Thursday night’s all-area football banquet, as presented by The Augusta Chronicle and the Augusta Sports Council, was very revealing.
The banquet was for the 75 high school football players who earned all-area first team selection by The Chronicle for their exploits this past fall on the field.
Proud parents, former NFL players, coaches, friends and sponsors were told of the statistical accomplishments that resulted in the selections.
And during the introductions, the speaker revealed the other in-school and extracurricular activities of the players, citing one young man’s work as a volunteer firefighter. He spoke of their GPAs and their college hopes and dreams.
The players of the year for South Carolina, Georgia and the independent schools were honored. The coaches of the year in those areas were feted.
The banquet also features the inductions into the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame and names the high school punter of the year.
In addition to The Chronicle and the sports council, sponsors of the event were Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co., American Family Insurance, Augusta Coca-Cola and Johannsen Sporting Goods. Representatives of these companies handed out awards. Each company revealed itself with its investment in the future.
A night for recognition. A night to remember. And a night for namesakes.
The two biggest awards of the night are named for local men who followed their dreams to the NFL.
Both achieved success at that level. Both spoke about what having an award named for them meant. But they spoke not about themselves.
One spoke about the importance and legacy of a position oft slighted or dismissed in football circles. He spoke of the skill needed and the tactical advantage in a ball well-punted.
The other spoke about focus. He spoke to the young men about steeling their minds against the distractions of life.
Both spoke from the heart.
The Ray Guy Award has been presented by the Augusta Sports Council
for 14 years. It recognizes both its namesake and the best collegiate punter in the nation. University of Memphis punter Tom Hornsey won.
The Deon Grant Award has been presented by The Augusta Chronicle for seven years. It recognizes both
its namesake and the best high school player in our area.
Aquinas High School junior running back Ruben Garnett is that player.
Ray Guy spent part of Thursday afternoon at a kicking session he holds annually with the awards. Deon Grant spent Friday morning at local schools.
Two local products well-honored by their service.