Come to banquet to honor athletes

Published 12:05 am Friday, February 16, 2018

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will recognize local junior high and senior high student athletes and their coaches at our annual awards banquet at the Hotel Vue on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.

The seven high school seniors representing local area high schools — Adams County Christian School, Cathedral High, Delta Charter School, Ferriday High, Natchez High, Trinity High and Vidalia High — will receive a total of $11,000 in scholastic awards for their accomplishments on the playing field, and in their community, school and church.

The Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame was established in 1981 by several of the local football greats from our area and several of our local business men including Mississippi Hall of Famers Joe Fortunato and Allen Brown, State Sen. Bob Dearing, former mayor Tony Byrne, coach Red Owens, Louis and Fred Foster, Floyd Eppinette, Noland Biglane, Phil Vasser, Albert Metcalfe, Al and Chick Graning, Andy Pressgrove, Jack Benson, Ken Whittington, and Premo Stallone.

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In the early years, the local Miss-Lou chapter only recognized each scholar athlete at the banquet and awarded each with a certificate of accomplishment. But through the hard work and dedication of the founders of the local chapter, and the support of the community, the annual Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic was established and the proceeds from the tournament enabled the group to award $10,000 in scholarships. In 2016, the local tournament changed its name to the Joe Fortunato-Allen Brown Annual Golf Classic.  All of the proceeds from the golf tournament and donations from the community are used to fully fund the scholastic awards.

The local scholar athletes representing their schools are junior high/middle school athletes, Gary Lane Rehms Jr. from ACCS, James Paxton Junkin from Cathedral, Jared Lynn Barron from Delta Charter, Decarlos Robinson from Ferriday, Jerome Joseph Timmons Jr. from Robert Lewis Magnet School and Ryan Hunter Ashley from Vidalia.  High school senior scholar athletes are Caden Everet Gillespie from ACCS, Henry Gavin Carpenter from Cathedral, Deavern Deangelo Mays from Delta Charter, Jerrius D. Scott from Ferriday High, Ernest Lavander Woods Jr. from Natchez High, Demond Fleming, Jr. from Trinity Episcopal and Zachary Adams Nelson from Vidalia High School.

Also two community awards will be presented: The Contributions to Amateur Football award will go to Willie Woods Jr. and the Distinguished American Award will go to to Clyde Ray Webber Jr.

The guest speaker at this year’s banquet is the Rev. Tim Brown, the head pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Vicksburg.  Tim played linebacker at Copiah-Lincoln Community College when they won the coveted Mississippi State Junior College Championship and defeated Nassau Community College in the East Bowl during post season play.  Tim continued his collegiate career at the University of Mississippi where he started two years on the offensive line as strong guard. He was selected team captain his senior year and was awarded the Team Leadership Award by the Birmingham Touchdown Club.   We are looking forward to his message to the scholar athletes.

Tickets to the banquet can be purchased from any local member of the Miss Lou Chapter of the NFF-CHOF or by calling Freddie Sandel at 601-442-9246 or from Terry Estes State Farm Insurance on Seargent Prentiss Drive in Natchez.


Freddie Sandel is the president of the  Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.