Carson Hall brought ‘fun’ and ‘energy’ to Sacred Heart athleticsBy CAMAL PETRO,
The Sacred Heart family is mourning right now.
Carson Hall, 17, passed away tragically in an accidental drowning Saturday near Ship Island on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hall was a recent graduate of Sacred Heart, where he played football and soccer for the Crusaders. Coaches in each sport have fond memories of everything Hall did on and off the field.
Sacred Heart athletics director and boys soccer coach Joe Falla has had a relationship with Hall for most of his soccer life. Falla knew Hall through club soccer growing up; then he started on the Crusaders’ soccer team as a seventh grader.
Hall was not only counted on while the game was being played, but he also helped keep the team loose and having fun throughout the season.
“Carson was that guy who brought a lot of life and energy every day he stepped on the field,” Falla said. “I don’t know if you’d call him the team clown, but he was always having fun. That was kind of my mantra, ‘Let’s make sure we’re always having fun,’ and he really took that to heart.”
Hall began as the team’s goalkeeper but moved to on-field positions the latter part of his varsity career. As a senior, Hall helped lead the Crusaders to the program’s first state championship since 2013 by scoring the game-winning goal against St. Patrick in the south state championship game.
It was a sweet moment for Hall because he put a lot of blame on himself for Sacred Heart’s loss to St. Patrick in the south state championship game two years prior.
“Two years ago I came here and I was playing goalie at the time,” Hall said after the game in February. “I didn’t play my best game. To come out there and win this game, it means a lot to me.”
With Hall playing keeper, the Irish beat the Crusaders 3-1 in 2017, but Hall redeemed himself with the game’s only goal in 2019. His sliding goal in the 57th minute proved to be enough for Sacred Heart to punch its ticket to the state title game, which Sacred Heart would eventually win.
“For him, it was almost redemption,” Falla said. “He really kind of blamed himself for some of the other losses in previous seasons, and for him to really redeem himself, I mean, it wasn’t really his fault. It was just part of it, and that was a hard pill to swallow for him. For him to score the goal was awesome.”
Former Sacred Heart football coach Lonny Schraeder calls Hall a “truth-teller.” He wasn’t afraid to give his teammates the harsh truth, and that’s what made him respected by his peers.
“Some people will not say the truth, but he was a truth-teller and I respect him for that,” Schraeder said. “He’d say it to me and the team. He’d call out people who weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing, and I think everybody respected him for that.”
Schraeder taught Hall as a seventh grader and his energetic personality didn’t wavier much throughout the years.
“Carson has always been exactly the same. He was full of energy,” Schraeder said.
Hall joined the Crusaders football team prior to his junior season, and Schraeder says he came on mostly as the team’s place-kicker. Sacred Heart doesn’t have a large roster, so Schraeder called upon Hall to step up on defense. Hall went from 29 tackles as a junior to third on the team with 63 as a senior. He also caught 29 passes for 393 yards and a pair of touchdowns on offense.
“He stepped in and he was mentally tough,” Schraeder said. “He played hard, loved to hit and loved to compete. He loved the team and I know the team loved him and respected him.”
Ed Smith was Hall’s position coach during Hall’s two seasons of football. Smith, who was named the head coach of Sacred Heart in the spring, has used the term “reckless abandon” a lot during his coaching career. With the way Hall played, he was the perfect example of that term for Smith.
“I’ve used that phrase a lot in my coaching career, and I don’t know if I’ve been around a kid who personified it more than he did,” Smith said. “He played like he wasn’t concerned with the consequence of getting hurt or his body. He played all out every play.
“He loved being out there, he loved competing and he loved both sports. He’s the kind of kid who if you give him an assignment and told him what to do, then you could trust he was going to go out there and do it with everything he had. He wasn’t going to win every play, but he’s going to lay it all on the line for you.”