(Franklin) – A large crowd packed into the Heard County Middle School gymnasium Wednesday night for the 2014 Bravy Awards Show sponsored by Heard County Middle School Athletics in conjunction with HeardCitizen.com.
The third annual version of the unique award show featured nominees from sports throughout the county including the recreation department, the middle school, and the high school. Athletes, coaches, and even managers of every sport in Heard County from flag football to track and field had the opportunity to win a coveted Bravy award.
Entertainment for the event, based loosely on the ESPY Awards, was once again provided by the HCMS Show Choir directed by Mrs. Jaime Barnard.
After Braves team chaplain Pastor Neil Awbrey opened the ceremony with the invocation eighth grader Caylee Meacham kicked off the show singing the National Anthem.
The Bravy Award selection committee once again faced difficult challenges during the selection of the 35 Bravy Award winners. Roughly six to seven athletes or teams were nominated for each of the Bravy trophies.
Junior Lady Brave softball phenom Jordan Watson took home the top honor for the ladies winning the Female Athlete of the Year Award for 2013-2014. Watson also brought home the Bravy trophy for softball player of the year based on her incredible numbers this season in leading her team to a second consecutive third place finish at state.
Watson led the Lady Braves offensively with a .571 batting average,eight homers, 47 RBI’s, and 17 doubles while striking out only five times in 105 at at bats. On the mound she struck out an amazing 206 batters in 187 innings pitched with an astounding ERA of just 1.20 while being selected first team all state.
The other big individual award for Male Athlete of the Year was more difficult to select as Jonathon Hunt and Emory Jones shared the award as co-winners. Hunt, a senior, rounded out an outstanding four years as a varsity Brave by once again leading the Braves to a Region 5-AA Championship in football and placing at state individually in both weightlifting and track and field.
Running neck and neck with Hunt was the eighth grader Jones who burst onto the Braves scene this season winning four gold medals at the middle school track and field finals a few weeks ago after having already led the middle school football team to a conference championship in the fall. Jones also scored high marks on the basketball team leading the team in points during several games. Jones will be vying for the starting quarterback spot on Coach Barron’s varsity team left vacant by Hunt next season.
The coveted Most Valuable Player Bravy was awarded to another eighth grade football sensation Carlton White. White once again had a blockbuster season including a record breaking performance against Bowdon where he scored an astounding five touchdowns and amassed 350 all-purpose yards after only touching the football five times during just the first half of a 49-28 rout of the Red Devils.
The success of both Jones and White helped propel the HCMS Football Team to the Team of the Year Bravy Award for 2014. The squad coached by Allen Sikes went undefeated in route to a middle school championship including the first middle school win over Callaway in almost a decade.
Sikes, who also coached the middle school track team to a championship shared Coach of the Year honors with uber popular Braves Coach Rich Fendley who leads the high school athletes in weightlifting, football, and tennis.
The Heard County Recreation Department also produced a couple of big winners on Bravy night including Ayden Cannon who received the Male Scholar Athlete Award. Cannon’s combined efforts in both the classroom and several sports earned him the big honor.
The Female Scholar Athlete was also awarded to a recreation athlete, Cory Huddleston who received high marks academically as well as on the softball field where she was also nominated for another Bravy. Huddleston also celebrated her birthday on Bravy night.
The Heart of the Braves Award went to senior football and baseball player Spencer Hannah. Hannah epitomized the Braves spirit as he battled tremendous odds throughout the sports season fighting through several serious injuries. Hannah overcame a burn accident to play in the Region 5-AA championship football game just a few weeks after doctors told him he would never play any sports again.
The Play of the Year Award went to young Armari Emory for his long game-winning touchdown during this year’s Flag Bowl at Staples Stadium.
Perhaps Heard County’s most popular athlete of all time, Special Olympian Buck Dunson, received the biggest pop of the night at the Bravy’s as he won the award for Best Moment of the Year. Buck “blew the roof off” of the HHS gym doing a power clean for the Fox-5 cameras during the High-5 Sports Caravan visit last fall. It was said by most in attendance that day to be the loudest moment in Heard High School his
The Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Award went to Braves varsity tennis player Camara Shaheed who worked tremendously hard in the off season to progressed from being a non-factor to leading the girls team in wins along with Jordan Callahan.
The rookie of the year award went to freshman Lee Kay who was also recently named to the first team all-region baseball team based on his great performance all year both at the plate and on the mound.
Eighth grader Gage Cannon capitalized on a 25-0 undefeated wrestling season to win Wrestler of the Year.
The other major sports awards handed out included Offensive Football Player of the Year, Tae Gray, Defensive Football Player of the Year, Elijah Toney, Lineman of the Year, Jake Edwards, Basketball Players of the Year, Deron Swint and Hermonie Garza, Baseball Player of the Year, Taylor Smith, Special Olympics Athletes of the Year Anthony Brand and Madison Mathias, and Tennis Player of the Year, Jordan Callahan.
The Track and Field Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards went to three stand-out middle schoolers from the championship team, Matthew Nilsen, Maliyah Dunson, and Amiah Person. Soccer Player of the Year went to Melissa Collins.
Senior Tori Rogers and Katelyn Hull became the first ever three time winners of the same Bravy Award as the three time state champion Rogers was once again unanimously named Weightlifter of the Year while Hull took home Best Golfer accolades.
Some recreation department only awards went to Annley Cook for Best T-Ball Player, Cason Holtzclaw, Best Coach Pitch Player, and Shaun Lacey, Best Flag Football Player.
The non-traditional sports awards included Alexus Higgins and Courtney Barron, the 2013-2014 Co-Managers of the Year, Best Marching Brave, Lilly Scott, and Best Cheerleader Alexis Emory.
Not surprisingly the Best Performance of the Year went to Duranta Dunson for his state playoff record rushing performance versus Jefferson.
HCMS and HeardCitizen.com would to extend a special thanks to the Bravy Sponsors this year: Servpro, Nancy’s Flower Shop, Family Petcare, The Times~Journal, Kemp’s Carpets of Lagrange, and Budget Paint and Body Shop.
Special thanks also goes out to photographer Rodney East, Pastor Neil Awbrey, and Mrs. Jaime Barnard as well as all others who contributed in any way. To see more Bravy Awards photos courtesy of Rodney East click here.