By Isaiah Garrett, TeamFYNSports Reporter
On Tuesday, Dec 5, the Union County Panthers held their annual banquet and award ceremony. This event was hosted at Antioch Baptist Church in Blairsville, and it was the first time Antioch had ever hosted the banquet. Organized by the Union County Quarterback Club, the event proved to be another success thanks to the hard work and participation by everyone involved.
The night got kicked off as players and families were fed steak and spaghetti dinners.
Head coach Brian Allison followed up the meal by starting the awards ceremony and introducing all of the coaches on his staff. The awards, which are selected by the coaches, are each given to the hardest working player at that position (and to whom contributed the most on and off the field to the team). The receivers “caught” their awards first – no pun intended.
Outside receiver coach Paul McBride presented his award to Sawyer Drake. Drake had 38 receptions for a team-high 63 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Inside receiver coach James Avery selected senior Austin Pattee for his reward. Pattee led the team with 43 catches.
Quarterbacks and running backs coach (and offensive coordinator) Howard Mccombs was the next to present his award, and everyone in the room knew exactly where it was going. Senior quarterback Cole Wright had an outstanding season. Wright will continue his playing career at the United States Military Academy, also known as Army or West Point, where he plans to enroll next fall. Wright finished the year with 3,081 total yards of offensive and a combined 36 touchdowns.
To close the Offensive awards out, junior lineman Coleson Daniel was presented with the Offensive Line award, presented by coach Neil Setzer and Parker Daniel. Without the effort and consistent blocking up front, the offense would not have performed as well as it did this year. Coleson Daniel was a huge part of that effort.
Defensive Coordinator and defensive backs coach Robby Roxbury was first to kick off the defensive awards, and senior cornerback Sean Dobbins was presented with the defensive backs award. Dobbins finished the season with 50 total tackles.
Senior lineman Matthew Beise was awarded the defensive line award by coach Gabe Miller. Beise finished the season with 48 total tackles.
Inside linebackers coach Greg Chambers awarded senior RJ Banton, who led the team in total tackles with 108 tackles.
Outside Linebackers coach Wade Hodges awarded senior and 3-year varsity starter Cole Dockrey with the Iron Panther award. This award is given to the player who contributes on both sides of the ball, displays the highest work ethic on and off the field, and is a leader in more ways than one. Dockery finished the season with 50 total tackles, 372 yards of offense, and a touchdown.
It was a night of celebration as players, coaches and family members gathered to reflect on the performance by the Union County Panthers varsity football team one last time this year.