HOWE — The sting of a rough senior football season had long since subsided and the focus was on the future as a pair of Bulldogs announced where they will continue their involvement in the sport on Wednesday afternoon.
Offensive lineman Clay Marshall and receiver/tight end Ty Harvey didn't have things end the way they wanted to, closing out with just a single victory in 2017. It was a complete turnaround from the deep playoff runs earlier in their Howe careers.
“Adversity, you're going to face adversity in life and that's what prepares you,” Marshall said. “Sometimes things don't go your way. What I liked is that we always gave 110 percent regardless.”
The preparation of four years with the Bulldogs culminated with Marshall picking Southeastern Oklahoma State while Harvey is headed to Missouri Southern.
Harvey selected Missouri Southern, a Division II school in Joplin, over West Texas A&M, Southern Nazarene and being a preferred walk-on at Texas State.
“It was the family atmosphere,” Harvey said. “I was going to somewhere because I knew the offers would come. It was quiet for a while and then started to pick up towards the end.”
Harvey, who was recruited as a tight end, was a second-team all-district wide receiver after finishing his senior year with team highs in all three categories — 27 catches for 418 yards and three touchdowns. In a much more run-heavy attack during his junior year, Harvey spent more time blocking but was still second-team all-district and totaled eight receptions for 165 yards and a TD — all team-leading totals — as Howe threw just 32 times in reaching the region semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Mineola.
“That's why I think the recruiting process was slower for me,” Harvey said. “Senior year we switched offenses and it opened up a new eye and new door for colleges to see me.”
As a junior he was also second-team all-district at safety.
Fellow Bulldog Matt Griffin was a freshman offensive lineman for the Lions this past season.
“He was straight up about it,” Harvey said. “He said the new coaching staff they brought in is tough and just prepare for the challenge.”
Also a standout basketball player, Harvey — whose sister Riley is a sophomore forward at Stephen F. Austin — had opportunities to continue his athletic career on the court but opted for the gridiron instead.
“She said the recruiting process was going to be tough. She wasn't wrong,” Harvey said. “There's always competition in the family but it's all love. I went to a couple basketball camps but it was more about wanting to play football.”
Missouri Southern went 0-11 this past season with all of those losses in the Mid America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. The program's last winning season was in 2013.
Marshall chose the Savage Storm over West Texas A&M, Southern Nazarene, Austin College and Texas Wesleyan.
“I had some offers for defense but I wanted to play offense,” he said. “I always had a pretty good idea about Southeastern. They were very upfront with me. They acted like I could excel there.”
Marshall has been a two-way standout on both sides of the line with his all-district accolades coming for his offensive efforts. He was a first-team all-district selection as a sophomore and junior, the second-team all-district center as a senior and all-district honorable mention as a freshman.
As part of a dominant running attack his first three seasons, Marshall helped the Bulldogs make their first playoff appearance in four years in 2014 with a region semifinal appearance and as a sophomore Howe was 10-2 with the most victories since 1998 and matching the school record for the third time. Another regional semifinal and a 9-4 record came in 2016.
“Power run football, I do what I do best,” said Marshall, who will compete at center or guard after what is expected to be a red-shirt season.
Southeastern Oklahoma State went 7-4 last season with all of those games being in the Great American Conference and tying the Storm for fourth in the league standings.
It was the second straight 7-4 campaign for SOSU and the fourth consecutive winning season for the program. Southeastern has 13 conference titles in its history, including four straight from 2004-07.
The Storm continue to add local talent. In addition to Marshall, Denison's D.J. Gray, Van Alstyne's Cayson Miller, Bells' Hunter Hawthorne and Collinsville's Blake Williams are a part of this year's signing class and join holdovers Lane Isom of Bells, Sherman's Jonathan Torres, Ty Agan of Blue Ridge and Bonham's Xzavion Epps.