Thursday November 25, 2010
North Augusta, SC--For a number of high school players they found themselves on the football field earlier today, practicing and getting ready for a state playoff game. North Augusta star quarterback Loranzo Hammonds was one of them. Hammond has lots to be thankful for today.
That dream almost ended before the season started when an incident in North Augusta involving his dad and the police nearly led to his arrest. It was a big time eye opener for the senior.
"I'm blessed to get a scholarship from school and I realize that I have to pick that over all the other things I was doing outside of school." said Loranzo Hammonds "I had to realize the fact that things could be taken away from me so easy so I had to change what I was doing."
"Well I'm going to stand behind them 100%" said coach Dan Pippin "I would rather be wrong then just give up on a kid. Anybody who isn't like that isn't around kids very much."
Coach Dan Pippin certainly hasn't given up on anyone. With the support of the school administration things were taken care of and Hammonds got a little advice to take to heart.
"He just told me to make the right decisions and that a lot of people in North Augusta are going to be watching me so I have to keep my head on straight." added Hammonds
Hammonds matured as a player and is probably the best quarterback around and more importantly, matured as a person.
"From my 10th grade til now I think I have improved and I'm starting to be a young man." Hammonds said with a smile
On the field, an injury against Lakeside almost cost him the bulk of the season as well.
"They actually told me it could be worse then what it was. I went to O.A.A. (Orthopaedic Associates of Augusta) in the morning and they told me I'd be back within four to six weeks."
If that wasn't bad enough, he was suspended another game for sticking up for a teammate on the field.
"It was a teammate that was getting hit you know, way late." said Pippin "He stuck up for them which I'm never going to fault a kid on."
Through it all Hammonds has persevered and led the Jackets to the state semifinals. He's now the school's all time leading passer with over 5000 yards through the air, 83 total touchdowns running and throwing. Still, more work to be done in winning a title.
"It would set me apart from all the quarterbacks that came through North Augusta. It would be a big milestone for me in my career to win a championship for my school."
With Hammond's break neck style on the field, coach Pippin told him to tone it down a bit and slide every now and they to stay healthy for the playoffs. But now this deep in the post season, time to take the reigns off. After all Hammond has nearly 2000 career rushing yards as well.