By JUSTIN RAINS
National Signing Day at Cayuga High School Wednesday was a bit unusual, because no player that played for the Cayuga football team in 2012 signed a National Letter of Intent to play football.
But, two Wildcats did ink letters to move on to the next level, as Chris Hardy and Chantz Holland signed in the Cayuga High School gym.
Hardy, who was forced to sit out the 2012 football season due to eligibility issues with the UIL, signed to play football at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, while Holland — who did play football in 2012 — signed to play baseball at Vernon College.
CHRIS HARDY, SESU
The name Chris Hardy might not resonate to many local football fans because of the aforementioned lack of playing time in 2012, but when he did hit the field, he was a force.
One of Cayuga’s best players in 2011, Hardy excelled both on the football and on the basketball court. After not being able to do either in his senior season, he said he’s driven even harder to succeeded.
“I never expected this,” he said. “I feel like I have more motivation, something really to work for. I came from doing nothing to doing something positive for my friends and fans and the whole Cayuga community.”
He joins a Savage Storm football program that finished 4-6 in 2012 and plays in the Great American Conference, made up of teams from Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Hardy, who committed on his official visit to the Durant, Okla., campus, said he chose SESU because of the school’s history of strong academics, among other things.
“I liked the atmosphere and, most importantly, the tradition of the school,” he said. “They have some of the best majors for this economy now. The people there are nice and, the food’s delicious, most importantly.”
CHANTZ HOLLAND, VERNON
Pretty soon, Vernon College intrasquad games are going to become Cayuga High School alumni games.
With Holland’s signature on his LOI, he’s set to join former Cayuga teammates Jimmy Johnson and Jake Nash, who are both already seeing significant playing time in their freshman seasons at Vernon.
That familiarity helped Holland in his decision.
“When I went up there I liked the team a lot,” he said. “It helps that I know people, because I can go up and be myself.”
With Johnson’s departure, Holland is now the ace of the Cayuga staff as the Wildcats try and continue their streak of strong postseason appearances.
Taking the reins of the staff will be easier now that his future is set, Holland said.
“It’s going to take a lot of weight off of my shoulders, knowing that I don’t have worries this season,” he said.
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at email@example.com