Emotions high for Campbell at scholar athlete banquet
NATCHEZ — When runner-up Joseph McClatchy’s name was announced, Adams County Christian School’s Kevin Campbell said he got really nervous.
McClatchy’s name being announced left only Campbell to be the recipient of the first-place scholarship Thursday night. And when the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame presented him the award, Kevin said he felt ecstatic.
“I was nervous the entire time, and when they called Joseph’s name, I started shaking and grabbed (ACCS junior high football) Coach (Rick) Fife and started squeezing him on the leg and slapping him,” Campbell said.
Campbell was one of six local athletes awarded scholarship money at the Miss-Lou chapter’s 31st annual banquet. Campbell’s scholarship was worth $3,000, and Trinity’s McClatchy won the second-place scholarship worth $2,250.
Cathedral’s Caleb Upton won the third-place scholarship for $1,750. Vidalia’s Thao Nguyen, Natchez High’s Levarious Dorsey and Ferriday High’s Richard Jefferson each received scholarships of $1,000.
Campbell said his getting acknowledged for his on-the-field and off-the-field accomplishments was a big deal to him.
“The work I put in, both the academic and athletic aspects, it’s all about being a true student-athlete and a valuable contributor to society,” Campbell said.
And that was the theme of the banquet’s guest speaker, former Delta State and current Southeastern Louisiana head coach Ron Roberts. Roberts said football is a valuable tool in helping prepare young men to succeed off the field.
“The attitude you take to any endeavor will determine how successful you are in that endeavor,” Roberts said.
“We want you to take those lessons you learned about teamwork, leadership, attitude and overcoming adversity — we want you to take them with you.”
Roberts said afterward that football wasn’t the only sport that can teach those lessons, but it was the one he was most familiar with.
“It’s such a team game, because there are so many parts that go into it,” Roberts said. “Anytime a kid competes, there are a lot of lessons that it teaches them.”
Even though he no longer coaches at Delta State, Roberts said it was nice to visit with local Delta State fans in the Miss-Lou.
“I owe a lot to Delta State,” Roberts said. “The people were great to me during my time there, and that’s what it’s all about, building relationships. It’s great to come spend time with and visit those people.”
Judge John Hudson was presented with the Miss-Lou chapter’s Distinguished American Award, and former South-Natchez football coach Ed Reed was given the Contributor to American Football award.
For Reed, the visit to Natchez was a homecoming of sorts, he said.
“I’ve coached in a lot of places, and it seemed liked the youngsters here had a lot of character,” Reed said. “They wanted to win at all costs. They didn’t like losing.”
Reed also said having an award given to him by Natchez was extra special.
“Coming from Natchez, this means everything,” Reed said. “I appreciate it. The people here were always so good to me.”