NHS hosts football banquet featuring honored Alcorn guests

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 10, 2011

NATCHEZ — For the Natchez High football team, it was a night of honoring parents, coaches and players for hard work during the season.

For Alcorn State University, it was a time to serve a local high school and local Braves alumni and fans.

Natchez High school hosted its annual football banquet in the Steckler Multipurpose Building Wednesday night, where athletes were given post-season awards and the team was recognized for its 9-3 season.

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Honored guests included new Alcorn State football coach Melvin Spears, new Alcorn State President Dr. M. Christopher Brown and former Interim President Dr. Norris Edney. All three men gave speeches during the banquet.

Natchez High football coach Lance Reed said his team’s dedication is what allowed them to be successful this past fall.

“These guys put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes,” Reed said. “It takes a lot of character to dedicate to something, and what these players did means a lot. It really will benefit them in the long run, in their future endeavors.”

Defensive MVP for the Bulldogs went to linebacker Raymond Williams, while running back Kevin Bailey got Offensive MVP. Quarterback Javon Washington won Team MVP.

Reed had a lot of praises for his seniors, not only for this past season, but for the four years of dedication they offered to the program.

“What stood out to me, overall, was that our kids really developed over the years they were in the program,” Reed said.

“I’m proud to see our young men come into the program, compete for four yeas and help put Natchez on the map. I’m hopeful that these guys behind them will really follow suit.”

Brown said he was honored to make it to the football banquet, and that he was trying to help his university do a better job reaching out to local communities.

“As a university, it’s our responsibility to serve the community in which we’re stationed,” Brown said.

“We have to open our doors and broaden ourselves to new communities. We want to make everyone from Adams to Pike, Jefferson Warren, Franklin and all surrounding areas feel welcome. As chief ambassador, I want to make it known that it’s their university.”

And Spears said it was important to establish a recruiting base in a community that’s so close to Alcorn.

“We want to recruit outstanding players from Mississippi, especially those within 40 minutes of our campus,” Spears said.

“It certainly puts butts in the seats, and there’s an excellent alumni base here, so we want to accommodate them in whatever way we can.”