It seemed like like the Greyhounds’s senior captain was always on the field, but the kickoff was the one time he normally had a view from the sideline.

After that, he was on the field, and everybody on and off of it knew it.

Halls made his mark in every game situation — save for Lisbon kickoffs — and he made his mark in every game. On a team full of standout players, he still found a way to stand out. He helped lead the Greyhounds to a state championship berth that they had been working toward his entire career, and he continued to lead after heartbreaking defeat. All of it has earned him the distinction of Sun Journal All-Region football player of the year.

Halls was a known commodity coming into the season, with the electrifying nature of his dual-threat abilities as the Greyhounds’ quarterback. But dig deeper and it’s a bit of a surprise that Halls even had the season he did.

For one, Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan had been trying to take Halls out of the quarterback position ever since he put him there. Halls was inserted as the signal-caller in the playoffs as a sophomore, after starter Kyle Bourget went down with an injury. He was a wide receiver at that point, a position Mynhanan wanted to keep him at, but Halls was always the Greyhounds’ best option at quarterback.

“I think he’s probably one of the best receivers in the state. He’s just an unbelievable receiver,” Mynahan said, “We just had nobody at the time that could pass the ball to him.”

It wasn’t until Lisbon’s first playoff game this year that Mynahan finally did find someone to throw the ball to Halls. It was yet another sophomore, starting running back Lucas Francis, who lofted a long-awaited touchdown pass to Halls against Oak Hill. Halls caught two passes in that game.

“I haven’t caught a touchdown pass since my sophomore year, so it felt pretty nice,” said Halls, who hopes to play receiver in college, and has his sights set on the University of Maine.

That was one of four ways Halls scored his 20 touchdowns this season, including 10 rushing scores, eight passing scores and an interception return for a touchdown.

The other surprise is that Halls even led the Greyhounds in scoring in the first place, accounting for 20 of their 43 touchdowns.

“He’s one kid this year that I had to take out many games, in the sense that I tell him not to run the ball, not to pass the ball,” Mynahan said. “We didn’t give him great stats. He could have just had an unbelievable year if I let him run every game, things like that, but we tried to keep him under wraps, so to speak, so he wouldn’t get injured.”

Halls was more than happy to hand the ball off to Francis or his senior brother, fullback Noah Francis. Halls’ passes were few in number in most games, mostly in long-yardage situations and as a change of pace. His runs were called conservatively.

“This year, we had a lot of weapons,” Halls said, speaking of the Francis brothers, receiver Tyrese Joseph, runners Kurtis Bolton, Jared Glover and more.

But when the Greyhounds needed important yards or timely scores, it was often Halls’ number that was finally called.

“His stats were all in tight games and close games,” Mynahan said. “All of his stats came in games that counted. In games that we were ahead of, he didn’t get those easy stats. They were all hard stats. All in big games. As a young high school student you wouldn’t expect him to understand what we were doing, but he never complained. And he understood his importance to the team.”

It wasn’t until the playoffs that Mynahan told Halls he could finally go out and show his dynamic style of play.

Halls’ stats on defense and special teams were also quieter than in past years. But teams rarely threw in his direction as a defensive back, and often kicked away from him as a kick and punt returner.

“I took it as respect,” Halls said.

Mynahan said he doesn’t remember too many passes thrown toward Halls during the season, save for the Class D South regional final against Winthrop/Monmouth, when the Ramblers weren’t afraid to look Bennett Brooks’ way. Halls was tasked with stopping the Senior receiver, who Halls admitted gave him “some work.”

Brooks got the better of Halls a few times, but Halls got the last laugh with a last-minute completed Hail Mary to Bolton, who set up Noah Francis’s game-winning touchdown run. That sent the Greyhounds to the state championship game against Maine Central Institute.

Halls’ work against Brooks prepared him for the Huskies’ passing offense. Halls said he had to keep his head on a swivel in the state championship.

After a heart-wrenching final-play loss, Halls had to keep his head up. His high school playing career was over, but it was a moment his leadership showed through the most.

“After our loss (in the state championship), he was talking to the team and congratulating them on a great game, and ‘no shame in losing to a great team like MCI,'” Mynahan said. “He was doing what a leader does — he was helping the team at their lowest moment. That’s what a good leader does.”

“It was really hard,” Halls said. “I knew that the seniors that I played with, it really hurt them to lose that game because we’ve been working for that gold ball for eight years. I just knew that it was a great game to be a part of. Anything can happen in that last play. We learned it … against Winthrop. It was just a great game to be a part of, and I didn’t want them to hang their heads.”

Mynahan said he was fortunate in his now-completed, 30-year head-coaching career to have had some great quarterbacks. He said Halls, the quarterback he tried replacing for two-plus years, and who he tried to contain when few opponents could, ranks right up there with the best of them.

“I think the team is going to miss the leadership that he brought to the team, the confidence he brought to the team,” Mynahan said. “I think the team really understood that when he was in the game that we had a chance to win any game.”

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