Scrapper accolades: Host of awards presented at Rotary banquet
By John R. Schirmer
Senior quarterback Joel Hendry was named the Nashville Scrappers’ Most Valuable Player Saturday night at the conclusion of the 53rd annual Rotary Football Banquet.
Hendry was one of the leading passers in the state, despite playing the entire season with a torn ACL.
“I’ve seen a lot of things happen, but I’ve never seen a guy throw for 48 touchdowns and 4,000 yards on one leg,” Coach Billy Dawson said. “He showed so much courage.”
Rotary president Jonathan Canaday presented the MVP award to Hendry. Canaday said Hendry showed “a great work ethic” throughout the season.
Hendry spoke briefly following the presentation. “It was a fun year. I’d do anything to relive it,” he told the Rotarians, teammates and guests. “I want to say a big thank you to everybody for being part of it.”
The MVP presentation climaxed a night of awards for the Scrappers, who finished the season 10-3 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state Class 4A playoffs.
Champion awards – Justin Kennedy, defense; Ques Hendrix, offense.
Special teams – Chas Scott. Coach Jerry Baker said Scott “exemplifies everything we looked for.
Outstanding defensive line – Co-winners Tyler Parker and Traveon Muldrow. Baker, in his first year with the Scrappers, said it is sometimes “difficult to welcome a new-comer. The players were kind enough to accept me. We had a great year.”
Outstanding defensive linebacker – Jacolby Crow. Coach Brian “Boomer” Brown said Crow recorded 101 tackles, 6 tackles for losses, 5 sacks and a pass break-up. Brown said the defenders made progress as they got farther into the season. “As the year went on, they turned into a great unit.
Outstanding defensive back – Donyell King. Defensive backs “had a number of injuries. I’m proud of them as a group. They always played hard. We had a lot of seniors who I’ll miss,” Coach Brian Bearden said.
Bearden also thanked the coaching staff and players for their support during the season. “My favorite thing about teaching and coaching is the relationships I build with young people. The relationships inside the fieldhouse are important. The young people gave me a ray of sunshine.”
Bearden said the coaching staff is close. “Everybody has hardships, but we’re a strong family. This is a group of brothers here that I consider part of my family. I want them to know publicly how much I appreciate them and love them.”
Outstanding offensive lineman – Cameron Alexander. Coach D.J. Graham said Alexander had the offensive line’s leading percentage and led in big blocks. “He’s a student of the game,” Graham said. When the Scrappers faced Malvern, they went up against one of the best defensive lines in the state, Graham said. “Cameron had #50. It was a long night for the Malvern Leopards. That was a Scrapper moment.”
“Everybody is aware of the challenge of the offensive line – keep the quarterback healthy,” Graham said. With Hendry’s torn ACL, “We knew [other teams] would take a shot at number 10. Our O-line protected him. We wanted to be mentally prepared on every snap and be in the right spot.”
Starting with the De Queen game, the unit received a steak dinner if there wasn’t a sack.
Parents and others also continued the lineman night tradition, Graham said. Former Coach Michael Howard began the tradition.
Outstanding receiver – LaVonte Thomas and Donyell King. “Every year gets a little better. Receivers are a little bit needy. They’re kind of prima donnas. Three years ago, I met a group of sophomores who left me in awe. I was anxious to watch them grow. It’s been a privilege,” Coach Paul Ernest said.
Outstanding back – Joel Hendry. The senior quarterback’s courage in the face of his injury was evident throughout the season, according to Dawson. “In the Arkadelphia game, he’s hurting and goes to the bench. It had slipped out for the first time. Then I looked up, and Joel was back in the huddle, ready to go. Another time, he was on the ground. ‘You’re not carrying me off here. I can’t let them see me get carried off,’ he said. He was talking about our guys. He got up and walked off,” Dawson said.
“Nobody’s had a greater year or set a greater example,” Dawson said.
Permanent Team Captains – Jacolby Crow, Joel Hendry, Juan Quintero. “Our team votes on this and homecoming. These are two huge responsibilities,” Dawson said.
“Permanent team captains represent us for the rest of Scrapper history. It’s quite an honor because it’s voted on by their peers,” Dawson said. “It begins as a sophomore as they see how you lead, how you work, how you do things the right way. When you become a senior, you have an idea who the captains will be. These three guys take care of business in the classroom, and they’re leaders. I’m proud of them.”
Dawson also presented the NHS Homecoming court, including Queen Jenna Hendry. “Homecoming queen is a great responsibility. What we’re looking for is someone who identifies who we are. It’s somebody who is high in character, high in morals and will do the right thing. We’re not looking for the favorite or most popular, but someone who represents what a Scrapper is all about,” Dawson said.
Earlier in the evening, Dawson thanked those who helped with the season.
He also mentioned “why Nashville is different. The community and school integrate academics and athletics. We’re teaching and coaching the total kid. Without them, we’d be just like every other athletic program. We’re different because of our teachers. I’ve seen those teachers raise my own children. The teachers’ expectation for them to be as good a person as they can be is critical to our kids.
“It’s not just about football. It’s more than just Friday night. That’s what makes this place special.”
Dawson thanked the Scrappers’ parents “for entrusting us with your children. My expectations are the same as they are for my children about how they act and what they’re doing in class.”
Dawson reflected on days of playing for the Scrappers in 1982, ’83 and ’84. “Back then, the field was between the markers. The people who played still know those plays. We’ve had a 30-year evolution of football. Then, you played football, then basketball, baseball and track. Times have changed. Used to, you had to outwork and outcoach people. Everybody has access to what you have now. Technology has brought them up to speed. Now, it’s all about physical conditioning. It’s 12 months a year for athletics in general.”
Football is “more precise. The mentality of the game has changed. Coaches continually evolve. [Alabama Coach] Nick Saban said he’d take 48 yours to enjoy the national championship, then go back to work. That’s the way it has to be,” Dawson said.
“Our young men are responsible for many things before the play begins. We teach them how to play, not a play,” Dawson said.
Dawson introduced the Scrapper cheerleaders. “People need to know the time, work and how much they do. I’m proud of our cheerleaders and the many things they do behind the scenes.”
Coach Susan Renfrow said the girls “work hard. I’m proud of them.”
Senior cheerleaders presented gifts to Renfrow.
Dawson recognized eighth graders Preston Pope, Tyler Hanson and Garrett Gordon for helping with the team. He also introduced seventh grade ball boy Garrett Lance. “He’s a Scrapper. He loves any sport.”
Dawson introduced Austin Goodson and Evan Sanders, two ninth graders who film for the senior high team.
Luke Dawson, the coach’s son, has a number of responsibilities on Friday nights. He also takes care of the school’s scrappersports.com website and has other duties related to technology.
Sophomores and juniors were introduced, and they received certificates.
Dawson introduced the 23 seniors, saying that they played in 39 games during their high school careers. They advanced to the state quarterfinals all three years.
“They underwent a coaching change and did a great job of buying into something new. I appreciate their attitude and work ethic and wish I had them for another year,” Dawson said.
Five of the seniors will play college football, including Tesean Green, Southern Arkansas University; LaVonte Thomas, Ouachita Baptist University; Jacolby Crow, Donyell King and Jakaree Gaines, Arkansas Tech.
“I’m proud of those five young men,” Dawson said.
Dawson said he asked the seniors for their favorite moment as a Scrapper. “Fourteen said singing the fight song. Their favorite coach, Coach Jerry Baker, is going to lead them in singing it one more time.” Baker and the seniors then sang for the crowd.
Later, Baker thanked Dawson for the invitation to come coach at Nashville. “It’s great to serve in such a special place. I’m humbled and thankful. I appreciate the kids who allowed me to coach them.”
Dawson reviewed the list of Scrappers who received All-Conference honors from District 7-4A.
First team All-Conference selections include Joel Hendry, Tesean Green, LaVonte Thomas, Ja-Karee Gaines, Kyler Lawrence, Jacolby Crow and Donyell King.
Second team All-Conference includes Cameron Alexander, Tyler Parker, Traveon Muldrow, Jalen Whitmore, Nolan Webster, Juan Quintero and Jacolbi Lampkin.
Honorable mentions include Austin Lovelis, Eric Perez, Chas Scott, Colten Whisenhunt, Cayden Conrad and Justin Kennedy.
Crow and Gaines were also All-State selections.
Dawson concluded his portion of the program by telling the team and crowd that “God put our eyes in front to see where we’re going, not where we’ve been. We have a great future in front of us. May be take advantage of every opportunity.”