Scholarship money awarded to local athletes

Published 12:30 am Friday, February 26, 2010

NATCHEZ — Mississippi State University head football coach Dan Mullen began the Miss-Lou chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s 29th annual banquet by talking about reaching your potential every day.

The foundation then awarded seven high school student-athletes who have lived their lives by that credo.

Mullen was the keynote speaker for the banquet, in which the foundation gave $10,000 of scholarship money to seven athletes, one from each of the schools in the Miss-Lou.

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Cody Dye of Huntington, Codie Barber of Natchez High, Deacon Newman of Trinity Episcopal and Bryce Murray of Adams County Christian were awarded $1,000.

Xavier Todd Allen of Ferriday was the third-place recipient, winning $1,750 while Vidalia’s Gary Stewart was the second place winner, being awarded $2,000.

But for the second consecutive year, the nominee from Cathedral won the first place award, with Dylan White taking home $2,250 in scholarship money.

Cathedral’s Harrison Burns won last year’s $2,250 award.

“It’s an honor to be named with the best of the Miss-Lou,” White said. “I try to put my best morals forward and be a role model for the underclassmen.”

The athletes were honored not only for their success on the football field, but also in the classroom and the community.

And White’s football and baseball coach at Cathedral, Craig Beesley, wasn’t surprised at all to see his player take home the top scholarship award.

“Dylan has been a true leader on the field and in the community,” Beesley said. “His leadership skills are invaluable for us.”

White is the son of Reagan and Emily White.

Before the awards were given out, Mullen encouraged each of the athletes to make the most of every day of their lives.

“If you’re willing to work hard and sacrifice, you can reach any goal,” Mullen said. “Being a champion in life is a difficult thing. It isn’t a sometimes thing, it’s an all the time thing. I tell my players, ‘If you can turn off being a champion in the classroom, how can I know you won’t turn it off on fourth down at the goal line?’ If you live your life like a champion, the sky is the limit for your possibilities.”

And Mullen told the group that each day is a chance to reach your potential and strive for your goals.

“Before you go to sleep at night, ask yourself, ‘Did I reach my potential today?’ And if not, God has given you the gift of another day to do that. Make tomorrow the best day you can make it.”

In addition to the scholarship awards, seven junior high athletes were honored with certificates.

Tyler Buckes of ACCS, Thomas Garrity of Cathedral, Karl Hall of Ferriday, Garrett Vinson of Huntington, Jared Jamal Fletcher of Natchez Middle, Wesley Gore of Trinity and Charles William Alexander III of Vidalia were honored as junior high scholar-athletes.

The foundation also awarded Trinity Episcopal football coach David King with the Contributions to Amateur Football Award and Premo Stallone Jr. with the Distinguished American Award.