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Sophomore Kai Hall displays special talents

Kai Hall runs the 40-yard dash at practice on Oct. 28, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Kai Hall runs the 40-yard dash at practice on Oct. 28, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

The very first game of Kai Hall’s high school career, the evidence was there: The St. Vincent de Paul sophomore running back was destined for an athletics career beyond these next four years.

In an Aug. 23, 2019 game against McKinleyville as a freshman, Hall delivered in every which way. His final stat line read 14 carries for 169 yards and three touchdowns, propelling St. Vincent de Paul to a 37-3 rout to open the season.

“We played that game, and I scored a touchdown,” Hall said. “I knew that this is what I want to do and I want to go to college for this and go to the NFL.”

Since then, Hall has become a dominant force at the high school level as quick as humanly possible, and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

Hall ran for 1,773 yards and 19 touchdowns his freshman year, averaging 9.7 yards per carry. He added 147 receiving yards, one sack and two forced fumbles – all of which St. Vincent de Paul to a 9-2 record, marking its most victories since winning 10 games when the program played for a section title in 2012.

Those gaudy numbers ranked among the best in the second and country for the 2099 North Coast Section Freshman of the Year, becoming the No. 2 rusher in the North Coast Section and the No. 3 freshman rusher nationally. His 1,773 rushing yards were also the most of any freshman in California and were No. 40 among all players in California, according to statistics available on MaxPreps.

What Hall credits this quick success to is all of those around him.

“Surrounding myself with good people, surrounding myself with people that have my best interest and people that are committed to helping me and can help me get through all the adversity and stupid stuff people do in high school,” Hall said.

But Hall does not always remember this sort of dominance on the gridiron.

His first year of playing football was in sixth grade, when he recalls struggling at an entirely different position than he’s currently playing.

“Sometimes I look back and it’s kind of sad and joyful because I remember my first year of playing football, sixth grade, it was kind of bad,” Hall said, “I played line. I was pretty decent actually, but I never thought I would be where I am now.”

Today, despite being just a sophomore, Hall is tabbed as one of the top players across the talent-rich Bay Area.

Hall came in at No. 44 in the Xclusive Speed Top 45 Powered by West Coast Preps, a rankings system that lists the top players in the Bay Area based on overall talent and production.

Senior quarterback Colby Furia – who holds a pair of offers from Pacific University and Willamette University – believes what’s made Hall special is his dedication to his craft.

“I believe with Kai what really separates him from the group is his work ethic also,” Furia said. “I think he has a similar mindset to me. He likes coming out here, likes working with the guys, making everyone around him better. He’s a really good leader, and I think that’s what makes him the player he is and obviously when you see him go out there and play on Fridays he really gets it done out there.”

This year, Hall wants to not fumble at all, help lead St. Vincent de Paul to even more victories and do whatever possible to ensure the Mustangs produce another strong season under head coach Trent Herzog.

And his teammates are gearing up for even more from their young sensation in the backfield.

“Kai is a very special kid,” said St. Vincent de Paul sophomore Nathan Rooks. “I would say that we know, or I know more things that he could do that maybe he doesn’t, and so just to bring that best out of him this season I think we’ll see more of Kai Hall.”

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