MARSHALL, Texas — Marshall ISD is mourning the loss of a student who was killed in an automobile accident Wednesday morning.
According to MISD, the student was identified as senior, Hayden Blalock, 17.
MISD says Blalock was a member of the Maverick football team and FFA.
The Texas Department of Public Safety reports around 6:30 a.m., troopers responded to a one-vehicle crash on Farm-to-Market Road 1997, near County Road 4008, about five miles north of Marshall. According to the preliminary crash report, Blalock was driving west on FM 1997 in a pickup truck and struck a wild hog that was in the roadway.
DPS says Blalock's truck went off the roadway, hit a culvert on CR 4008 and rolled several times. He was then ejected. DPS reports Blalock was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the wreck.
Blalock was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was taken to a Marshall funeral home.
"Grief counselors and members of the Marshall Ministerial Alliance will be available in the MHS Library today to assist students and staff," MISD said in a statement. "Counselors will also be at DAEP and Marshall Early Graduation School. Please remember our Maverick Family in your thoughts and prayers today."
According to Coach Jake Griedl, Hayden was a positive and hard-working defensive tackle who separated himself as a leader in the locker and the school as a whole.
"Hayden is one of those guys that every team, every principal, every superintendent wants them to be a part of their team or high school or district. He carries himself with such a high standard," Coach Griedl said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. "He would find the light in every dark situation."
Coach Griedl said despite the rough start to the season, Hayden continued to be a positive and encouraging voice in the locker room.
"I think the battle cry is: What would Hayden do? If our team lives to that standard for the remainder of the school year and life, on the football field, off the football field, then our team is going to be made up of winners. They're going to do the right thing," Coach Griedl said. "Because that's what [Hayden] did."
Coach Griedl says each morning, Hayden would pick up some of his teammates up to take them to morning workouts.
"We got calls from two of our players this morning saying, 'Hey, Hayden's not here,'" Coach Griedl said. "With the hustle and bustle of everything that was happening, we just kinda looked past it and found another way for those kids to get there on time."
Griedl says the junior varsity team was practicing and the varsity team was working out when he received the call. He gathered both teams together to tell them the news of Hayden's passing.
"We told our team right there 'cause we wanted them to hear it from us before it got out on social media, or they heard it in the high school building," Coach Griedl said. "It was tough. Very tough."
According to the district, Hayden is the fifth student who has passed away since Jan. 12.
Coach Griedl says the senior class will release balloons Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Maverick stadium in Hayden's honor. Those who wish to come are encouraged to wear red.
The team plans on continuing to memorialize Hayden throughout the season but has not decided how.
Hayden Blalock's funeral will be held at Marshall High School Sunday at 2 p.m. Visitation will be at Meadowbrook Funeral Home Satuday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.