Liberty County High School hosted a banquet Thursday night to honor the football team’s second successful season in a row and hand out player awards.
Quarterback Jordan Waters received the award for offensive most valuable player and the academic award for holding a 3.292 grade-point average. Senior linebacker Raekwon McMillan took home the defensive MVP, the linebacker award, tied with Waters for the senior academic award and received the Mike Reed Chevrolet/Coastal Courier player of the year award.
Head coach Kirk Warner acknowledged that McMillan, one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits, has received a lot of attention this season through various media outlets, awards and recognition ceremonies, but added, “Raekwon deserved everything he got.”
“He worked hard for all of it. He worked his tail off in that weight room, he listened to his coaches and he did everything that he had to do to get to the point where he is now,” Warner said. “He won the Butkus Award Tuesday, which is the highest possible honor a high-school player could achieve, and even he would be the first to tell you that it was a total community effort, from his teammates to his coaches, to his parents and the local community. He worked for it, nothing was just given to him and I am proud of everything he has done and I am looking forward to all the great things he is going to do.”
He told the audience to support McMillan on Monday at the school, where he will announce what college the top recruit will attend. His announcement will be broadcast live during “Sports Dash” from noon-1 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network, as well as on Yahoo Sports and Rivals.com.
“Right now, more than ever we need to rally around him as a community … I know firsthand that when he goes off to college it is going to be a different scenario … and he is going to need as much support as we can send him,” Warner said. For the season, the offense had 4,905 all-purpose yards, made 28 rushing touchdowns and 10 passing touchdowns. The defense had 851 tackles 35.5 sacks, had 14 interceptions and recovered 17 fumbles.
Warner said many of the program’s volunteers and boosters devoted countless hours this season. He said without the support of the volunteer medical and coaching staff and the hard work of the Booster Club personnel, the season would have been difficult to manage. He was thankful for all the help and extended a special thanks to his wife, Kimberly, for managing the group texts, emails, team alerts and the football team’s managing staff.
Warner said LCHS has the student-athletes capable of creating a perennial powerhouse and encouraged the parents of returning players to have their children enroll in school weight-training.
“If we ever want to get to where we need to be — a perennial state power — we need to have our players in weight training … Wayne County, for example, they went to the semifinals, and they have 95 percent of their players in in-school training,” he said. “As a parent you should be concerned about your child’s safety. I have a child playing football right now, and if he is 5-foot-3 and 135 pounds and they have him lining up against someone who is 6-foot 2 and 235 … he needs to be strong and ready. It is a concern for his safety.”
Warner said the coaching staff would like to send the entire football team to camp next summer. The staff and Booster club will start preparing for a Boston Butt and smoked-turkey fundraiser to make the trip possible.
MVP: Jordan Waters
RB: Trentice Williams
WR: Jacquez Williams
OL: Kharn Collier-Elison
MVP: Raekwon McMillan
DB: Richard LeCounte
LB: Raekwon McMillan
DL: Jonathan Britton
Iron Panther Awards: Jeremy Caldwell Fabregas and Jacari Roberts
Special Teams: Anthony Stewart and Gyri Durant
Golden Panther (Coaches Award): Jordan Moody and Xavier Tunstall
Future Panther (junior varsity):
Offense: Mike Williams
Defense: Jeremiah Gilbert
Hustle Award: Tim Dobson
Most Improved: Daylan Bryant
Freshman: William White
Sophomore: Tommie Wynn
Junior: Kevin Burgess
Seniors (tied): Raekwon McMillan and Jordan Waters