A banquet to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2015 Bryant Hornets football team was held on Monday, Jan. 18, at Geyer Springs Baptist Church. Letters and team awards, voted on by the senior players, were presented by Paul Calley, who completed his 13th and final season as head coach of the Hornets and picked up his 100th win of his career along the way. Calley started his new job as head coach at Benton Harmony Grove earlier this month.
Boosters and players presented gifts of appreciation to Calley and longtime defensive coordinator Steve Griffith.
The Hornets finished 9-2 on the season including a narrow defeat to eventual Class 7A State champion Fayetteville in the second round of the State playoffs. The senior class were involved in a school record 26 wins in three seasons.
Junior linebacker Hayden Knowles and senior defensive lineman Peyton Robertson were awarded the Mr. Hustle Award, which goes each year to the “teammate who demonstrates passion, determination, stamina, and good work ethic both on and off the field; and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.”
Senior wide receiver Aaron Orender was chosen for the Teammate of the Year as “the overall most valuable teammate,” and H-back Drew Alpe was voted the Unsung Hero Award as “the teammate who made significant contributions to the success of the team and received the least recognition for it.”
Seniors linebacker Devon Howard and running back Savonte Turner were voted the Most Inspiring Player Award, for the “teammate who positively impacts the whole team by his attitude as well as his performance.”
Permanent team captains for the 2015 season went to seniors, quarterback Gunnar Burks, safety Jaelyn Jones and defensive lineman Cameron Murray.
In addition, senior defensive lineman Walker Brown earned the team’s Brandon Burlsworth Award, given to the player who demonstrates “the drive, diligence to school, and good moral character that the former Arkansas Razorback All-American was known for.”
The seniors voted the Torch Award, presented to the juniors “who they feel are capable of carrying the Team Leadership Torch after they are gone (during the upcoming season). Knowles and running back De’Amonte Terry received the award.
Positional awards were also given out. Junior kicker Hayden Ray, who tied a school record for field goals in a season with 13, was named the Special Teams Player of the Year. Murray, who is set to sign with Oklahoma State on National Signing Day on Feb. 3, was named the Defensive Player of the Year, while Burks was named Offensive Player of the Year. He’s set to sign with the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
The Up-Front Award for outstanding offensive lineman went to Brycen Waddle. For the outstanding defensive line, it was Mario Waits, who will sign with Henderson State.
The Scout Team Offensive and Defensive Players Award, for “consistently challenging the players to perform at optimum level went to Larae Williams and Johnny Wallace.
Sandy Orender was awarded the annual 12th Man Award for her service in support of the team.
Three-year lettermen were recognized including Turner, Jones, Drew Alpe, Demaja Price, Howard, Cole Fritschen, Kameron Guillory, Waits and Murray.
Two-year lettermen were Devon Alpe, Burks, Quinton Royal, Terry, Phillip Isom-Green, Orender, Austin Kelly, Devon Davis, Knowles, Waddle, Marvin Moody and Pierce Finney.
First-year lettermen included Cameron Vail, Jordan Gentry, Michael Jones, Ray, Najee Hunt, Tyler Dedmon, Nick Hardin, Landon Smith, Brooks Ellis, Gregg Williams, Dustin Bishop, Jacob Lowe, Andrew White Jr., Robertson, Dany Murillo, Brown, Brendan Haynes, Cole Chapman, Sedric Sullivan, Zach Knapp, Daniel Coppock, Noah Love, Chace Henson, Dagin Carden, Jaret Jacobs, Chase Fox, Jake Hall, Austin Blacklaw, Madre Dixon, Bryson Langston, Nathan Mayes and Collin Welch.
For fun, the players also voted on a 2015 “Who’s Who”:
Most likely to go pro: Cameron Murray
Who has the best SWAG: Landon Smith
Most likely to get married first: Brycen Waddle
Most likely to become a model: Gunnar Burks and Austin Kelly
Most likely to become a comedian: Demaja Price
Best hair: Jaret Jacobs
Best dressed: Cameron Vail
Demonstrates the best sportsman-like conduct: Cole Chapman
Best dancer: Najee Hunt
Most laidback: Jordan Gentry
Best musician: Cazzie Pringle
Worst smelling locker: Dany Murillo
Best all-around athlete: Quinton Royal
Best singer: Savonte Turner
Most artistic: Nathan Mayes
Most annoying: Tyler Dedmon
Most competitive: Devon Alpe and Peyton Robertson
Biggest flirt: Avery Everett
Biggest party animal: Jake Hall
Biggest ego: Phillip Isom-Green
The Booster Club is planning to host a formal meet-and-greet event with new Hornets’ head coach Buck James in the coming weeks.