With a week left before the start of the high school football season it looks as if Dayne Hammond will be playing wide receiver for the Boardman Spartans after all.
Following an unprecedented week that saw Hammond walk away from the Boardman football program and post on his Facebook page that he would be enrolling at Warren Harding, the senior was seen practicing with the Spartans on Thursday. The OHSAA denied Hammond’s request to join the Raiders in 2011. In order for Hammond to attend Harding, his parents or legal guardians would have had to make a bona fide move to the Warren school district. That move was never made.
According to rookie Boardman head coach Mark D’Eramo, the decision to allow Hammond to don a Spartans helmet once again was made amongst the team and was for the betterment of everyone in the program.
“It was an in-house decision,” said D’Eramo as his team was preparing for a weekend scrimmage with Howland. “It was good for the entire team.”
There is no doubt that Hammond is indeed a good player and will help the Spartans succeed. He starred for the Spartans last season recording nearly 700 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. At 6-feet, 5 inches, Dayne is a disaster for any high school defensive back to contain in coverage. Hammond also helped out in the Boardman secondary where he blanketed opposing receivers as a defensive back. There are a few Division I colleges recruiting Hammond although this latest incident of indecisiveness may not impress college coaches. His current coaches will be looking for a little bit of respect too.
“(Dayne) must still earn back the respect of his teammates,” D’Eramo said. “There will not be a suspension or anything like that, but there are little things he must answer to.”
The Spartans learned of Hammond’s change of heart last Sunday. At that time, the slender pass catcher made his intentions to get back to practice as soon as possible. He will not participate in the team’s final scrimmage with Howland and will have to “earn back his starting spot” for the season opener with Cleveland Benedictine, according to coach D’Eramo.
Although he wasn’t welcomed back with much fanfare, it is certain that the Spartans will once again lean heavily on this senior’s superior pass snatching abilities. Another heroic season by Hammond at Boardman may be just what he needs to get back in everyone’s good graces.