Deon Ellison sat on the field, overrun with emotions after East Hall’s 71-58 win against Fannin County on Friday. He was gassed from his 231-yard, four-touchdown performance in Gainesville.
Ellison’s hard-nosed running was the reason the Vikings (3-7, 1-5 Region 7-AAA) were able to finish the season on a promising note. However, the East Hall senior was most consumed with the uncomfortable realization that his high school career was finished.
“I was just thinking to myself, ‘wow, it’s over,’” said Ellison, whose longest running score was 60 yards against the Rebels.
Ellison said he sat on the grass for an extended period of time, not able to look at the scoreboard that flashed all zeros on the time clock.
Seeing his teammate sitting alone on the ground, Vikings’ fellow senior Markese Jackson came to pick him up emotionally and extend a hearty congratulations on a game well played as the Vikings put up a single-game school record for points.
In addition to four scoring runs, the 175-pound Ellison was in on between 180 and 190 out of 214 snaps, according to East Hall coach Bryan Gray, who also utilized the running back as a pass-rushing defensive end.
For his efforts, Ellison is The Times Football Player of the Week.
“Deon’s been a truly special player in our program,” said Gray. “He’s the type of kid who shows up on time for every workout, every practice and gives it 100 percent.”
According to Gray, Ellison was able to have such a phenomenal performance in his last outing for the Vikings due to his ability to keep going after getting hit. Ellison would break at least two tackles on every big run, Gray said.
“His yards after contact were astronomical,” said Gray.
The icing on the cake for Ellison was his final carry for East Hall ended with him in the end zone after a short run. The East Hall running back finished his senior year with 829 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Ellison said on one of the long runs against Fannin County, he could hear his offensive linemen cheering him on as they ran a convoy down the field.
“They were telling me that they had my back,” Ellison said.
Before the game, East Hall’s leading running back recalls everyone in the locker room telling each other how much they appreciate one another, especially the seniors.
Ellison also made sure to thank his teammates after every trip to the end zone and reiterate how much their effort meant to the team’s victory.
“Our offensive linemen kept pushing and playing hard all night,” Ellison said.
Ellison said he’s always taken tremendous pride in wearing the East Hall uniform. His father, Alton, was a linebacker for the Vikings in the early 1990s.
For the younger Ellison, he tinkered with different spots on the field before settling at running back for his final two seasons.
Deon first was put at nose guard and outside linebacker. Once he got slotted at running back, it was a natural fit. Ellison said his coaches gave him the offseason after his sophomore season to learn the ropes.
Though always smaller for his position, Ellison always wanted to match the effort of his protectors on the line.
Now his dream is to continue playing football in college.
“I feel like my high school career just flashed before my eyes, and it was over,” said Ellison.