Banquet to honor local scholar athletes

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 18, 2010

NATCHEZ — When you look at each school in Adams County and Concordia Parish, the first thing that likely comes to mind is rivalries that have developed over the years.

Ferriday and Vidalia are cross-town rivals. Natchez vs. Ferriday in football, and Natchez vs. Vidalia in basketball are always huge. Cathedral and ACCS played each other in basketball for the first time ever in November, and Trinity and ACCS have played many a fierce rivalry game against one another.

However, on Feb. 25, those rivalries will be put aside, as top student-athletes from each school will all be honored at the 29th annual Banquet of the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Foundation director Terry Estes said the banquet, which is held annually at the Eola Hotel, is done to recognize senior athletes at each local high school who excel not only on the field, but also in the classroom.

“All the area coaches nominate an athlete, and send in a resume, which we forward to a committee at Copiah Lincoln Community College that’s headed up by Teresa Busby,” Estes said.

“The most money is awarded to where each athlete is placed by the committee. They award the athletes a first-place scholarship, a second-place scholarship and a third-place scholarship. They also give a scholarship to the remaining four, worth the same amount.”

The reason behind letting a Co-Lin committee determine each nominee’s placement is so the risk of local biases don’t come into play, Estes added.

“It keeps it all impartial, and allows the decisions to be made by people who are involved in academics as their career,” he said.

Nominated for ACCS is Bryce Murray; for Cathedral, Dylan White; for Ferriday, Xavier Allen; for Huntington, Cody Dye; for Natchez, Kelvin Barber; for Trinity, Deacon Newman; and for Vidalia, Gary Stewart.

In addition, the banquet will also honor junior high school athletes from all six schools, as well as a Contributor to Amateur Football, which will go to Trinity’s David King.

“Each athlete is a player that the head coaches at each respective school feels is someone who contributed to the team by showing up, practicing and playing hard, and showing integrity and leadership, even if they didn’t start for the team,” Estes said.

The keynote speaker at this year’s banquet is Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen, whom Estes said was reached out to about speaking at the event almost a year ago.

“Our Mississippi State people said they would have loved to have Dan Mullen come down here, so they started working on getting him here shortly after last year’s banquet.

“He’s already been here once, and he wants to come again, because it gives him an opportunity to get to know the community more. It also means a lot to these kids, him being there.”