September 16, 2021

First Annual Brave Nation Awards night raises near $5,000 for HCMS Athletics

The Lady Braves varsity basketball team was presented the Bravy trophy by Sheriff Ross Henry as Heard County’s Team of the Year Friday night at the Heard County Middle School Gym during the first annual fundraiser known as The Heard County Brave Nation Awards night.

It would have been futile for anyone to protest to the award considering the Lady Braves magical run in the State Playoffs this year which landed them a state quarterfinal appearance for the first time in the last 25 years. The Lady Braves also racked up in other Bravy categories as well including the “Most Memorable Moment” for the big home overtime upset over Calhoun in the Sweet 16.

In the most coveted female award of the night junior Jasmine Cook was presented the Bravy as Heard County’s first ever county-wide Female Athlete of the Year by Heard Athletic Director Tim Barron. This was the first time in history that athletes from all levels were considered for the same awards with a judging criteria placing heavy emphasis on the athletes off the court.

The selection committee was presented with quote after quote from various Heard coaches, fans, and faculty members who to the number all raved about Jasmine’s work ethic, academic performance, and good character in all walks of life.

Jasmine competed in three different sports this year excelling in each including region titles in both basketball and softball as well as an awesome third place finish in the shot put at the State Track Meet in Albany two weeks ago.

The other girls who were nominated in the category and should also be extremely proud included Haley Bennett and Jade Sanchez from the Heard County Recreation Department, Jordan Watson from Heard County Middle School, and sophomore Shemeka Parks also from Heard High School.

The Male Athlete of the Year Bravy Award was a very difficult decision but in the end Pastor Neil Awbrey handed middle school athlete Austin Barron the Bravy trophy thanks to his football dominance last year and also the fact that he competed in all four of his school’s sports including football, basketball, baseball, and track.

[gpslideshow]Photos Courtesy of Rodney East

Austin’s marks were also very high from faculty, staff, and teammates. The other nominees in the highly contested category were Tray Owens and Austin Quillen from HCPR as well as Bill Singleton, Duranta Dunson, and Jonathon Hunt from the high school.

In the Most Valuable Player category, tiny Tae Gray from the recreation department took home the honors based on his complete dominance during football season last year where he carried his team all the way to the A-Bracket Kiwanis Bowl Championship game.

Another category that was really close to call was the Coach of then Year category where all three nominees had outstanding seasons. Sammy Marsh at HCPR had coached very successful teams in three sports while Kathy Scott brought home middle school championships in both basketball and football.

The third nominee Valeree Williams was of course the coach of the Elite-8 Lady Braves basketball team.In the end Benjie Hyatt named Kathy Scott as the 2012 Bravy Award winning coach of the Year.

Kathy Scott was also presented with a lifetime achievement award by her fellow coach Allen Sikes to honor her retirement this year after many years of teaching, coaching, and mentoring students and athletes in Heard County.

The presentation was a huge surprise to Kathy at the time. Another special moment of the evening came prior to the Weightlifter of the Year Award announcement when Coaches Tim Barron and Rich Fendley presented  State Championship rings to the four state champion weightlifters who were also the nominees for the Weightlifting Bravy. David Robbins, Taron Person, Tyler Wynn, and Tori Rogers were all presented rings and Rogers was named as the Weightlifter of the Year Bravy.

The night was full of surprises including Alicia Carroll’s announcement that she has signed a softball  scholarship offer with Andrew College. Alicia won the Bravy as the best softball pitcher of the year.

Other inaugural Bravy winners included Duranta Dunson (Football Player of the Year), Jonathon Hunt (Basketball Player of the Year), Dalton Reed (Baseball Player of the Year), and Cali Harrod (Softball Player of the Year). Tyesha Wright was named as Cheerleader of the Year Bravy winner.

In the non athletic categories, Katie Minix was presented the Manager of the Year, Shuntavius Swindle was named scorekeeper of the year and Michael Huddleston was honored as the Marching Brave of the Year.

Overall the event as a fundraiser went very well as just short of $5,000.00 was raised to benefit the Heard County Middle School Athletic programs. However from the audience perspective, the show was met with mixed reviews as many felt it was too long and others did not like that the recreation athletes were included in the running for the biggest Bravy awards.

Prior to the Bravy’s over 100 awards were presented to various athletes county-wide in several categories.

“I would like to thank all the people of Heard County who attended this first annual event and made it a success. I would also like to thank all of our sponsors, who made this event possible. Without their help, this event would have not been able to take place. Another big thank you goes out to our guest presenters who took time out of their schedule to attend and present awards. I know with this being a first time event and with it turning out to be bigger than originally planned, things did not go quite as well as we would have liked. But overall, it was a huge success.”~ HCMS Athletic Director Allen Sikes.

Providing entertainment for the evening were high school singers Gracie Rowe, Jessica McQuain, And Kiara Robinson as well as the Princess Pointe dancers. An award was given to little Ms. Caroline Phillips as Dancer of the Year by Whitney Cothran. After her very energetic crowd pleasing performance it was easy to see why she was named the winner which was based on dance scores from this year.

The Brave Nation would like to thank the following sponsors for making the awards night possible and helping Heard County Middle School to raise funds for its athletic department: Reeves Supply Co., Nutt Roofing and Siding, Guy Spradlin for Sheriff, Cannon Heating and Air, Budget Paint and Body, Stateline Automotive, Sheriff Ross Henry, Family Pet Care, The Times~Journal, Heard County Memorial Gardens, Inc., City of Franklin Housing Authority, Stutts Funeral Home, The Franklin Police Department, Piggly Wiggly, Hayes Computer, Westside Tire and Automotive, Head to Toe Salon, Harper Insurance, Bowdon Tax Service, and Wanda Rich.

Thank you also to The Franklin Pharmacy, Burrito Express, Hardee’s, Piggly Wiggly, and the Cuttin Crew for furnishing door prizes and a special thanks to Mr. Rodney East for volunteering his time as photographer.

Special thanks also goes out to the Bravy Award presenters who donated their time to help make the night even more special including: Grady Woodruff, Ross Henry, Neil Awbrey, Jerry Prince, Kathy Knowles, Denny Rogers, Jacob Cammon, Benjie Hyatt, Julie Pope, and Shane Manders.

The Voice of the Braves Don  Heard and DJ Greg Holcomb did a great job of keeping the show moving along. To see more photos by Rodney East click here.


2012 Bravy Award Winners

  1. Team of the Year — Heard High Girls Basketball
  2. Female Athlete of the Year — Jasmine Cook
  3. Male Athlete of the Year — Austin Barron
  4. Most Valuable Player — Tae Gray
  5. Weightlifter of the Year  Tori Rogers
  6. Heart of the Braves — Joseph Sanchez
  7. Coach of the Year — Kathy Scott
  8. Play of the Year — Hannah Sanders to Alyssa Cosper in HCMS Girl’s Championship basketball game
  9. Football Player of the Year — Duranta Dunson
  10. Football Lineman of the Year — Corey Freeman
  11. Female Scholar Athlete — Shemeka Parks
  12. Male Scholar Athlete — Trey Alford
  13. Cheerleader of the Year — Tyesha Wright
  14. Manager of the Year — Katie Minix
  15. Girl’s Basketball Player of the Year — Aaliyah Rutledge
  16. Boy’s Basketball Player of the Year — Jonathon Hunt
  17. Most Memorable Moment — Lady Braves Overtime Win Over Calhoun to Advance to Elite-8
  18. Baseball Player of the Year — Dalton Reed
  19. Baseball Pitcher of the Year — Drew Blair
  20. Wrestler of the Year — Andrew Cannon
  21. Female Tennis Player of the Year Rebecca Heard
  22. Male Tennis Player of the Year — Brett Smith
  23. Scorekeeper of the Year — Shuntavius Swindle
  24. Marching Brave of the Year — Michael Huddleston
  25. Biggest Upset — Sammy Marsh 7-8 basketball team wins West Georgia Invitational
  26. Special Olympics Athlete of the Year  Anthony Brand
  27. Softball Player of the Year — Cali Harrod
  28. Softball Pitcher of the Year — Alicia Carroll
  29. Golfer of the Year — Jarred Watson
  30. Cross Country Athlete of the Year — Orlando Burgos
  31. Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year — Bill Singleton
  32. Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year — Jasmine Cook


  1. First of all this event was for a good cause and everyone should understand it was not about who got what or what group should not have been part of it. This was about the kids of Heard County that have worked just as hard as the next child regardless of their sport level. The kids from the recreation department deserve this kind of award just as the high school kids deserve it, remember most if not all of the high school kids started at the recreation level. I have seen the recreation sports to be as big and better than some of the high school sports over the years and sometime more excited. So just think about the kids as a whole and not separate when it comes to something such as a fundraiser and recognition such as this.

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