COPPERAS COVE — It was a sweet moment.
Immediately after Copperas Cove senior Elijah Timarky’s early-morning signing ceremony Wednesday, his mother began placing ornate necklaces made of cellophane, various miniature candy bars, bubble gum balls and ribbons over her son’s head.
The linebacker was adorned with multiple ropes of chocolate and candy.
“They are leis,” Timarky said. “My Mom is Samoan, so she makes them every time something special happens.
“Wait until graduation, they will be stacked over my head.”
While many high school students might be content with the treats, Timarky had other reasons to celebrate after committing to play football at Harding (Ark.) in front of friends, family and teammates packed inside the Bulldawg Gymnasium meeting room.
On the heels of a sleepless night, however, Timarky could probably use the sugar rush.
“It was hard to rest last night,” he said. “I was tossing and turning because I was excited.”
Although the anticipation was overwhelming, the decision to play for the Bison was easy.
After leading the Bulldawgs in total tackles (149), including 11 for a loss, recovering three fumbles and recording one and a half sacks during the 2013 season, Timarky choose Harding based on its academics, but discovered a perk when touring the campus.
“The facilities are really nice,” he said. “They have a weight room that is just for the football players and the playing field is right next to it. That sold me.”
Coming from a team with the state’s top offense, it became difficult at times for the Bulldawgs’ defense to get noticed, but Timarky was always making plays, according to Copperas Cove defensive coordinator Reb Brock.
“He was honorable mention this year in our district, which is saying something because our district is one of the toughest in the state,” Brock said. “He did a great job for us, and I don’t have any doubt that he will continue to do great things because he works hard and he’ll do whatever he has to do to play at the next level.”
With his high school career complete, Timarky is excited to be moving on to the next chapter of his life, but he refuses to forget about his time with the Bulldawgs.
His most memorable moment occurred last season in the final seconds of regulation against Midway.
“Right before we went to overtime, I stopped their running back from scoring,” Timarky recalled.
In the end, the tackle was in vain as the Panthers eventually earned a 42-39 victory, but Timarky believes plenty of new memories will be made at Harding.
“I can only get better,” he said, “and I have no time to waste.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org