Newport's Hasson makes Dad proud

Titus Hasson talked to his father last week, after his football game at Newport Harbor High.

Hasson gave him his stats, 110 yards and two touchdowns as a running back and two interceptions as a safety. Anthony Hasson told his son he was proud of his overall performance on the field.

"He said he's my No. 1 fan," said Hasson, a senior.

Hasson's top supporter has never seen him play in high school.

Hasson said his father is in jail. Anthony has been, Hasson said, since Hasson entered seventh grade.

Hasson doesn't know why his dad is behind bars or when he will get out.

Whenever Anthony calls Hasson on the phone, they mostly talk about football and positive things. Their conversation was upbeat last week.

Hasson led the Sailors to a 33-3 victory against Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. In a way, Anthony was at Davidson Field that night.

"He'll call my uncle during the game and he'll give him like play-by-play," Hasson said. "He was excited."

Hasson is a happy teenager. A big reason why is because of a move he made the summer heading into his sophomore year. It wasn't any easy one.

Hasson left Las Vegas, his mother Raiko Lewis and his two younger sisters. He moved into the area to live with his aunt Michelle Thames and uncle Jehrrod Thames. Jehrrod is Raiko's brother.

To Hasson, the situation at the Thames household is perfect. Sure, he gets in little arguments with the Thames' three kids, but he said he loves his cousins to death.

"It's like a dream come true," Hasson said of staying with the Thames family. "I don't think I would be playing football (if I was living in Las Vegas). I hated it out there. I'm just happy because my aunt gave me a chance to live out here with her. I'm thankful to her."

Hasson is grateful because Michelle pushed him to be a better student.

She didn't allow Hasson to play football in the fall of his sophomore year, his first semester at Newport Harbor. The reason: Hasson's grades weren't acceptable the past year at Cimarron-Memorial High in Las Vegas.

"She wanted me to focus on school, so I had to take a year off," Hasson said. "It was hard because that was the first year I didn't get to play football. I came and watched a couple of games. It just felt weird not playing."

Hasson always excelled at the sport. His father was the one who signed him up for Pop Warner when the two lived together in Rancho Cucamonga.

Hasson said the living arrangement lasted four years, from third to sixth grade. When his father was incarcerated, Hasson moved back to Las Vegas to live with his mom.

Being without his father took a toll.

"He used to go to all my games, all of our practices," Hasson said. "I'll see him again one day."

Hasson's goal is to play in college. Maybe by then, his father will be out and he can come watch Hasson run with the ball or make a big hit.

Hasson has two brothers, Tajh and Tim Hasson, playing football at UNLV. The two are defensive backs, just like Hasson. The three are similarly built, around 6-foot-1 and above 190 pounds.

Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley believes Hasson can play cornerback on the next level. He's raved about his cover and running abilities.

Brinkley is the one who discovered Hasson on campus as a sophomore. Hasson said Brinkley was his physical education teacher.

"I was just running past everybody," Hasson said. "He just saw me and asked me to join the team."

Brinkley is glad Hasson is at Newport Harbor.

The Sailors needed a tailback this season when Buzzy Yokoyama, a first-team All-Sunset League pick, transferred to Mission Viejo High for his senior year.

Hasson has turned into a threat right before Newport Harbor (2-3) opens Sunset League play at home Friday against Fountain Valley (3-2). On any carry, Hasson can go the distance. He scored on a 52-yard run last week.

While Anthony can't see his son play, Anthony's mother, Betty, has attended Hasson's games. She was sitting in the front row last week.

"She hasn't missed a game," Hasson said of his grandmother, who lives in Fontana. "She went to [the game in] San Clemente [a couple of weeks ago]. She drove all the way to San Clemente. That meant a lot to me. Then she got this shirt that has [my] No. 4 on it."

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Titus Hasson

Born: Jan. 7, 1993

Hometown: Las Vegas

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 190 pounds

Sport: Football

Position: Running back and free safety

Coach: Jeff Brinkley

Favorite food: Tacos

Favorite movie: "Remember the Titans"

Favorite athletic moment: "Battle of the Bay. We came back and won."

Week in review: Hasson rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted two passes to lead Newport Harbor to a 33-3 home victory against Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach.

david.carrillo@latimes.com

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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