For some people, no pain no gain is simply a phrase. But for Eunice's Hayden Darbonne, it's a lifestyle.
"Hitting people is just fun," Darbonne expressed. "You had a bad day at school or something. Or a bad day anywhere. You just get to come out to football and you get to punish everybody."
"Physical. That's the first word that pops out," Eunice Head Coach Andre Vige said. "He started as a freshman for us at Tight end which is very rare. And he just physically dominated people. 5 yards down the field, he's blocking people and pancaking people."
As a linebacker in 2021, Darbonne led the Bobcats with 110 tackles, 9 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles. That's despite missing 3 games with a knee injury. He was named Defensive MVP for District 4-4A.
"You hear coaches talking about him after the game," Vige shared. "I'd say 'well he's just a junior,' and their eyes would light up."
it's hard to imagine now that baseball was Darbonne's main love in middle school. But watching Eunice win the state title in 2018 changed the course of his career.
"My 8th grade year. My older brother was a freshman and the other was a senior," Darbonne explained. "They went to the state championship and they ended up winning it. So I had some big shoes to fill coming into freshman year."
The oldest brother, Tyler, caught 3 touchdowns in that title game. Next up in age is Dylan, who was all district 1st team on the offensive and defensive line last season. Hayden's success is a direct result of the competitive drive that's in his DNA.
"It was always competitive," Darbonne recalls. "We would go in the front yard, play from 5-8 o'clock. Just throw the ball around."
"I would joke with their dad that I wish I had 8 or 10 of em," Vige joked. "They're some good players. They're just football players. It's hard to find cats like that."
Hayden is now on a quest to be known as the best. Not only in his household, but throughout Louisiana.
"I would like all district Defensive MVP again," Darbonne expressed. "(I want) All State this year. And then everything else. All Acadiana, all district, all parish. I just want to get everything."
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