Day to remember

Kilgore High School’s (seated, from left) Brandon Mayers, Erik Gonzalez, Hailee Jo Lewis, Jerrick “Deuce” Ervin and Khalon Clayton listen as athletic director Mike Wood (far left) addresses the assembly on Wednesday, as the five signed national letters of intent with different colleges. (Photo by MITCH LUCAS)

Five Kilgore High School seniors had one of the most important days of their student-athletes careers on Wednesday.

Kilgore’s Khalon Clayton, Jerrick “Deuce” Ervin, Erik Gonzalez, Hailee Jo Lewis and Brandon Mayers all signed national letters of intent on Wednesday morning at the school’s gymnasium, in company of family and friends.

Mayers, who as a student trainer has probably seen more high school sports than the rest of the student body combined, has signed to continue in that role with Howard College, in Big Spring. Mayers has been KHS head trainer Darrell “Red” Ganus’s right-hand man for the last several years, and he’ll likely continue to play an important role at the next level. Howard is in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.

Clayton and Erwin are still active on the field of play – both are members of Kilgore High’s baseball team, currently playing in the UIL Class 4A postseason, in a Region II quarterfinal series against Pleasant Grove.

Clayton signed with Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant on Wednesday, and Erwin, with Eastfield College in Mesquite.

Ervin is batting .345 on the season so far, which includes six doubles, a triple and 13 RBI. Clayton, who had 4 RBI in Kilgore’s 10-1 game one win over PG, is the Bulldogs’ catcher. He’s batting .393 with nine doubles, a triple, a home run and 24 RBI.

Lewis might be the “Iron Man” of Kilgore sports. In her high school career, Lewis has played in a whopping 110 out of 111 possible Kilgore softball games. And the locals will get to see her continue her softball career, as she’ll do so at Kilgore College.

Hailee Jo had 51 RBI in her career at KHS, and a .958 career fielding percentage, mostly at first base. She batted .306 in the recently-completed senior year, and was part of a senior class that helped Kilgore to the playoffs the last two years.

Gonzalez is a member of Kilgore’s well-respected boys soccer team, where he was a three-year standout at midfielder. Gonzalez signed Wednesday to continue his education and soccer career at LeTourneau University in Longview.

He finished as a three-year all-district selection, and a 95 average, coach Tom Wait noted.

“He’s been a great teammate,” Wait said. “He’s overcome lots of adversity that most would have been consumed with, but instead, he used those struggles as a foundation to step on as he reaches for success in life. Proud of Erik and looking forward to seeing him succeed at the next level.”

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