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Pirates celebrate best season ever

“It was an unbelievable year in football. It was an unbelievable year to be a Pirate,” said Touchdown Club president Tony Wilson as he welcomed football players, their families and community supporters to the 2008 football banquet last month. The Pirates came together to celebrate their 9-2 season and the accomplishments of each team member. Coaches repeatedly said the success of this season was due to hard work and having fun. The 9-1 regular season was the best in high school history. Head coach John McMillan recounted events that led to what he called an awesome year. It started with the winning scrimmage with Eagles Landing. ”We didn’t know about Pacelli but we went in and took care of business,” he said. “When we beat Crawford County, that’s when I began to feel it,” he said. Community support and fan participation has been an important part of the Pirates’ success. For several years the Lion’s Club has put together football programs and sold them at each game. Fletcher Dunn represented the Lion’s Club at the banquet, presenting the Touchdown Club with a check for $5,200 to help launch the 2009 season. ”Congratulations, team, for a successful season,” he said. The highlight of the evening was recognition of 19 seniors, 17 juniors, 23 sophomores and 19 freshmen who made up the 2008 Pirates. Eighteen players received the Scholar Athlete Award. They all maintained a 3.0 average or better. The highest GPA Award went to senior Zack Westerfield with a 4.11 GPA. The Offensive MVP Award went to sophomore Kody Adams for his leadership and hard work ethic on and off the field. The Defensive MVP Award went to senior Jared Guy, who played offense and defense. He also was a Iron Man athlete. The Special Teams Award was presented to kicker and punter Dan Andersen. He hit the end zone on kickoff about 90% of the time and is being pursued by several college teams. The Most Improved Player Award went to senior Justin Brown. who “got better throughout the season” and played several positions, said coach Nate Sikes. The Coaches Award was presented to senior James Milton, who played on the scout team for the Pirates to prepare them for their next opponent. He took many hard licks during practices but never complained and did what was best for the team, said presenter and coach Brad Webber. Manager Awards went to Zac Wilson, Michael Fennell, Ethan Little and Thomas Callaway. ”These four young men worked hard all year long behind the scenes,” said coach Brandon Brown. The Six Year Award went to Zack Westerfield, Dan Anderson, Justin Brown, Jared Guy, Landon Kompelien, Colby Ralston, Rodney Story and Jaron Towery. They each played six consecutive years starting in middle school. Eight players were selected to the First All-Region Team. Richie Norwood, Nathan Wilson, Jessie Briscoe, Dan Anderson, Daniel Walker, Marcus Wilkens, Zack Westerfield and Brent Carter were chosen by vote of the coaches of Region 5AA. Second team All-Region honors went to Jared Guy, Jaz Wilson, Tim Fenner, Justin Brown, Kody Adams, Clint Moser, Rodney Story and Andrekus Rogers. Senior awards were presented to 19 seniors who played and senior Ethan Little, a team manager. Little was presented a letter jacket. The other seniors received certificates and their team jersey. ”You were part of 0-10 and now you’re going out on top,” McMillan told the seniors. McMillan recalled the uphill climb for the team to come so far. In 2006, his first year as head coach, the Pirates went out with an 0-10 season. In 2007 things were picking up. The Pirates ended 3-7. In this, his winningest season, McMillian received the Coach of the Year Award from is peers in Region 5-AA. ”It was an emotional year. I can’t ask for a better situation. I’m excited I was part of it,” McMillan said.

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