Oak Hill senior football standouts Leonard Farrow and Braxton Hall have been friends and teammates since sixth grade.
That special bond will now continue into their college days.
Wednesday morning, with family, friends, coaches, teammates and supporters in attendance, Farrow and Hall both signed a National Letter Intent to play football at Fairmont State University.
“Leonard is a great teammate. We have been playing sports together since sixth grade and we have had an amazing friendship ever since,” Hall said. “We have grown up together basically. Having someone up there that you are close with really helps out.”
Farrow, who received attention from several schools, echoed Hall’s thoughts.
“Braxton going there kind of influenced me too because I wanted to have a friend up there that I had some chemistry with,” Farrow said. “I felt like I would be more comfortable up there with him.”
While their end results were the same, the paths to Thursday’s signings were very different for the two athletes.
Farrow, who had a breakout senior season, was a nightmare for defensive coordinators rushing for 1,392 yards and scoring 22 touchdowns. He also tallied 114 yards on four catches and another touchdown for 138 points on the year.
His exploits earned him Class AAA first-team all-state honors.
“You know what you are going to get out of Leonard. He works hard and it’s no secret that he has the skills to play at the next level,” Oak Hill head football coach David Moneypenny said. “He has embraced everything that we have offered him the last two years we have been here and it has worked extremely well for him.”
The decision for Farrow to attend Fairmont State boiled down to one simple fact.
“Fairmont showed me that they wanted me more than any other school. I love the brotherhood that they have with their team,” Farrow said. “It is very exciting and I am really thankful. It is a dream come true actually. I have been dreaming about this since I was a little kid. I felt like with all of the hard work that I had put in, the chance to play in college would eventually come true.”
Hall was as equally excited as Farrow for his senior season. However, fate would send the versatile senior down a totally different path.
A severe ankle injury in the first quarter of the opening game against Nicholas County put Hall’s dreams and aspirations on hold and in doubt.
“Braxton got hurt early and that kind of slowed him down, but it didn’t stop him. He came back from an injury, that I would say, most kids would not have come back from,” Moneypenny said.
Like any other athlete, Hall admitted he struggled as a result of the injury.
“Going into the season, I had a lot of high expectations for not only my self, but the team also. We all had the same common goal in mind,” Hall said. “Getting hurt early messed with me a lot. It derailed things a little bit. I worked hard just to get back in the right state of mind and push through the pain and deal with the adversity.”
Hall returned to play the final six games for the Red Devils, but was unsure how missing part of the season would effect his chances to play in college.
Needless to say, being able to put pen to paper Thursday was both a relief and an exciting time for the future Falcon.
“This means so much to me. I have always known that I wanted to play a college sport whether it be baseball or football. The start of my junior year, I realized that I wanted to pursue football,” Hall said. “After not knowing if I would even get a shot to play, especially with how the season started out, today is amazing. Just to be part of the team and hopefully compete and do the best I possibly can to have a chance to play, it means a lot to me.”
In a strange way, the injury may bring a benefit in the future for Hall. After experiencing the recovery process first hand, Hall will now study exercise physiology at Fairmont.
“I had been looking at Fairmont and that was where I really wanted to go. I looked at some other school too, but the main thing for me was my field of study,” Hall said. “Fairmont has a really good exercise physiology program. I have heard a lot of good things about it from people that have been there. That is what drew me there.”
While Moneypenny spoke glowingly about Farrow and Hall as football players, he also emphasized the importance of academics for both young men.
“We are excited for both of them and proud of them. They have very good families that support them,” Moneypenny said. “We are definitely going to miss them. Academics are important to both of them. That was one of the big reasons for them going to Fairmont. It was academics first.”