ARLINGTON – Since he was roaming the middle school playing fields, Roger Hagan has always worked "his tail off" at playing quarterback despite always playing the back-up role.
In the seventh and eighth grade, Hagan was the "B" team quarterback. Once in high school, Hagan has continued to grow and for the past two years has competed with Dematrius Davis for reps.
Even though Hagan's name has been second on the depth chart since his middle school days, the senior never stopped working.
"You look at him in the weight room and it hit us one day, all of a sudden you look at a kid that looks like a grown man," North Shore coach Jon Kay said. "Just because of what he's been taught, just nothing but work."
On Saturday, Hagan was thrust into being North Shore's primary running back for the 6A Division I State Championship game against Duncanville.
Hagan – despite not having five stars or a laundry list of offers next to his name – put his head down, plowed his way forward time and time again, eating up much-needed yards and scoring against Duncanville when North Shore needed it.
Hagan ended his final high school game carrying the ball 27 times for 105 yards and scoring two touchdowns to help lead North Shore to the program's and his second-straight title.
"He has poured his soul into this program," Kay said. "For us we trust him like we would trust any player out there. He's earned it. I think when you have earned it like he has, you appreciate it a little bit more."
North Shore's Zach Evans is considered by the national recruiting pundits as a 5-Star running back.
He is the most coveted recruit in the country.
On the eve of the Class 6A DI State Title Game against Duncanville, Evans was sent back home to Houston.
The news started hitting social media this morning and rumors were a plenty.
The North Shore Mustangs were asked to give up their phones last night to focus on their much-anticipated rematch with Duncanville.
Everyone complied. Zach Evans did not.
He was asked repeatedly. He would not.
Knowing coach Jon Kay, athletic director Vivian Dancy and superintendent Dr. Angi Williams, every "I" was "dotted" and every "T" was crossed. Galena Park ISD is first class and always does the "right" thing.
According to sources close to the situation, the decision went up the chain-of-command and the decision was made. Zach Evans, the nation's top recruit, was sent home.
Keep in mind, this is not an isolated incident. Evans was suspended earlier in the season for three games. It was handled in-house.
What Jon Kay, Vivian Dancy and Dr. Angi Williams did last night should be applauded by every high school coach in the state.
If the No. 1 player in the country can be suspended for the Class 6A DI State Title Game, then anyone can. It sets the entire tone for the overall program. No wonder the 'Stangs are so successful.
It starts at the top. These coaches do EVERYTHING in their power to help their student-athletes. The hours away from their families are countless. They are more than fair. They don't do it for the money. They are fearless in teaching life lessons to kids that some parents are afraid to do.
One player does not make a team. There is no "I" in team. No one is bigger than the team. Team, team, team!
Evans didn't comply.
Coaches in every sport regardless of gender preaches this every day. EVERY DAY!
Don't get it twisted. This is a gut-wrenching decision for a coach. It will keep you up at night. It probably did for Jon Kay, his assistants and the rest of his team.
North Shore is the beacon of light for Houston's rough-and-tumble #Eastside. Now it might be the guiding light for the entire state as they make the right decision on the biggest stage.
And it has nothing to do with X's and O's.