Stephen “Stevie” Hammond has been one of the most productive football players in the young history of the Mingo Central Miners.
It’s hard to believe, but Hammond just finished his senior season. It seems just like yesterday he was a young, beardless freshman heading to the new consolidated school after a solid career at Matewan Middle School.
The short, stocky Hammond stands around 5-foot-8 and weighs in around a 190 pounds and served as the quarterback for Coach Yogi Kinder and his staff.
“I can’t believe that it has finally come to an end after the journey we have had. It has been an experience most football players couldn’t get,” Hammond said when asked about the season.
He led the Miners to the Class AA state semi-finals and a big upset over perennial power Bluefield in the quarter finals. Last year he helped Mingo Central win its first-ever playoff game.
“I will remember getting to the state semis and playing for a state championship for the first time in school history and all the games and practices with my team,” Hammond said when asked what will be some of his fondest memories.
The speedy Hammond put up some great numbers over his 4-year career. This season he rushed for 587 yards and 20 touchdowns. But as a passer he really improved. The senior threw for 2,249 yards completing 116 passes on 587 attempts.
Hammond was a first team Class AA all-state selection last year and should be a cinch to receive that honor this year. He was a 3-time Player of the Week selection this season for the Williamson Daily News and was nominated for the honor a couple of other weeks.
“I’ve matured more as I progressed through my years in high school and became more of a leader on the field,” Hammond added.
Even though he is not being recruited by Division One schools, several smaller colleges have contacted Hammond about continuing his education and grid iron career.
“I want people to know that size isn’t everything and if you work hard at something, eventually your hard work will pay off,” Hammond stressed.
“My plans right now is just to finish high school and weigh my options on about which school I would like to go to,” he added. “I would like to have the opportunity to play college football.”
Hammond had battled a shoulder injury this season and his final game is not the way he wanted his career to end. He reinjured the shoulder in the second quarter against Tolsia in the semi-finals and couldn’t finish the game. That pretty much nailed the coffin shut for the Miners.
Hammond, who also plays basketball and runs track at MCHS, hopes to be back on the hardwood sooner than later. He is a point guard and is still looking forward to playing for new coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson.
“The doctors have said it might be a couple weeks into the season to get back to basketball. I have to let the shoulder fully heal,” Hammond said about playing hoops this season.
“I just want to say thank you to the coaches and all the players I have played with for all the memories and making me a better person on and off the field and also to the Mingo central community for being behind us all the way,” Hammond concluded.
One thing is for sure, Hammond has left his mark on the football program at Mingo Central. He will be remembered in future years as one of the players who help build the program to respectability.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)