Tuesday, November 15, 2016

MHS Honors Athletes At Fall Sports Banquet

Today's installment of "The Red Brick Wall: Building A Legacy," looks back at the 1986 Fall Athletic Banquet at Marshall High School, which originally appeared in the January 20, 1987, edition of the Marshall News Messenger. Highlights from the banquet were the football awards handed out to the 1986 Mavericks by head coach Dennis Parker; volleyball awards announced by coach Faye Whitlow; and the presentation of the 1986 13-5A cross country district championship by coach Richard Fluker.

Marshall News Messenger

Marshall High School honored athletes from football, volleyball and cross country during the school's annual fall sports banquet Monday night.

Coaches for each of the three sports presented the students who competed in those sports and gave plaques and/or certificates to the most outstanding members of the groups.

The banquet began in the high school cafeteria, but later moved to the auditorium for the presentation of awards. "I've always thought this is the way you should do this," said MHS head football coach and athletic director Dennis Parker. "This way they have to come out on the stage and be seen."

Parker told the crowd of about 175 athletes, parents, coaches and supporters that "the process of athletics is the only thing that counts.

"Winning or losing may be very satisfying, or very disappointing, but it's only temporary." The process of athletics teaches discipline, he said, "...not in a military sense of following orders and saying 'yes sir' and 'no sir.' Discipline is the ability to do what is right or needed when you don't want to do it.

"Athletics teaches young peoople to make a commitment, which is a rare thing these days," he said. "Five our of every eight marriages end in divorce, and 40 of every 100 people who enter our military quit after the first month. Athletics teaches young people never to quit," Parker added that determination never to quit was shown in the 1986 MHS football team.

The coach used a point from teh Longview game to illustrate his point. Marshall was behind 14-7 and Longview had the ball around its own 30-yard line on third down with 18 yards to go for a first.

"Somehow, through poor coaching on my part or whatever, they ran a Statue of Liberty play down to our seven," he recalled. "It seemed certain that Longview was going tos core and Marshall would find itself down 21-7 with less than three minutes in the game.

"The fans started leaving. I even had given up, but those kids out there on the field didn't give up. Four downs later, we've got the ball on our 20," he said.

"Those kids didn't get beat. Time ran out on them that night, but it won't run out on them in life," he said. "They've started a tradition this season that's going to be very hard to follow -- never quit."

Parker quoted an article that said American-Asian students, particularly Vietnamese refugees, have done better in school than any other group. He said they compose one-tenth of one percent of those applying to Harvard and 11 percent of the incoming class.

Parker said the story contained a comment that the trend would not carry over to the next generation, because the Asian immigrants would become "Americanized" and learn to settle for mediocrity.

"I'm an American and I'm not ready to settle for mediocrity," he said. "We didn't become a great nation by being mediocre. The future leaders of this world are sitting in this room. And I think that 10 years from now, if someone tells them they're average, they'll take it as an insult."

Presentation of the football awards began with defensive coordinator Bill Harper presenting the top defensive point-getter and defensive Most Valuable Player as voted on by team members.

Chris Parish was the team's leading point-getter with 179 points. Reggie Cooper was named the defensive MVP. Cooper was also chosen as the team's overall MVP.

MHS offensive coordinator Tom Thrower presented the Most Valuable Offensive Player award to sophomore running back Odell Beckham. Beckham was honored as Sophomore of the Year, an award he was also presented by four different newspapers this season.

Harold Survia was recognized as District 13-5A's all-district kick return specialist.

First-team all-district players, Cooper, Scott Ford and Thomas Montgomery, were congratulated. All-district second-team selections -- Emid Roberts, Parish and Bill Brazille -- were recognized, as were honorable mention selections Mark Neel, Mitch Eubanks, Dennis Sallee and Eric Perkins.

Kenneth Mitchell was presented the team's Fighting Heart Award. Neel and Brandon Bates, both of whom are expected to finish in the top 10 of the senior class, were honored for their academic achievements.

Team captains, also voted on by the players and coaches, were Roberts, Cooper, Sallee and Darrell Taylor.

Maverick Football Booster Club president, Donald Wayne McLendon, was presented the Super Booster Award.

Long John Silver's presented an award to Beckham as the Outstanding Offensive Player, Cooper as the Outstanding Defensive Player, and Survia as Outstanding Special Teams Player.


MHS Volleyball coach Faye Echols Whitlow said her team finished the season with a 24-10 record and was 9-5, or third, in District 13-5A.

Whitlow recalled the team's recovery from losing the first four district games to winning nine of the last 10 district matches.

The MHS Volleyball team wound up in a three-way tie for first in the second half of district play, but was eliminated by a tie-breaking process.

She noted the players who made all-district, including 13-5A's Sophomore of the Year, Kim Mitchell. Roslyn Reed was a unanimous first-team, all-district selection, Whitlow said. She recognized Angela Mitchell as a second-tam, all-district pick, and Sheila Wrighten, Madeline Jackson and Johnetta Bush as honorable mentions.

Whitlow also presented local awards. Johnetta Bush was picked as the outstanding server, with a 91 percent success rate.

Angela Mitchell was announced as team captain, and Reed won the annual "hustle" award.


Richard Fluker presented the District 13-5A championship cross-country team, noting that the team won five meets during the season and placed second in the sixth.

Sam Hammontree and Ron Dennis were honored as all-district selections. Hammontree was honored as the top scoring runner and winner of the academic award.

"This award goes to a senior, and Sam is our only senior," Fluker said. "But counselors tell me he's going to graduate about ninth in a class of nearly 400."

Scott Anderson was honored as the Most Improved Runner.