The Worth County Rams football program held a bittersweet awards ceremony last Thursday evening at the high school. Not only did the banquet represent the final gathering as a team for some 17 Ram seniors, but the evening also marked the end of Head Coach Scotty Ward’s, and many of his assistant coaches’, tenure in Worth County.
WCHS Principal Dr. Russ Chesser began the presentation by recognizing academic award recipients including freshmen Tripp Goff, sophomore Calvin Warren, junior Matthew McKinney, and senior John Buchanan.
Moving along to the recognition of stand-out athletes during the 2012 season, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Ken Holland began by recognizing the Rams’ quarterbacks. As Holland explained, the Rams offense started slow last season, but the team really began producing on the offensive side of the ball late in the season through the passing game. After recognizing senior quarterback Eli Reddell, Coach Ward returned to recognize the running backs.
Ward began by thanking senior James Lindsey for his commitment to the football program this year before calling on Junior Quantavious Sweeney. Despite an injury that left Sweeney unable to play for half of the 2012 season, the tailback still impressed on every carry last season.
According to the coach, “In the next year… He will be a major contributor and he will do big things for Worth County football. I couldn’t be any more proud of Sweeney and what he has accomplished here.”
Next, Ward discussed the freshman season of Zytavious Anderson. The young tailback produced one of the top five rushing games in Worth’s history with 284 yards against Albany High on 40 carries. Again, the coach explained he expects big things out of Zy in the years to come if he “does what he is supposed to do” in the class room and in the weight room.
Then, Coach John Popham recognized the wide receivers. Popham immediately named four seniors who played major roles for the Rams last season: Lavonte Robinson, Thomas Ausby, Deen Worley, and Brian Swilley. Lavonte scored nine touchdowns this season and gained over 600 yards for the Rams while Worley came on late in the season to fill in the gaps with sure hands.
After the receivers were awarded, Coach Chase Giddens recognized the offensive line players for 2012. Giddens called his three seniors “coaches on the field.” First, the O-line coach recognized Marquavian Mency who led the team with 28 pancake blocks in his senior season, and has been awarded a scholarship to Bellhaven University (Giddens’ Alma Mater). Next, the coach called on Drew Norton, who he called the hardest working player he has worked with in his five-year career. And finally, Coach Giddens named senior Kevin Smith.
The coach gave an emotional recollection of Kevin’s hard work and talent and dedication. Though the senior lineman was expected to play at the next level, an injury last season ended Smith’s chances of even playing the game again. Giddens stated he hopes Kevin will pursue a career in coaching because he is so dedicated to the game.
On the defensive line, Coach Giddens also recognized four seniors: Oscar Lewis, Wesley Douthit, Carl Parker, and Clay Lawson. These linemen are among the hardest working players in the game, and their brutal and punishing performances on Friday nights kept the Rams in the ball game each week.
Then, Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Cedric Stegall recognized the linebackers for 2012. Only one senior was named, John Buchanan, but he was commended by coach Stegall as a leader and “another coach on the field.”
And, Coach Kenyon Sims named the defensive backs for 2012. Among the three seniors, Coach Sims named Marlin Hall first. “He has represented Worth County to the fullest,” the defensive backs coach stated.
The coach also named Hakeem Slade and Lavonte Robinson. Both of these players were named as integral parts of the Worth defense last season. Sims said these players are intelligent and disciplined, and he expects them to be successful in the future.
On special teams, kicker Aaron Sinclair was called “probably the best kick in the school’s history” by Coach Ward. While Sinclair serves as the soccer team’s goalie as well, Ward says the junior has a future in football if he wants to pursue it.
Additionally, four captains were named including Eli Reddell, Marlin Hall, John Buchanan (who is the recipient of the Zell Miller Scholarship and has chosen to walk on at Georgia Southern), and Lavonte Robinson. Aaron Sinclair was named special teams’ player of the year, while Marlin Hall was named Defensive MVP and Lavonte Robinson was named Offensive MVP.
Finally, Coach Scotty Ward explained the significance of this year’s Ram Award recipient. According to the coach, “He’s that guy who is always there, always leading, always getting everybody on the go, and without him things would be a lot harder for us.”
The 2012 Ram Award was given to senior offensive lineman Kevin Smith.
After all of the awards had been given out, the seniors gathered on stage and presented Scotty Ward with a game ball signed by each upcoming graduate. Coach Ward offered an emotion filled speech to thank his players. In his last words as a Worth Football Coach, “It’s a great time for me to be here. Not just the last four years, but the last 11. I guess I’ve kind of grown up with these students… I think this has been something really good, and I hope that we have instilled something in them besides football. Hopefully, they’re going to grow up and become people in this community that are your leaders and make something of this place. I just want to say thanks.”