Maintaining a high grade-point average and juggling three different sports is not easy. But for First Presbyterian Christian Academy multi-sport athlete Domonique Kirkley, it’s just another active day.
Kirkley on Thursday afternoon was presented the Mike Reed Chevrolet/Coastal Courier Player of the Year Award for his efforts as the Highlanders’ quarterback.
Kirkley said he felt honored to receive the award.
“I’m really surprised,” he said. “I just tried to play hard, and even though we didn’t win a game this year, I just made sure I hustled at every play and tried to win to the best of my ability.”
This was FPCA’s second year of football, with Kirkley a returner from last season. Kirkley played several positions in addition to being the quarterback.
“Domonique is one of the first kids I met when I got here, and he bought into everything we were trying to do immediately and he carried that over to the football field,” first-year FPCA head coach Jamie Sharp said. “He exemplified the leadership we expected from him, and he played both ways with no complaints even battling while hurt. He still gave it 100 percent.”
When the multi-sport phenom isn’t busy making tackles and passing the pigskin, he can be seen running the court and making layups as a guard on the Highlander boys’ basketball team. However, it is soccer he said he loves the most.
“Hands down … I love running,” Kirkley said.
Kirkley said he juggles sports and academics as best as he can with as much rest between as he needs. He added that most of the time he isn’t playing sports; he is home doing homework. That has paid dividends. Kirkley holds a 3.5 GPA and was exempt from most of his finals before Christmas break.
“Domonique is, in my opinion, the most ideal example of a student-athlete,” FPCA Principal and Athletic Director Shannon Hickey said. “He places academics first, but he does hit the court and the fields hard when it is time. But he always remembers that academics come first. He is always in class on time, he never has excuses … it doesn’t matter what time he gets back — his assignments are done, his tests are taken ahead of time and he is just a great role model to those students that are coming up behind him.
“I don’t think people realized that during football season he would take a licking on a Friday night and turn around Saturday and Sunday and play in major soccer tournaments,” Hickey added. “He is full force all the time, and he never quits.”
That work ethic got Kirkley a special surprise Wednesday morning.
“I just got accepted to Point yesterday, and they offered me a soccer scholarship,” Kirkley said, adding he has only been playing for four years. “I am probably going to accept it.”
Kirkley said it was former FPCA basketball coach and youth mentor Ernie Walthour who brought up soccer to him.
“When I got here at FPCA, he thought I should try it,” Kirkley said. “I would thank him for everything he did and let him know I appreciate everything he did for me.’
The Mike Reed Chevrolet/Coastal Courier Player of the Year Awards were awarded to one player from each local high school. During the football season, and after each game, the coaching staff from each school selected the outstanding player from the game and named player of the week. At the end of the football season, the coaching staffs picked their overall player of the year from the weekly honored players.