The senior year for Jerald Hurt began on the Lansdowne High football field with him scoring a touchdown on the game’s opening kickoff in the Vikings’ 32-14 season-opening victory over rival Western Tech.
It ended with the 2019 graduate being selected as the Arbutus Times Male Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
Last year, he shared the honor with Marcus Sessoms.
In between, there were many memorable moments for the three-sport athlete, who excelled in football, basketball and baseball.
The kickoff against Western Tech was the first.
“That was the big thing that set the tone for the season, was seeing we had that kind of capability out of him,” Lansdowne football coach Shaun Murphy said.
The following week, the Vikings defeated the other local rival Catonsville, 30-14, on the way to a 6-4 season.
“He was one of the biggest reasons why we were able to have a successful season and have our first winning season in almost 20 years,” Murphy said.
Hurt played at St. Frances, in Baltimore City, during his freshman year and transferred to Lansdowne the next year and the Vikings were 0-10 in 2017 and 3-7 the following year.
Hurt was confident in himself before his senior football season.
“During the off-season, I had a feeling on how I was performing and how I was training and getting ready, that I knew this year was going to be my year,” said the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder.
His father, Jerald Hurt Sr., who was a standout running back at Lansdowne High and graduated in 2000, also gave him added motivation.
He was the school’s all-time career leader and single-season leader in all-purpose yards.
With over 1,100 all-purpose yards in 2018, Hurt broke his dad’s single-season mark, and with over 3,200 yards, he eclipsed the career record.
“That was a main focus this year,” Hurt said.
“The family was very proud and we as a program were very proud,” Murphy said.
In addition to playing running back, Hurt filled in at quarterback after an injury to the starting signal-caller.
He started on defense at safety and outside linebacker.
“He was like having another coach on the field. He was literally a field general out there on both defense and offense,” Murphy said.
Hurt enjoyed being more than a decoy at quarterback.
“Losing our starting quarterback was a hurt to us, but we knew as the season was going and how practices started that we clicked way better than we ever have before,” he said. “They would stack the box because our star receiver would have to play quarterback and I can throw the ball a little, so to throw them off a little bit, they put me in the backfield at quarterback, so they would have to worry about me running and throwing.”
He is planning to play running back at McDaniel College in the fall, but hasn’t ruled out playing baseball in the spring.
“I think I’m going to play baseball too,” he said.
“If anybody can do it, it is him,” said Murphy, who watched him grow after the transfer. “He had a tough experience at St. Frances. He really loved the school, but with the coaching change coming in, they wanted to go in a different direction and he didn’t feel like he had a home.”
He found his home at Lansdowne High and the team secured a few victories during his junior year.
“Junior year, he really rose to captain and this year he absolutely matured as one of the strongest leaders on our team, with work ethic and mentally he really pushed, from freshmen all the way up to the seniors, to be the best they could be in the program.”
Hurt scored 42 touchdowns in his final two seasons, including 22 as a senior.
“It was him and the senior class, and he led the senior class as captain, toward that winning mentality,” Murphy said. “He was literally unstoppable for us.”
Stopping opposing scorers on the basketball court was one of his strengths.
After playing JV as a sophomore, he played two varsity seasons for coach Greg Karpers, who wrote in an e-mail, “Jerald was a wonderful defender and we usually had him matched against the opponent’s best offensive player. Jerald always played hard, picking up key rebounds, charges or steals in big moments.”
“That was my focus,” Hurt said. “I knew at certain points and times when I needed to be a little more aggressive to give us a spark and to get us going when we were down in games.”
That happened in a memorable first-round 68-64 regional playoff win over Milford Mill.
“Against Milford we came out really flat, I think we were down 11 before halftime and I drew a charge and the whole momentum of the game changed and we just kept it going for the rest of the game,” he said.
Hurt got inspiration from his teammate, junior Teylor Silverman, whose father, Mike Silverman, passed away suddenly, at age 40, on Feb. 16, 2018.
“We came at the end of the year and talked about who this season was for and it was for coach Mike Silverman, who passed away last year,” Hurt said. “We knew we had to make a statement this year for him because he told me and the rest of our seniors that our senior year was going to be the year.”
Hurt scored 22 points in the game against Milford Mill and senior Marcus Sessoms also had a big game in support of leading scorer Silverman.
“He talked to me before the game and he was very emotional that game because his dad wasn’t able to be there,” Hurt said. “For me and Marcus to be able to pick him up when he was down in the game and for us to be able to help get him ready, because he hit the two free throws at the end of the game to give us the lead to win, and for us to do that for him was all we needed for our season.”
The Vikings defeated a strong Parkville team, 65-63, in the second round, when Hurt scored 14 points, but they got eliminated by Woodlawn in the third round, 61-47.
“Jerald will have success far beyond high school due to his tremendous work ethic and refusal to fail,” wrote coach Karpers.
While the baseball team lost several close games, Hurt was a veteran southpaw pitcher and the team’s top hitter.
He led the Vikings in every offensive category and was awarded the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Hurt batted .391 with two home runs, three doubles, 13 runs scored, 6 RBIs and 23 stolen bases.
He also drew 18 walks, several of them intentionally, with two coming in the Vikings’ 3-2 loss at Catonsville on April 29, when Hurt allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings pitched.
The Vikings also lost to the Comets by a run, 9-8, earlier in the season in a game when Hurt earned Catonsville coach Eric Warm’s respect with a booming home run.
“He doesn’t leave himself cheap on the swings,” Warm said. “He’s swinging as hard as he can. He crushed that ball.”
Hurt started against the Comets and had five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings.
Overall, he had a 3.41 earned run average in 28 2/3 innings pitched and finished with 21 strikeouts.
“As a team we grew and got better,” Hurt said. “There were only three seniors and two of us really played, me and Nick White, and our goal this year, once we realized we weren’t really going to win, was to make sure the guys under us will be ready for what they have to take care of next year.”
As soon as baseball season ended, Hurt knew what the next phase of his athletic career entails.
“My main focus this year is to get ready for college football,” he said.