State champs hand out the hardware
They penned the final chapter of the 2012 Cross Trojans’ Class A Division II football state championship with the handing out of the championship rings during ceremonies at the school last Wednesday night.
“This is a fitting way to close the book on the story of the Cross state championship,” said Coach and Athletic Director Shaun Wright. “We can’t close the door without the rings.”
In an awards banquet at the school, Wright and his coaching staff paid homage to their family, their team, the school, the community and to those who paved the trail before them.
“You may not have won a state championship but you have played a major part in the winning of this one, and we could not have accomplished this without you,” Wright said to longtime Trojans Coach A.E. Ravenell. “I am so thankful you are here to see this.”
Cross won the 2012 Class A Division II State Championship in Columbia by virtue of a 38-26 victory on Nov. 23 over McCormick.
Wright praised his seniors, who were freshmen when he came here from Kingstree four years ago.
“Words won’t fulfill what I feel about you guys,” he said. “You were in ninth grade when I came here and you have been here through the good times, the bad times and my mistakes.
“You walked this fight for me. You carried this team and this community on your backs and I love you all like sons.”
Former Cross Assistant Coach the Rev. William Wrighten delivered the message to the team and guests during dinner, speaking of the significance of being a champion over being part of a championship.
“A championship is one moment in time,” he said. “Being a champion is where you continue to live by what you did to earn that championship. The champion is what’s on the inside.
“Here stands a championship team, better than any other team in the state from the tiny community of Cross, South Carolina. The lessons you learn here will carry you long in life. Enjoy this moment, but live like a champion, not just for a championship moment.”
Some of the awards handed out during the ceremony included an appreciation award to Courtney Johna, the ball girl for Cross for the past eight years.
“One of the first things referees ask me when they come onto the field is, ‘Where is my ball boy?’” Wright said. “I tell them we don’t have a ball boy, we have a ball girl and Courtney was voted the top ball girl in the state, not by the coaches, but by the referees.”
The Trojans placed six players on the Class A All-State Team. Junior running back Devontae Shepherd was named Class A Player of the Year and was joined by Branford Halls, Dionte Evans, Malik Gooding, Olin Pinckney and Diamonte Evans.
“We didn’t have the most talent on the field,” Wright said. “But we had the most heart.”
The 2012 Cross Trojans Class A Division II State Champs are seniors Branford Halls, Olin Pinckney, Alvonta Hall, Malik Gooding, Eric camphor, Da’Quan Chambers, and Kye’Aire Nesbitt; juniors Diamonte Evans, Devontae Shepherd, Xavier Steed, Dionte Evans, Tyler Middleton, Jesse Turner, Tyrin Walker, Deondra Jackson, Justin Margargle, Gregory Jones, Taurus Nelson, James Jackson; sophomores Anthony Myers, Jamarial Pringle, Timmek Wright, Isiah Hampton; and freshmen Little Roger Ravenell, Anthony Wigfall, Jamar Matthews, Colton Fitzpatrick, Christopher Spann, Cornelious Davis, Heyward Williams and Tony Richburg.