NHS hosts banquet

Published 12:01 am Friday, January 6, 2012

Natchez High School’s assistant football coach Trey Woodard gives Larry Chatman the three-year letterman award during the Natchez High School Sports Awards Banquet Thursday night at the Steckler Multipurpose Building. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

 

NATCHEZ — The 2011 Natchez High School football team had its last hoorah Thursday night.

Players, coaches, parents and guests gathered at the Steckler Multipurpose Center to enjoy food, fellowship and awards in honor of the Bulldogs 2011 season, which saw the team finish with a 6-5 record.

Head coach Lance Reed said this year’s event was made even more special because, unlike years past, football had its own banquet separated from the other fall sports.

“It’s really special to get these guys together as a team,” he said. “The fellowship is really important. (Being with teammates) is what it’s all about.”

Natchez High Athletic Director Fred Butcher said the event honors the accomplishments of last season’s team, while also working to inspire the players that will return next season.

“The banquet is to reward the students for their hard work and to try to set a foundation for motivation for next season,” Butcher said.

Each Bulldog player was honored with a medal, and several other players were honored with individual awards.

Among those was senior Xavier Green, who was named overall team MVP.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Green said. “I was overwhelmed. I didn’t think I was going to win so many awards. It’s an outstanding feeling being named MVP.”

Attorney and former NHS student Tony Gaylor gives a motivational speech during the banquet. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

Green also was honored with his third varsity letter as well as a special award for his contribution to the Natchez offense.

Green said he would treasure memories of his senior season.

“I will always remember playing with they guys beside me on the defensive line and offensive line,” he said. “I’ve been friends with them all my life.”

Although Green has hopes of continuing his football career in college next fall, he said he is still keeping the Bulldogs in mind.

“I leave notes and guidelines to the juniors,” he said. “And I am going to come back to check on them in my free time.”

Including Green, 10 Bulldogs received their third varsity letter at the banquet.

Junior Derrian Johnson was honored with the offensive MVP award, and Charles Bates received the defensive MVP award.

The special award on the defensive side of the ball was given to Kris Weatherspoon.

Four players were also awarded for their academic achievement. Sidney Davis won the ninth-grade academic award, Avery Jones won the award for the 10th grade, Greg Jackson won the 11th grade award and Levarious Dorsey won the award for the seniors.

Attorney, and former North Natchez High graduate, Tony Gaylor was the guest speaker for the event and although the event celebrated the past season, he wanted the players to focus on the future.

“Basically my message is about making sure they know the challenges before them,” Gaylor said. “I want them to look forward in life. They don’t need to peak too soon.”

Gaylor said he hoped his words reached as many of the players as they could.

“I can only hope my words I have to share would be received well, because I’ve been in many of the places they are now.”

Gaylor said his time at North Natchez helped shape him into the adult he is today.

“It was the most pleasurable educational experience I’ve had to date,” he said. “The teachers at North Natchez were encouraging. They did everything they could to encourage and support us.”

Also present at the banquet was the Robert Lewis Middle School football team, which was being honored for its 2011 Southwest Mississippi Junior High Conference Championship.