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Their all put them on the Wall

The Crystal River High Wall of Fame grew by four more members Friday night when 1994 inductees were announced at halftime of the Pirates' 10-3 homecoming victory over Gulf.

Started three years ago by head football coach and activities director Earl Bramlett, the Wall recognizes members of the Crystal River High family for their athletic and academic achievements.

Honored Friday night were the father-and-son duo of Randall Owens Sr. (Class of 1955) and Randall Owens Jr. (Class of 1983); Mike Hampton (Class of 1990) and former coach and administrator David Hickey.

Owens Sr. was the youngest athlete ever to letter at Crystal River, receiving a varsity football letter as a 12-year-old eighth-grader. He received a total of 15 varsity letters: five in football, four each in basketball and baseball and two in track. (The track program wasn't added until his junior year.)

"I'm shocked but I feel good, honored and humbled," Owens Sr. said. "I'm thankful that God's been good to me. It was 40 years ago that I played my last high school game."

Watching the Pirates beat Gulf in their homecoming game Friday night brought back memories for Owens Sr.: "When I was a junior we beat Gulf 52-0. I scored three touchdowns and two extra points while playing end that night. We went down to Gulf in my senior year and won something like 33-13. I scored two touchdowns that night at tight end so I had five touchdowns against them in two games."

Randall Owens Jr., who could not attend the ceremonies because he was in North Carolina on a church outing, earned three varsity football letters and a Most Valuable Player award, in addition to four varsity track letters.

Both father and son were outstanding students, Owens Sr. graduating third in his class and Owens Jr. becoming a charter member of the National Honor Society. Both represented Crystal River at Boys State.

Mike Hampton, who could not attend Friday's game because he is pitching winter baseball in Venezuela, earned all-state honors in football and baseball before becoming a sixth-round draft choice of the Seattle Mariners in 1990. He currently is a left-handed reliever with the Houston Astros.

Also during Friday's halftime ceremony, baseball coach Joe Buccheri retired Hampton's No. 10 jersey, which he wore while pitching three one-hitters and two no-hitters compiling a 21-2 record his junior and senior years.

"It's an honor to be on the Wall but the biggest honor the high school paid Mike is to have his number retired," Hampton's father, Mike, said. "That said a lot, not only about his athletic ability but his attitude and work habits. I know the hard work he put in during high school."

Hickey was a surprise addition to the Wall, and didn't even know of his inclusion until it happened. Though not a Crystal River High grad, Hickey was recognized for the years he spent coaching baseball, football and weightlifting at the school from 1972-90. He is principal of Crystal River Middle School.

"There's no greater honor than to be recognized by your peers for the children you've worked with over 18 years," Hickey said. "This is one of the high points of my life."

The four will join the following people on the Wall of Fame with year of addition in parenthesis: Rob Hermann (1991); Lou Cappola (1991); Jeff Carnahan (1991); Anita Fenlon (1992); Denny Allen Jr. (1992); Archie Dabney (1992); Dr. Owen Twiner (1993); Charles Brooks Jr. (1993); Russ Baldner (1993); and Vivian Weaver (1993).

_ Correspondent Terry Organ contributed to this report.


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