Drop by the Bastrop High fieldhouse and chances are you will be greeted by a warm smile from Demarcus Haynes, a football manager, soccer player and distance runner for the Rams.
There isn't much that escapes the ever-observant Haynes' attention. If you are looking for a specific coach or athlete, Haynes is a human tracking system.
Since accepting head football coach and athletic director Thomas Bachman's invitation to join the team as a manager two years ago, Haynes has expanded his horizons to play soccer and track.
Finding his niche as a distance runner, Haynes has excelled on the track this season.
Winning the 3200 meters (two-mile run) in dramatic fashion last Wednesday, Haynes ran a heroic final lap to win the District 2-4A championship. He also added a second-place finish in the 1600m.
"Demarcus really shocked me at the District Meet," said Bastrop assistant track coach Jessica Pylant. "I thought he was kind of settling into the second position. But as soon as the gun fired, he kicked it in. Honestly, I thought he was going to burn out before he made it to the finish line, but he held on."
Haynes learned a valuable lesson a couple of weeks back at the Oil City Relays in El Dorado. With the race apparently in hand, Haynes began celebrating, and consequently, lost the race at the finish line.
"I would rather it happen now than at the District Meet," Bastrop head coach Sedarrin Freeman said at the time.
There was no premature celebration last Wednesday at West Ouachita.
"Haynes learned his lesson," Freeman said. "He didn't start celebrating until he got off the track."
While Haynes understandably took a few moments to bask in the glory of his individual district championship, his achievement didn't go to his head.
"After the District Meet, Demarcus called myself and coach Free aside and thanked us for everything we've done to help him get to this point," Pylant said. "He's so appreciative of the time you spend with him to get him ready to compete."
Coaching Haynes has been a pleasure for both Pylant and Free.
"I wish all of them gave 100 percent effort like he does," Pylant said. "He gives everything he has — every practice, every game, every meet."
Added Freeman: "If I could use some kids as a model as far as their work ethic, Haynes would definitely be one of them."
Whether carrying out his duties as a football manager or training for the Regional Meet, Haynes exhibits the same conscientious work habits.
"Having Haynes down here has been a good thing," Freeman said. "It's not like he's been in the way. He helps out as much as he can, whether it's helping us paint the field or getting the water ready for football practice. The kids have really taken to him."
Page 2 of 3 - In return, Haynes has repaid Bastrop High with an unyielding loyalty.
"He wants to represent this school, this family of athletes, well," Freeman said, "And he's done that."
BDE: When did you start running track?
Demarcus Haynes: I ran 10 years ago, then I started running again last year.
BDE: Why did you decide to start running again?
Haynes: Because I wanted to come out here and try to dominate everybody and I like coach Free pushing me to get better.
BDE: How did you get into distance running?
Haynes: Because it's about speed and endurance.
BDE: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of track?
Haynes: My favorite part is getting first place.
My least favorite part is losing.
BDE: You had a disappointing finish to a race in El Dorado a couple of weeks ago. What did you learn from that experience?
Haynes: I learned to do what coach Free tells me to do.
BDE: (Question asked by coach Freeman) What did coach Free tell you to do?
Haynes: To finish the race, then celebrate. When you celebrate before you finish the race, you lose.
BDE: Tell us about the 3200 at district.
Haynes: The dude from West Ouachita was beating me by 50 yards, but he started slowing down on the last lap. When I heard everybody cheering for me, it gave me some energy and I started running faster. I like hearing the cheers; it motivates me.
BDE: Tell us about your training regiment.
Haynes: I run cross country and coach Pylant has me run a lot of laps at track practice. I ran 10 quarters (Monday) and 10 quarters Sunday.
BDE: What are your goals for Wednesday's Regional Meet?
Haynes: To finish first, second or third, so I can go to state and run at LSU. There's going to be some good competition at Regional, but I'm ready for it.
BDE: What do you like about being a football manager?
Haynes: I like helping coach Bachman, coach Freeman, coach Pylant and coach (Jackie) Skipper. I just like being at the stadium.
BDE: I hear you're a pretty good basketball player.
Haynes: Yes, I make a lot of 3s and I can rebound.
BDE: What are your future plans?
Haynes: To go to college and try to run track and play football and basketball, and be a coach one day.
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