Catawba Football: Hall brothers bring intensity to Indians
By Mike London
Sons of a Marine, brothers Calvin Hall and Casey Hall grew up religious, tough and strong.
They have impacted Catawba’s football program since transferring from Division III Averett.
“Pound for pound,” said Calvin, a rugged, talkative 22-year-old senior, “we’re the strongest guys on the team.”
Catawba coach Chip Hester confirmed that statement.
“Coach (John) Fitz has got a pretty complex formula for all that, but he keeps track,” Hester said. “Pound for pound, they are.”
Calvin, a defensive back, has squatted 500 pounds and power-cleaned 285. His bench press max is 315 pounds, but his 170-pound, 20-year-old brother tops him. Casey, who excels on special teams, has bench-pressed 330.
“We’re like best friends, but even best friends need their space from each other some,” Casey said with a laugh. “We do push each other hard in the weight room. It’s competitive.”
Aside from football, the siblings are talented musicians. The last 10 years they’ve played brass instruments in a gospel band at church services of the United House of Prayer for All People. Calvin plays the baritone horn, and Casey is a trombonist. Amos, their father, has handled the keyboards.
“We don’t read music, just play by ear,” Calvin said. “It’s a God-given gift. We’ve got CDs.”
The Halls are Northwest Cabarrus graduates, growing up near Poplar Tent Road. The young kids in their neighborhood will attend Cox Mill, the new school down the street.
The Halls are proud of their celebrity cousin, Northwest’s touted senior quarterback Jeremy Cannon, who will be the family’s next college player.
“Jeremy always wanted to be a receiver because he was so tall,” Casey said. “Calvin saw him throwing the ball and got him pointed in the right direction to be a quarterback.”
Cannon checks in with his cousins on gamedays.
Calvin, a 2005 graduate, had a fine career at Northwest. He was smaller then, but he had a great senior night when the Trojans beat Lake Norman, making a dozen tackles and picking off a pass.
“Mike Minter and Mike Rucker from the Panthers came in and gave us a pregame speech for it,” Calvin said. “Then I added my own two cents worth.”
He was always willing to add his two cents worth.
“Well, I’m a fired-up person,” Calvin said. “I like to lead by example and be a vocal leader, and I take that and run with it. Every team needs a spark and I like to bring the team along with me.”
He was the first in his family to play college football. As a D-III school, Averett doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, but he was attracted by the school’s location in Danville, Va. He became an immediate starter in the secondary.
In both 2006 and 2007, Averett played Mount Union, the top dog in D-III, and Hall was matched up with All-American Pierre Garcon, who is now catching passes from Peyton Manning as an Indianapolis Colt.
“Whichever side of the field Pierre went to, that’s where I went,” Calvin said. “It was like, ‘You got him.’ I played 27 games in three years at Averett, but my last year didn’t go so well and the coach and I had a different point of view. I decided to transfer to Catawba. It was going up a level and it was getting closer to home.”
Calvin joined the Indians for spring practice in 2008 and sat out that fall. Back on the field now, he’s making up for lost time.
“We’ve got young, talented guys in the secondary, but what I bring is a lot of starting experience and football is football,” Calvin said. “I know all the ins and outs.”
Fitz noticed how hard Calvin worked in the weight room and on the practice field, and the Indians have found room for him.
“With all the injuries we’ve had in the secondary, Calvin’s ability to play safety and corner has been extremely valuable,” Hester said.
Casey followed in his big brother’s footsteps at Northwest. He played mostly defense, but when the Trojans needed a running back his senior year he filled a void at tailback. He had his own productive senior night, powering for 143 yards against Mooresville.
He followed his brother to Averett, then transferred to Catawba when his brother did.
“Coach Hester talked about family, faith and football, and that led us to Catawba,” Casey said. “We’re closer to home and church now. I can get a home-cooked meal if I want one. I can play with my dogs or go fishing.”
Casey is already making his mark on special teams and was Catawba’s “Special Forces Player of the Week” for his work Saturday against Wingate.
“I just tried to do the job I was given,” he said. “I stuck my nose in there, made a couple of good blocks on returns and had a solo tackle on a kickoff.”
Catawba requires an energy infusion as it finishes a down season, and the Halls are the sort who can provide it. While Casey has made a strong showing on special teams, he has two more years of eligibility and could enter the mix at tailback or safety.
“The Halls are not only great guys on and off the field, they are very intense football players,” Hester said. “They’re strong and fast and when they fly around out there they get their teammates and their coaches excited.”