Players of the Pine Belt: East Marion linebacker Ladarien Haynes

Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 11:27 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - It’s Ladarien Haynes’ final season of high school football.

So he’s not taking any hot, miserable, sweaty summer workout for granted – especially as one of the few seniors among a young flock of East Marion Eagles.

“I really just gotta be the guy,” Haynes said. “I got to be the example for everybody, the whole team really. It’s no time for errors, no time for mistakes. It’s time.”

“We got some guys that are younger who I think can get the job done,” said East Marion head coach Jerry Fletcher. “They just haven’t been put in that situation. But when the season starts, I believe they’ll be able to come through for us. Ladarien and the other seniors, they do a good job of leading those younger guys.”

Haynes, known as “Shorty Mac” around Columbia, is a presence at linebacker and a crucial run-blocker on offense.

“I just like to make plays,” Haynes said. “I like to make big-time plays in big-time moments. Wide-back, I like to block. I like my running backs to see the end zone so I gotta be the guy helping them.”

Haynes is willing to do the dirty work – whatever it takes to get East Marion back to the playoffs and rectify a second-round loss at home.

“You go in the second round losing in your own backyard, it’s a different type of feeling,” Haynes said. “I feel like this year, anything other than a gold ball will be a disappointment.”

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