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Football players, cheerleaders recognized at Chiefland banquet

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By Sean Arnold

Adam Gore, the head football coach at Chiefland Middle High School, was aware he had a young team this past season.

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But it wasn’t clear just how new it was until, after combing through the roster for first-year lettermen, he realized there wouldn’t be enough C letters on order to be handed out Dec. 15 at the CMHS Football and Cheer Banquet Dec. 15.

“We had about 26 (first-year lettermen),” said Gore, who assured everyone would eventually receive their C’s. “We weren’t ready for that.”

In the end, the cafeteria stage at Chiefland Elementary School was nearly too short to accommodate them as flooded the stage.

The number of superlatives handed out to sophomores bodes well for the program’s future.

At the other end of the spectrum, the banquet saw the recognition of some names that have been foundational to the program in recent years, including four-year lettermen Dalton Tiner, Wyatt Hammond, Brian Norris, Tramaine Brown, B.C. Fehmerling and Lance Horne. Lane Studstill, Nathan Gore and Elijah Smith were recognized as three-year lettermen, while the two-year list included: Layton Lanier; Heath Capps; Trenton Stanford; Brandon Bowers; Deshamar Shepherd; Sedrik Moultrie; Aidan Horne; L.J. Jenkins and Hunter Barrand.

“Tonight’s about student athletes,” Gore said in his introduction. “We just want to make sure we give thanks to them, for their service toward their school, to our community, and the sacrifices they made to be a student athlete in the football program.”

In addition to the letters, the seniors received a surprise parting gift in the form of wooden, box-framed jerseys, assembled by the Quarterback Club, while varsity players also receive sweatshirts.

With an emotional introduction, Gore capped the awards portion by presenting the C. Doyle McCall Award to Tiner.

“Two people that have meant so much to me,” Gore said of McCall and Tiner,” it means a lot to me to be able to give (McCall’s) award out to a young man that means so much to me. The award goes to someone that takes pride in their community, takes pride in their school – someone that is an example that you want your kids to grow up to be like.”

Gore announced a change to the annual Chief Indian Award to the War Indian Award, which was given to senior offensive lineman Lance Horne.

“What that (War Indian) represents is mental toughness, physical toughness, on a whole new level,” the head coach said. “This could have went to a couple different guys. But it kept coming back to this one gentlemen. He’s a man of few words. You will never know if he is hurt – ever.”

Gore issued the Offensive MVP award to sophomore quarterback Ty Corbin, and defensive coordinator Nick Brown announced the Defensive MVP as do-it-all junior Wyatt Hammond.

In nine games, Corbin led the team in yards and scoring, including 481 yards passing, 341 yards rushing and 13 combined touchdowns. He also fought through a shoulder injury.

“The sky’s the limit for him,” Gore said. “I’m extremely proud of how he’s grown throughout the year.”

Of Hammond, Brown said, “he’s one of those guys you can count on to do whatever needs to be done. He played some safety, some linebacker, some defensive end. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.” Hammond finished with 77 tackles, including 14 for a loss.

Defensive coach Brian Gore handed out the Headhunter Award to sophomore linebacker Sedrik Moultrie.

“It’s hard to keep up with him on film,” Gore said. “If you find the ball, he’s there. Not only is he always around the ball, he’s bring bad intentions, which is a good thing.”

The Iron Man Award went to Aidan Horne.

“This young man really didn’t have an injury, it was something he was born with, and fought through it,” Coach Bill Hammond said. “He has to have surgery after the school year to have some pins put in his back.”

Adam Gore also issued Commitment Awards to three players who never missed a workout or practice, voluntary or not, throughout the year. The honorees were Brian Norris, Brandon Bowers and Chad Williams.

“You don’t have to be there over the summer, you come on your own,” he said. “This is saying what we do is bigger than me, and that’s important to me. I’m proud of them.”

The Best Utility Player award went to sophomore Jalen Rutledge. Coach Allen Strickland presented.

“As a coach, you’re always looking for the right fit for players on the field,” Strickland said. “And every now and then you run across a guy that can play everywhere. Throughout the season, he played running back, wide receiver, took some snaps at quarterback, played cornerback, free safety, return kicks and punts – not just because we needed him to play there, but he was good at (all of) it.”

Adam Gore kicked of the position awards by handing out the Special Teams award to placekicker Noah Nguyen

“I told him he missed his opportunity to play football,” Gore recalled. “He wasn’t a bad kid, he just missed the boat. But he still didn’t take no for an answer. I showed up before practice and this guy’s sitting there in the locker room, and he said, ‘Coach, please, give me an opportunity.’ I loved it. I said, you’ve got five days to prove you should be on this football team. I watched him kick about 10 straight 40-year field goals in a row so by day two I said, ‘Okay, you made it.”

Nguyen, who had never played football, missed just one extra point on the season, and was 4 of 5 on field goals.

Norris, who rushed for 779 yards on 119 carries, earned the Running Back of the Year honors.

“A lot of people didn’t know that he dealt with a hamstring injury all year long, so he was limited,” Gore said. “But he still got good carries. Once it got later in the year, he played lights out on the defensive line too so we still limited his carries. And we’re extremely proud he’s going on a little further to play football at the University of South Florida.”
Senior Tramaine Brown was the recipient of the Defensive Back Award, given out by Coach Brown.

“He’s one of the hardest working young men I know,” Brown said of his nephew. “He was one of our leaders out there for us, very vocal, and he backed it up with his play, with how he carried himself on campus.” Brown finished with 10 pass breakups and 46 tackles.

The Best Wide Receiver honors went to first-year player Kirk Williams, a sophomore.

“He has a very high ceiling and I don’t know if he really realizes that,” Coach Allen Strickland said. “We moved him to the slot and he really looked comfortable there. I can’t wait to see what he does next year.”

Lance Horne was selected to receive the Best Offensive Lineman award.

“This could have went to a couple different people,” Gore said. “We struggled with youth and inexperience, and this is where (Horne) really separated himself. We’re extremely proud of how he represented our program. He had 34 roaches (pancake blocks).”

Coach Jim O’Neal presented the Best Defensive Lineman award to sophomore Brandon Bowers, recalling when he first witnessed Bowers punting and covering his own punts as an eighth-grader.

“He could tackle from sideline to sideline – he’s unstoppable when he wants to be,” O’Neal said. “I’ve seen him make tackles 30 yards downfield, and I’ve seen him upfield 20 yards chasing quarterbacks, making sacks.”

Brian Gore handed out the Best Linebacker Award to sophomore Jarrett Jerrels, praising his eagerness to learn on the field. “This kid came to the sidelines after every possession, asking what he needed to do to get better,” Gore said.

First-year varsity football lettermen included: Ty Corbin; Payne Parnell; Kirk Williams; Mason Bledsoe; Jalen Rutledge; Noah Nguyen; Frye Raymer; Chad Williams; Will Sumner; Jason White; Lavell Stalvey; Jarrett Jerrels; Jarrett Feagle; Hector Barajas; Bobby Larkin; Jarron Feagle; Briar Keene; Triston Bailey; Dominic Maynard; Dustin Hockaday; Braden Firestine; Logan Firestine; Jacob Harrington; Avery Gabel; Zach Sheppard; Kolby Schultz; Jared Twombly and Cole Carter.

Adam Gore wrapped up the evening thanking the Quarterback Club for its dedication to the program, the support of the CMHS administration (Principal Dennis Webber, Christie McElroy and Aaron Halderman), team manager D.J. Moore, team sponsors, the chain gang and his wife, Kelly, and two children, Wade and Ella. He also thanked his fellow coaches and the sacrifices their families have made.

Coach Josh Wasson introduced the junior varsity football players. Wasson thanked the assistant coaches, team managers and parents of players.

“We had our season cut short (to three games),” Wasson said. “We did win two of them. (Coach Kyle Parnell and my) focus is to get them ready to play under the lights on Fridays. We had a good group of guys come out this year. We were older up front, and were younger with the skill guys, so Coach Gore’s definitely getting a good group the next couple of years.”

The junior varsity cheerleaders were introduced by JV cheer sponsor Patti Crews, who was in her first year in the role.

“I realized we only had four returners, so we were all kind of new to this,” Crews said. “So I want to give a big shout out to (returnees) Ansleigh (Webber), Katee (Crews), Mollee (Beauchamp) and Hailey (McCain). They kept me in check, because there are a lot of things that I did not realize that went into cheerleading.”

Amy Webber announced her varsity cheer squad. It was also Webber’s first year as sponsor.

“When (Principal) Webber called and asked me to take over the varsity cheerleaders as their sponsor, I told him I’d have to call him back,” Webber said, “because I really prefer to work with young people. I always said when i taught I’d never go above fifth grade.

“So it has been very interesting, it has been so awesome to be a part of their team. These girls are such hard workers, and I have enjoyed getting to know the personalities of each and every one of them.”

Webber introduced her seniors first: Chelsea Parker, C.J. Gilbert, Heavyn Nash, Alexis Seyez and Cheyanne Walker. The remainder of varsity cheerleaders introduced were: Destiny Bennett; Briana Frost; Caylea Gore, Julianna Justice; Raven Shepherd; Breanna Stalvey; Andrea Watkins and Jessika Weekley.

Video shown at banquet, with edits:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/izh50movogiu1ni/AADHY6GJAmbuv8w1tLRU199Qa?dl=0

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QdhkGiLadqGvCErPumfnd3a2_SMeTLem