September 19, 2019

Heard County Hall of Fame inducts 11 new members

Some of the 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees and Representatives at Staples Stadium (L-R): John Arp, Sammy Burden, Terri George (representing John Parramore), Jasmine Cook, Sharolette Rogers, Thomas Watkins and Britt Dodds

(Franklin, GA) — Eleven new members were honored by being officially inducted into the Heard County Athletics Hall of Fame Friday prior to the Braves season opening game versus Lagrange on Friday, August 23.

Friends and family members of each honoree were present as the esteemed members of the third class were officially inducted into the Hall at the HCHS school cafeteria Friday afternoon before being ushered down to Staples Stadium to be introduced to the Brave Nation fans in attendance for the special night.

At the initial ceremony in the cafeteria, those families and friends in attendance were able to hear remarks from one guest of honor for each inductee and in most cases from the inductee themselves.

There were nine former Heard County athletes honored representing several different sports and decades.

John Mark Arp (1990’s Baseball) was an outstanding baseball pitcher for the Braves in the mid 1990’s. Not a hard thrower, he relied on a sinker, curveball, and change-up to get opposing hitters out. Although his team did not boast great success in the win column, Arp managed to post an ERA under 3.00 in all three years from 1995-1997. Perhaps his best performance came versus Greenville during his senior campaign when he threw nine innings and struck out 18 batters but took the loss after allowing only one hit in the game. Arp was introduced by former Brave baseball teammate Casey Smith.

Sammy Burden (1980’s Athlete) was a four sport athlete at Heard County High School in the late 1970’s through early 1980’s. Sammy played football, basketball, baseball, and participated for the track and field team. He was an outstanding asset to each of these teams and was highlighted for his football skills when he was named Class A First Team All-State by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution in 1981 at the linebacker position. He was the first and only Heard County football player in the 1970’s or 1980’s to receive AJC first team all-state honors. Burden was introduced by his sister former Lady Brave basketball player Jennifer Burden.

Orlando Burgos (2010’s – Cross Country/Track) was an elite distance runner for the Heard County Braves from 2009-2013 culminating in his winning the silver medals in both the 1600 Meter and 3200 Meter races at the GHSA Class AA State Track Championships in Jefferson, GA as a senior. Burgos also scored a third place finish in the state at the GHSA Class AA State Cross country Championships in Carrollton in 2012. He was also a Region 5-AA Cross Country Champion and GHSA State Sectional Meet Champion in both the 1600 and 3200 Meter Runs. He was named Male Athlete of the Year and Best all-Around Male. He also received several accolades as a student including the Mathematics Award and the Don Staples Award while serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Warcry school newspaper. Burgos was unable to attend the ceremony due to a prior commitment and will be introduced at next year’s ceremony.

Kadesha Cook receives the Hall of Fame plaque honoring her late mother Helene Cook from Coach Kathy Scott

Helene Cook (1980’s Basketball) was an outstanding athlete from the Class of 1987 that competed in both basketball and softball for the Lady Braves. Known affectionately by her teammates as “Goo-Goo,” Helene was a force on the hardwood and under the basket. She ranks as one of the top basketball players in Heard County High School history with the highlight of leading her team to the Georgia State Championship Semifinals at Georgia Tech during her senior season. She passed away on February 2, 2019. She also had a passion for dancing and music. Cook was represented by her daughter Kadesha Cook and introduced by her Hall of Fame basketball coach Kathy Scott.

Jasmine Cook (2010’s – Athlete) was an outstanding three sport student-athlete that graduated from HCHS in 2013. She was an excellent 4-year varsity basketball player earning multiple all region awards, second team all-state honors as well as helping lead her team to a Region 5-AA Championship as a junior. She finished with over 1000 career points. Jasmine was an outstanding track athlete that won two state medals as a senior including Class AA State Runner-Up in the Shot Put in 2013 and also helped lead the Lady Braves to a Region 5-AA Track Championship. She excelled at softball winning first team all state honors as a senior and second team all-state nods as both a sophomore and a junior. She also won Heard County’s Overall Female Athlete of the Year Award two times and was a volunteer with the Special Olympics program. She was introduced by one of her former coaches Kelly Hadley.

Britt Dodds (2000’s – Football) was an outstanding defensive football player for the Braves in the 2000’s. His 312 career tackles ranks fourth in modern day Brave records and includes 27 tackles for losses, seven fumble recoveries, and seven caused fumbles. He was known throughout the state for his hard hits and was the leader of the Region 5-AA Championship Defense in 2005. He also amassed 752 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns as a part time running back. Dodds was introduced by Braves defensive coordinator D.J. Curbow.

2019 Hall of Fame inductee Darvel Nelson

Darvel Nelson (2000’s — Football) was one of the best offensive lineman in the history of Heard County football with especial,y dominant seasons in both 2006 and 2007. In the 2006 season, Nelson tallied 31 ‘Pancake’ blocks, four ‘Star’ Blocks, and four ‘Star’ Grades (above 70% on his assignments). He followed up with another stellar season in 2007 that saw him score 43 pancakes, 12 Star Blocks, and 5 Star Grades while serving as co-captain of the offensive line. The 6’5″ Nelson went on to play four years for the Albany State University Golden State Rams and earned Player of the Week honors as a senior at the left tackle position. Nelson was introduced by head coach Tim Barron.

Sharolette Rogers (1990’s Basketball) played both varsity basketball and softball for HCHS during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. She played varsity basketball all four years and started for both the basketball and softball teams for three years. She played both point guard and shooting guard, and lead her team in scoring and assists. She was also President of Student Council, President of Art Club, and an Honor Graduate. She remains dedicated to the sport of basketball having coached at the youth and AAU levels for the last 20 years. Rogers was introduced by former teammate Trina Emory Jones.

Thomas Watkins (2000’s Football) was a stellar athlete and defensive leader for the Braves football team in the early 2000’s. He was one of the keys to the turnaround of the program and a dominating run blocker at tight end for the offense. His senior season stats included 58 tackles and two sacks with an astounding 22 tackles for a loss with the majority of the opposing teams trying to run away from his side. Thomas finished his high school career with 273 tackles and 15 sacks. He received a scholarship and played for four years at the University of Georgia Southern. A three sport athlete, he was chosen as MVP of basketball team in 2001-2002 and finished his prep career with over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. He earned track letters and a Region Championship as a Discus Thrower — finishing in 4th place at state. Watkins was introduced by another Brave Hall of Famer Thomas “Red” Keith.

There were two deceased community members inducted in the 2019 Class of the Hall of Fame.

Steve Wilson with his late father and inductee Walter Wilson’s 1945 World Series Ring in front of his HOF plaque

Walter Wood Wilson (community) was an elite professional baseball pitcher that grew up in the Glenn community of Heard County in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Born in 1913 in Glenn, Wilson pitched for several local textile mill teams in the Troup County area before beginning his professional career with the Concord Weavers of the Class D North Carolina State league in 1939. The highlight of his career came in 1945 when he was on the Detroit Tigers roster, the team that went on to become the 1945 World Series  Champions. Wilson died in Bremen, Georgia at age 80, and is now buried in the Glenn Cemetery. Following his baseball career, Mr. Wilson was very active in the Heard County community continuing to farm and serving on numerous civic boards as well as being a deacon at Glenn Baptist Church. WIlson was represented by his son and HCHS graduate Mr. Steve Wilson.

John Parramore (community) began his career at Heard County High School as an assistant football coach and as assistant principal under Mr. Eddie Lovett. Upon the departure of Mr. Lovett, Mr. Parramore was named principal in 1988 and was a major supporter of all Heard County athletic programs. He was killed in an auto accident coming home from a Christmas Basketball Tournament in December of 1990. According to former coworkers, John Parramore was a ‘people person’ and was well-liked by all of the staff and students. Parramore was represented by his wife and former Heard High faculty member Mrs. Terri George.

The Heard County Hall of Fame committee is already accepting nominations for the 2020 Hall of Fame Class. Click here to download a nomination form or email editor@heardcitizen.com with any questions and for more information.

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