Welch gets top scholarship from Miss-Lou NFFHOF

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Paying for college just got easier for the parents of Vidalia senior football player Mark Welch.

He was the top scholarship winner at the Miss-Lou chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame&8217;s annual banquet Thursday night at the Natchez Eola Hotel. Welch was among seven winners at the banquet, but his prize was a $2,000 scholarship as the first-place winner.

Murphy Hinson of Cathedral was second and won the $1,750 scholarship. David Davis of Natchez High was third and won the $1,500 scholarship.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;It&8217;s going to definitely help out with college,&8221; said Welch, who plans to attend Louisiana Tech and major in mechanical engineering. &8220;With Murphy Hinson, I figured he would get it or one of the other guys. I was surprised when they called out his name for second place and there was only one (name) left.&8221;

Welch was chosen by judges at Copiah-Lincoln Community College as the winner based on academic performance, athletic achievement, extra-curricular activities, community involvement and overall balance. Welch played split end, deep snapper on the punt team and on the kickoff team.

He&8217;s also involved in numerous groups with the school and in the community, and he has a 4.0 GPA and scored 30 on the ACT. He was also selected to the LHSAA&8217;s composite All-State academic team, a list that includes players from all classes.

He is the son of Todd and Cristi Welch.

&8220;They have done a heck of a job with him,&8221; Vidalia head coach Dee Faircloth said. &8220;In parenthood 101, they scored an A-plus. I&8217;ll send them a lot more kids in the future. We&8217;re real excited about this youngster. We&8217;re really proud of him. He&8217;ll go to Louisiana Tech, and I&8217;ve very positive he&8217;ll be a successful young man.&8221;

Hinson and Davis were the other two top winners, while the remaining four &8212; Kyle Dunaway of Trinity Episcopal, Anthony McCray of Ferriday, Hunter Norwood of Huntington and Lee Dellinger of Adams Christian &8212; won $1,000 scholarships.

Hinson and Davis both have GPAs above 4.0 with Hinson at 4.42 and Davis at 4.369. Both are members of various community and school groups. Davis, who played strong safety, became a part of the Natchez High team before his season was cut short by an ACL injury.

&8220;This kid epitomizes what we&8217;re looking for,&8221; NHS head coach Lance Reed said. &8220;David did decide to play football. He worked hard and was eager to be out there. He tore his ACL in the third or fourth game, and it was tough. But he dedicated himself to our football team and what we were trying to do.&8221;

Hinson, who scored a 28 on the ACT, played guard, middle linebacker, punter and kicker for the Green Wave. CHS head coach Ken Beesley Sr. pointed to Hinson as one of the more vocal seniors who kept things positive when the season took a turn for the worse.

&8220;I&8217;ve been coaching 30 years, and we had more injuries this year than any year I can remember,&8221; Beesley said. &8220;It would have been easy to throw in the towel and finish the year out, but Murphy didn&8217;t allow them to do that.&8221;

Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron was the guest speaker for the banquet. The chapter also gave Concordia Sentinel sports editor Joey Martin the Contributor to Amateur Football Award and Albert Metcalfe the Distinguished American award.