(Scroll to bottom for photo gallery by Tommy Rouse)
By Kris Freeman for White House Football
Players, coaches, parents and the community celebrated the 2014 football season Sunday for the White House Blue Devils at the annual football banquet.
Held at a local church, awards were presented first with a meal following catered for players and their families.
Awards were voted upon by the players and presented at the annual banquet each year, along with the naming of permanent team captains and an opportunity for seniors to say goodbye and thank you to those who supported them.
The players were also greeted by first-year principal Scott Langford, who served as their freshman head coach three years ago.
“It takes a lot of commitment to be a four-year player in any sport and these young men are to be commended for showing what it means to be a true student athlete at White House High School,” Langford said.
Senior wide receiver and defensive back Josh Mullins was named a permanent team captain and the Most Valuable Player award winner. He caught 15 passes for 534 yards and five touchdowns, including the second-longest reception in school history at 84 yards. As a cornerback, he had 33 tackles and three passes broken up, despite missing the better part of four games to injury.
“The Most Valuable Player award is based upon the one player that would most adversely affect the team if he was not in the game, and that is Josh Mullins,” said White House head coach Jeff Porter. “Before I call Josh Mullins up here, let me tell you a little about him.
“Josh had surgery in week five (after suffering a dislocated elbow in week four). Four hours after the surgery, he was back on the field standing with his teammates. That’s what kind of young man he is.”
Senior center Kyle Cantrell was named the Offensive Line award winner, leading the Blue Devils to 305.2 total yards per game and a near-school record 139.6 yards per game passing. He was also named a permanent team captain.
Senior Chris Baldwin was named the Defensive Back award winner. Baldwin had five interceptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns, including a school-record 100 yard return for a score. He also added a 96-yard kick return and seven pass receptions on offense, and led the team with six passes broken up on defense and three special teams blocks. Baldwin was awarded the third team captain plaque.
“He played a trick on me this year. They told me he was leaving, and I might have cried a little bit,” said Blue Devils defensive coordinator Chad Broadrick. “But I’m glad he moved here from Oklahoma two years ago, and I am glad he decided to stay.”
Junior Blaiz Phillips was the Defensive Line award winner with 65 tackles and a team-high 15 tackles for losses. He was joined by junior award winner Trey Hyde as the Offensive Back winner. Hyde rushed for 923 yards on 161 carries including five straight 100-yard games to close the season, and he also led the team in scoring with 17 touchdowns including a school-record 98-yard kick return.
Junior defensive back Luke Hopkins was given the Sully Award by former principal Jeff Cordell and former University of Tennessee linemen Cody and Cory Sullins. The pair were standouts on the 2004 team with Coach Broadrick as seniors.
Hopkins had 102 tackles, nine tackles for losses, four interceptions, and led the team with 21 receptions for 361 yards. He scored a touchdown rushing. He was awarded for more than just his on-field success, but his intangibles and integrity.
“Before I present this award, let me just clarify one thing,” he said. “Coach Broadrick has been a crybaby for a long time.”
“I’m Coach (Ryan) Hamilton, and I don’t cry,” the offensive coordinator added.
As the crowd erupted in laughter, the banquet continued to highlight the success of outstanding players on the field and off the field.
Senior Ian Willis, who scored his only career touchdown against Cheatham County, was named the Scout Team Award winner and the Academic Award winner. Those two high honors were a highlight for a player who spent much of his career on the sideline but supported his teammates to exemplify the meaning of B.D.P. Willis leads the team with a 3.6 grade-point average. It was the only award given for merit and not by popular vote.
Senior fullback Troy Raymond received the prestigious Gourley Award. Raymond rushed 31 times for 189 yards and a touchdown. Raymond was awarded for his attitude and intangibles, but coaches recalled a career-best 34-yard touchdown at Greenbrier to break an 18-18 tie and provide the game-winner in week four.
“He plays a lot bigger than he is. He only scored one touchdown, but it was a memorable one,” Coach Porter said. “When he broke through that line at Greenbrier with four minutes left, there was nobody on that field that was going to catch him. He looked faster than I had ever seen him before.”
Another prestigious honor went to senior offensive lineman Tyler Gardner, receiving the Eric Blaylock Sportsmanship Award by Coach Mark Lamberth, a former teammate and classmate of Blaylock.
“We look for a player that exemplifies everything he meant to this program,” Lamberth said. “Each year, I take special time to dust of his jersey and his picture because it means so much to me and I am honored to get to present this award.”
Gardner later addressed the audience with his teammates. He was short-spoken, and expressed what everyone was thinking.
“Well, thanks everybody. I’m hungry, and ready to eat, so I’m gonna hang up and get off of here,” he said to a round of laughter and applause.
The freshman football class of 2014 finished 6-0 and was recognized for their achievements with three awards. The Most Valuable Player was Brian McCreery, who also played varsity linebacker for the majority of the season and finished with 36 tackles, four tackles for losses and a fumble caused.
Carter Hunt was the Offensive Player of the Year and Josh Dailey was the Defensive Player of the Year. Awards were presented by volunteer coaches Tim Aric and Johnny Wicker.
Jerry Covington was presented with the George C. Nash Citizen’s Award for his work to improve and maintain the facilities at White House High School, and three scoreboard sponsors were presented with a signed helmet and plaque including Don Bean of Just Be Fit Fitness Center, Misty Hargis of Exit Realty Diversified and Lynne Medley of White House Family Practice. The new scoreboard was installed for 2014.
The banquet ended with the entire team closing with the benediction in the front of the auditorium together.