way.”
Blalock was the son of Craig and Danielle Blalock and sibling of Payton and Emily Blalock. Payton is a Marshall High School graduate while Emily is a sophomore at Marshall High School and serves on the varsity cheer team.
“Please join us as a community as we wrap our arms around Hayden’s family, friends and loved ones during this extremely difficult time,” the district said.