Warrick Dunn Award finalist and Parkview Baptist quarterback Reggie Hayes is a little guy, who puts up big numbers and wins even bigger games.
Hayes is particularly impressive rushing the football, with nearly 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns. He spearheaded the Eagles to the Division II state championship and was named the MVP.
"I would probably say my size and my speed. Because when the lineman stand up, you basically can't see me, and then when you do, it's too late," said Hayes about what makes him so hard to get a hand on.
"I tell people he's a 4.3, 4.4 40, but he's quicker than he is fast. And he has the ability to move at top speed and make cuts at any time," said Parkview Baptist head coach Jay Mayet.
Before Parkview could reach the Superdome, that had to finally get past the nemesis that had defeated them in that building the year before. The Eagles ending a long losing streak to U-High in the state semifinals, with Hayes rushing 168 yards and also racking up nearly 90 yards on kick returns.
"We knew we could beat them. It was just a matter of going out there and doing it and not making any mistakes," Hayes said.
Jacques: "And you were open on a pass?"
Hayes: "Yeah I was."
Jacques: "Just a little too far."
Hayes: "Yeah I couldn't catch up to it. Wasn't fast enough."
In the state title game against St Thomas More, Hayes ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns. However, it was a rare pass completion with less than two minutes to play, that delivered the game-winning score.
"All I can remember was going to line, being as tired as I could be. That is literally the only time you'll hear me say I was tired," Hayes said. "When I sprinted out and saw Ruffin open, I just hit him right there. Because Coach Mayet was always on me at practice about waiting on the curl route and not hitting the flat.
"And when I saw him on the flat route I just prayed I'd get it to him. I was just hoping he wouldn't go out of bounds and I'm glad he didn't, because we won the game on it."
"I don't know if we'll ever have another one like him, and asking the next guy stepping up, to do what he did, is a little unrealistic. And that's obviously a testament to Reggie," Mayet said.
The winner of the Sportsline Player of the Year Award will be announced at this year's Warrick Dunn banquet on Wednesday, January 27.
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