by Chris Edwards
Two recent Colmesneil High graduates are about to not only take a step into collegiate life, but are also set to take their football careers to the next level as teammates for the McMurry University War Hawks.
When Matt Bailey and Hayden Langston arrive on McMurry's campus in Abilene on August 13th, both young men have several years of playing various sports together as teammates, under their belts. They are looking forward to continuing playing together. "It's great to be able to keep playing," Langston said. "Football has always been my favorite sport to play."
Bailey signed on with McMurry while still a senior at CHS, while Langston signed with the War Hawks on Monday.
The two athletes definitely made their mark on Bulldog athletics during their high school days, particularly during their senior year, a year which Bailey and Langston both agree was about "breaking traditions." "We had some great players our senior year," Bailey said. "It was just a matter of making something out of it."
With Bailey as quarterback and Langston as an offensive and defensive lineman, the Bulldog team proved its bona fides during the 2013 season with a 10-2 overall record. Although both athletes have fond memories aplenty of playing for CHS, getting to continue on the gridiron and making new memories certainly presents a promising future. Each will also receive a $40,000 scholarship from McMurry, and they will start practicing with the War Hawk team the first night they are on campus.
Bailey and Langston both agreed that high school athletics was more about playing ball with friends and making memories. "It's also about knowing everyone," Bailey said. He said that although the pressure to win games is greatly increased in collegiate football, memories would still be made as well as new friends.
"Colmesneil has always been thought of as just a 'baseball school' but we've got three players who've signed-on to play college football," Langston said.
Langston noted that they might even get the chance to play against one of their former teammates, Cody Walsh, who recently signed-on to play with Wayland Baptist in Plainview. Furthering the "world keeps getting smaller" factor is the fact that the man who signed Langston to McMurry, offensive line coordinator/recruiting coordinator Adam Kirby, once coached for the Chester Yellowjackets, where Langston played his first year of high school football. Kirby's stint as Chester's head coach was after Langston left, however.
Before coming to Colmesneil, Langston also played six-man ball for a year in Moffat, Colorado. The transition from playing on six-man teams during his first two years of high school to 11-man football was a big one for Langston, but he favors the latter.
Bailey also experienced quite a transition during his high school career when he rose up from second-string status during his sophomore year when the first-string QB was injured. He parlayed his role on the team to such honors as being named 1st Team All District Quarterback.
They were also teammates on the Bulldog basketball and baseball squads, which also led to playoff appearances in their senior year, a feat Langston noted had not been witnessed before at CHS.
As far as memorable games go during their unforgettable senior year season, Langston and Bailey also agree that the particularly tense game against Iola stood out. "My brother said it was the best high school football game he'd seen," Langston said.
The game, which saw a 24-22 win for the Dogs, was the last game Bailey and Langston would play at Taylor Field and the first game of the season where they were down at half-time. "We didn't want to lose at home," Langston said. "It was our last home game." The nail-biter was tied in the last few seconds of play, with Bailey adding the conversion.
"It was a big moment," Bailey said.
Bailey and Langston, longtime friends and teammates, agree on a great many things and both hope to make their alma mater proud in the years to come.