Hometown Superstars

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Josey High School product Deon Grant will get another shot at winning a ring today when the New York Giants defensive back takes the field in Super Bowl XLVI.

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Deon Grant  BILL KOSTROUN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
BILL KOSTROUN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Deon Grant

Grant is the most recent in a long line of Augusta-grown stars. After today, of the 46 Super Bowls played, 25 of them will have included either a player or coach from the Augusta area.

Steve Wright moved to Augusta after his playing days ended and was on the field for the first Super Bowl almost half a century ago.

Super Bowl I matched the winner of the NFL Championship against the winner of the AFL Championship. Wright, an offensive lineman, and his Green Bay teammates beat Kansas City at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles with MVP quarterback Bart Starr leading the way.

Wright was among the Packer backups and got a taste of the first big game.

Ray Guy, a Thomson native, has had more success than any other local product, earning three Super Bowl rings.

The punter helped the Raiders franchise win three in an eight-year span, the first two while the team was in Oakland and the final one out of Los Angeles.

Though his first Super Bowl experience included his first professional punt blocked, Guy said his first time at the big game will always be a lasting memory.

“There are people that won’t let me forget that,” he said.

“I guess the first one had to mean a little bit more because it was the first one. To me, I try to treat them all as just another game. I know there are very, very, very few people who get to play in it, but when you’re there you have to keep things in perspective.”

HOMETOWN SUPERSTARS

DEON GRANT

Josey High School

SUPER BOWL XXXVIII: As a starting free safety for the Carolina Panthers, Grant made five tackles – three solo – in a 32-29 loss to the New England Patriots on Feb. 1, 2004.

SUPER BOWL XLVI: A safety for the New York Giants, Grant will make his second Super Bowl appearance today. Grant made two tackles and intercepted Tom Brady in a Week 9 win over the Patriots.

STEVE WRIGHT

Augusta resident

SUPER BOWL I: Wright played as a backup when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10, on Jan. 15, 1967.

CHARLIE WATERS

North Augusta High School

SUPER BOWLS V, VI, X, XII, XIII: Waters played in five Super Bowls as a Dallas Cowboys defensive back and got rings for wins over Miami in Super Bowl VI in 1972, and Denver in Super Bowl XII in 1978.

BARNEY CHAVOUS

Solomon High School (New Ellenton)

SUPER BOWL XII: Before coaching football at Josey, Chavous played on the Denver Broncos’ defensive line in a 27-10 loss to the Cowboys on Jan. 15, 1978.

SUPER BOWLS XXXII, XXXIII: Chavous won two rings as an assistant coach for Denver as the Broncos defeated the Packers, 31-24, on Jan. 25, 1998, and the Atlanta Falcons, 34-19, on Jan. 31, 1999.

WILLIAM PERRY

Aiken High School

SUPER BOWL XX: “The Refrigerator” scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run to help the Chicago Bears beat New England, 46-10, on Jan. 26, 1986.

IRA HILLARY

Strom Thurmond High School

SUPER BOWL XXIII: Hillary caught a 17-yard pass from Boomer Esiason in the Bengals’ 20-16 loss to San Francisco.

CHRIS MOHR

Briarwood Academy

SUPER BOWLS XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII: Mohr was the starting punter for the final three of Buffalo’s four consecutive Super Bowl losses in the 1990s.

TROY BROWN

Blackville-Hilda High School

SUPER BOWLS XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX: Brown grabbed 17 receptions for 182 yards to help New England beat the Rams, Panthers and Eagles for three rings in four years, from 2002-2005.

EMERSON BOOZER

Laney High School

SUPER BOWL III: Boozer rushed for 19 yards on 10 attempts to help Joe Namath and the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 on Jan. 12, 1969.

CHUCK EVANS

Glenn Hills High School

SUPER BOWL XXXV: Evans was a backup running back for Baltimore when the Ravens knocked off the New York Giants, 34-7, on Jan. 28, 2001.

KEN WHISENHUNT

Richmond Academy

SUPER BOWL XL: Whisenhunt earned a Super Bowl ring as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive coordinator in a 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 5, 2006.

SUPER BOWL XLIII: Whisenhunt was unable to repeat the feat three years later as the head coach of the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals, who suffered a 27-23 loss to his former Steelers on Feb. 1, 2009.

* Although they did not play in the game, former Josey stars Jimmie Johnson (Redskins, 1991) and Arnold Harrison (Steelers, 2006) were part of teams that won Super Bowl titles.

RAY GUY

Thomson High School

SUPER BOWLS XI, XV, XVIII: Guy won three Super Bowl rings as a starting punter for the Raiders. He averaged 40.5 yards per punt in a 32-14 win over Minnesota in 1977, lifted his average to 42 yards per punt in a 27-10 win over Philadelphia in 1981, and tallied a 42.7-yard average in a 38-9 win over Washington in 1984.

BARNEY BUSSEY

Lincoln County High School

SUPER BOWL XXIII: Bussey played defense for the Cincinnati Bengals in a 20-16 loss to San Francisco on Jan. 22, 1989.

JARIUS WYNN

Lincoln County High School

SUPER BOWL XLV: Wynn was a backup defensive player for the Green Bay Packers when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, on Feb. 6, 2011.

Sources: Augusta Chronicle archives, pro-football-reference.com, nfl.com, espn.com

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