The accolades are mounting, and there’s still another season to play.
Aquinas’ Brendan Douglas, star of the Fighting Irish football team, received the Deon Grant Player of the Year Award at Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center on Thursday during the annual All-Area Football Banquet presented by The Augusta Chronicle and the Augusta Sports Council.
The junior rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 27 touchdowns, but he also made a team-best 121 tackles and led the special teams this season.
In 2011, Douglas and the Fighting Irish reached the Georgia High School Association Class A state quarterfinals for the most successful season in program history. Aquinas went 9-4.
“There’s not really any words to describe it,” said Douglas, talking about the season. “It’s incredible what we did.”
North Augusta’s Vinny Miller and Edmund Burke’s Dawson Atkinson were also up for the Deon Grant Player of the Year Award.
More than 70 players – all members of the first team for Georgia or South Carolina or the Independent schools – from area schools were honored for their productive seasons.
“Our school is as popular as it’s ever been,” Aquinas coach Matt LeZotte said. “It has a lot to do with the success of our athletic programs.”
The New York Giants’ Deon Grant, a Josey great, announced the award winner in a video. Grant is in Indianapolis preparing for this Sunday’s Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
Grant, who acknowledged the support of area parents and coaches, stressed the importance of staying motivated and setting dreams.
Though Douglas took the Deon Grant award, he wasn’t the only high school individual who was honored on Thursday.
Evans’ Jacob Rizner was named the Augusta Sports Council Punter of the Year.
Rizner averaged more than 40 yards per punt and also had 507 receiving yards for the Knights.
“This year was really an improvement,” said Rizner, laughing that a 66-yard punt against Lakeside helped boost his season average.
The event was sponsored by Doctors Hospital, Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company and Augusta Coca-Cola.