Lee Academy’s Clegg brings unselfish attitude to MAIS All-Star Game, helps team win
Hayes Clegg played many new positions for the first time in his football career as a senior at Lee Academy and that earned him a spot in the MAIS All-Star Game at Jackson Prep last Friday.
Clegg was a running back and defensive tackle in the game and played for one-fourth of the contest. He was on the White team that defeated the Blue team 24-22 and blocking on the final play where his teammate kicked the winning 40-yard field goal in the final seconds.
“It was fun,” Clegg said. “It was just working all week for it to finally pay off.”
He had around 12 rushing yards and four tackles in the victory. One of his tackles was for a loss when the Blue team handed it off to the left side and Clegg tackled the player for a 3-yard loss in the second quarter. It was a third down at the White 30-yard-line after the tackle.
“Those are probably two of my most favorite positions,” said Clegg of playing running back and defensive tackle. “I just picked up on D-Tackle this year, but I’ve been playing running back.”
Clegg was also a quarterback after three of his teammates went down with injuries and led the Colts to a playoff berth. Moving around on the field was beneficial.
“It helped me understand the game more,” he said. “When I went into quarterback, I had no clue. I had no pure football knowledge because I had never played quarterback before.”
Clegg had 600 passing yards at quarterback and 400 yards rushing during the season.
Colts coach Rick Johnston appreciated Clegg’s unselfish attitudes.
“I think it started early with him being able to play defensive tackle for us when he was asked to play defensive tackle when he had never played that position before,” Johnston said. “I think that was part of the turning point. He proved he was in it for the team and not just himself.”
Johnston said an all-star is what one means to their team and Clegg showed his unselfishness. Clegg was a linebacker before playing defensive tackle.
The Blue team’s system was easy to learn since the team had just a few practices together.
“It was a lot simpler (than Lee Academy),” Clegg said. “The coaches made it easy for us. They just tried to do what they could.”
Johnston was pleased with Clegg’s performance.
“I thought he represented us well,” Johnston said. “It was a good experience to get down there with a group of seniors. Some are going to play at the next level. I was fortunate enough to play in the game myself. It was a fun week. I still have memories of that game, so I’m sure Hayes will, too, years from now.”
Johnston, a Magnolia Heights School graduate, was a quarterback, running back and defensive back.
Playing quarterback helped Clegg both with the Colts and as an all-star.
“I understood it a little more after playing that spot,” Clegg said.
The many injuries the Colts had as a team were a surprise.
“It was something we didn’t expect going into the season, but everybody did a good job filling in where they needed to,” he said.
Clegg enjoyed his all-star experience.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was a good experience playing with some of the best players in Mississippi.
“It was a long week. We had two practices a day and just getting to the game, it was probably the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of. Playing with some of the best players in Mississippi was really fun.”
Clegg said it was a good experience to be teammates with Kinkead Dent, a three-star quarterback from Jackson Academy who has committed to Ole Miss.
He began playing football in around fourth grade.
“I fell in love with it when I first started playing peewee,” Clegg said. “It just kept me going ever since then. I’ll miss it a lot.”
Clegg’s athletic career will be finished after graduation as he plans to attend Ole Miss in the fall and focus on academics. However, he is still in the middle of basketball season where he plays point guard.
He played left field for the baseball team as a junior.