MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

October 26, 2006

For the love of it

Football drove this pair to Hilldale

After telling his story for about 20 minutes, Justin Morris shared what he thought it took to be noteworthy in any field of athletics.

“You have to have heart to play a sport to be good at it, no matter how big or small you are,” he said.

Morris, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound lineman on Hilldale’s football team, takes care of the big part. His teammate, Colton Swon, fits the small category at 5-8 and 140 pounds.

Still both, as their coaches and teammates can attest to, have heart. Furthermore, both current seniors had to listen to that organ when it came to deciding on whether they wanted to play football in high school.

Morris left Oktaha, one of the area’s most successful athletic programs but without a football team, at the end of his freshman year. Swon, who attended Hilldale during elementary school, left Oktaha as well after his eighth grade year. Although both players said they enjoyed their time with the Tigers, they are both thrilled about being able to play their final home game for the Hornets in this year’s edition of Senior Night.

“I really missed the game too much, but I don’t regret going to Oktaha. I made some lifelong friends down there,” said Swon, who added that he met his girlfriend of four years while in Oktaha. “I’m glad I have those years at Oktaha, but I’m glad I have those years on the field, too. I would have regretted that big-time.”

Hilldale coach Don Hendrix knows what Swon is talking about. He remembers getting a hug from a player who was a senior and had just played his last game for Hugo when Hendrix served as the head coach there. The boy came from Soper, a school much smaller than Oktaha that does not have a football team as well.

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