Blaise Lomon packed a lot into his 10 months as a Greenwood Bulldog.
Lomon transferred to Greenwood during the summer from Cameron, Okla., just in time for the last two weeks of FASDOGS, the Bulldogs’ grueling strength, speed and conditioning camp that revolutionized high school summer training in the state.
"It was real tough, stuff we never did at Cameron," Lomon said. "It helped me a whole lot. It was way harder than anything I had done before."
Cameron, a Class A school, doesn’t play football, but Lomon was a standout basketball and baseball player for the Yellowjackets.
Lomon’s dad, Kevin, played professional baseball for six years and was the baseball coach at Cameron before deciding to go into private business.
Blaise then transferred to Greenwood. He decided to play football, and that started with the final two weeks of summer drills, which included lifting weights, which he had never done at Cameron, along with a lot of CrossFit type speed and conditioning drills for an hour.
"I knew it would help me in every sport not just football but basketball and baseball," Lomon said. "I knew it would help me get in shape. I hadn’t done anything all summer because I’d come off surgery."
Lomon spent the first part of the summer recovering from a ligament tear in his left arm, his non-throwing arm.
He started having regrets about just jumping right into the Bulldogs’ football conditioning program, which caps the four-week camp with 56 sprints of varied distances that cover a total of a mile.
"I was kind of regretting it at that point," Lomon said. "It was different especially that last day when they hose us down with a fire truck."
That was his indoctrination into Greenwood football.
Despite having not played football since Boys and Girls Club in Fort Smith in elementary school, Greenwood head coach Rick Jones welcomed Lomon to the Bulldog family.
"The guys comes in and says he’s going to play everything; football, basketball and baseball," Jones said. "He made a positive impact in all of them. I respect the fire out of him. He came in from a little tiny school and just said he’s going to play everything. I said OK."
At 6-5, Lomon was a perfect match to play receiver in Greenwood’s wide-open offensive attack, but it was difficult to pick up everything in such a short amount of time.
"We’ve had very few kids try to bite off three sports especially on the 6A and 7A level," Jones said. "We thought at times he might be ready to go, but it’s hard to sit out all those years when you’re playing the people we play."
Lomon still enjoyed the experience of playing for one of the best football programs in the state his senior season, especially going to the Class 6A state championship game.
"I really wanted to have the experience," Lomon said. "I met a lot more people than I would have if I hadn’t played football. Every game is a great experience. Going to state was really something and playing in that atmosphere with 14,000 people there."
Jones would have loved to have had Lomon for a few more years.
"If we would have had him the whole time in football, he would have been a big-time player for us," Jones said. "He hadn’t played football in a long time being over there in Cameron. He had a great attitude. We loved having him. I wish we could have red-shirted him and brought him back."
The Bulldogs lost to Pine Bluff in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium on the first Saturday in December.
After taking off that Sunday, Lomon joined the basketball his next day back at school.
"We figured from the beginning when I saw him that he was going to help us," Greenwood boys basketball coach Greg Nichols said. "I saw him play at Cameron and knew he was going to help us."
Before taking an assistant’s job at Greenwood, Nichols was the head coach at Panama, which is in close proximity to Cameron. The communities in LeFlore County are all very tight-knit and the 13 high schools in LeFlore County all know each other and grow up playing against each other. Many of the schools start school sports in the 3rd grade, traveling around to play each other so Nichols saw Lomon grow up in LeFlore County, and he wasn’t surprised he was going to play three sports when he moved to Greenwood.
"I think he got talked into playing football while he was on the basketball court during the summer," Nichols said. "It takes an athlete to do that, and Blaise is a good athlete. He works hard at all three sports. He’s not going to give half effort."
Lomon worked his way into the starting lineup and averaged 11.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for the season.
The 7A/6A-Central, though, had guys a lot bigger than Lomon in the middle, not just taller but beefier, too. He didn’t go up against that at Cameron.
"I didn’t play against anybody taller than me," Lomon said. "It was totally different athletically than LeFlore County. It was tough. I tried to do my best."
The conference had Van Buren’s 6-10 Mitchell Smith, who signed with Missouri, along with Russellville’s 6-5 K.J. Patrick, and Little Rock Catholic’s 6-10 Brian Beckwith.
The Bulldogs didn’t qualify for the Class 6A state tournament in basketball, winning just one conference game but that was a win over rival Alma.
"I was trying everything I could for us to win and I know everybody else was, too," Lomon said. "It just didn’t turn out in our favor very much."
Greenwood’s basketball season ended on the last Friday night in February when the regular season ended.
Again, he took one day off and joined the baseball team on that Sunday.
Greenwood baseball coach Trey Holloway actually ran into Lomon at a Greenwood restaurant shortly after he took the Bulldogs’ job last years.
"I’ll never forget the first time I met him," Holloway said. "I was coming out of the rest room and I saw this ginormous kid. I could tell he was a baseball player. I asked him where he was playing, and he said Cameron. I asked him if he lived in Greenwood, and he said yes. I asked why he was playing in Cameron if he lived in Greenwood, and he said because his dad was the coach. Then I knew who he was."
Lomon is one of two transfers on the roster along with Jake Phelps, who transferred from Union Christian Academy. Razorback football signee Grant Morgan also came back to play this season.
"Jake moved in, too," Holloway said. "We only had two seniors coming back, and then I asked Grant if he wanted to play because he has such good leadership qualities. Those three have exceeded what I thought they’d be able to do."
Those three joined seniors Hunter Cardwell and Jax Burgess to give Greenwood a solid nucleus this season.
"We just had our senior night, and it was the best senior night I’ve ever been involved with," Holloway said. "They’re all just great quality kids."
Lomon has helped the Bulldogs both on the mound and at the plate this season.
He’s hitting .333 with one of the team’s three homers and has knocked in 18 runs against a conference loaded with great pitching.
"There’s a lot of D-I athletes you’re playing against," Lomon said. "The pitchers aren’t what I was used to; throwing 90 instead of 80."
On the mound, he leads the team with nine starts. He’s 4-3 with 44 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings with an earned run average of 3.53.
"We’re blessed to have him," Holloway said. "He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do."
Coming to Greenwood and playing under Holloway was a stark contrast in playing for his dad. Holloway is more relaxed albeit still very demanding and disciplined. Lomon’s dad is an old-school coach, who used to hold two-a-day baseball practices in August before starting the fall baseball schedule and was a little bit more vocal.
"Coach Holloway isn’t the type that gets in your face and yells, like my dad does," Lomon said. "He’ll pull you aside and tell you what you did wrong, but there’s times when you need to get yelled at."
This week’s baseball state tournament will cap Lomon’s 10-month span of playing football, basketball and baseball. Playing all three, starting with summer conditioning, made Lomon’s only year in Greenwood fly by.
"It really did," Lomon said. "Everybody said my senior year would fly by, and I didn’t believe them. It’s that time right now where it’s gone."