Beaufort High School Eagles Celebrate the 2010 Season

Seniors give Juniors leadership responsibility in a commemorative rite of passage

By Wendy Pollitzer

Featured in The Island News

February 24, 2011

Beaufort High School Varsity Eagles Class of 2011 and Coach Mark Clifford. Photo by Carolina Sports.

On Thursday, February 10th, I had the pleasure of attending one of the most memorable events in town, the Beaufort High School Football Banquet, honoring the Region VIII AAAA Champions, the BHS Eagles at the Dataw Island Clubhouse.Coach Mark Cliffordinvited me to sit at the head table. Honored to represent The Island News as Beaufort’s spirited cheerleader in print, I watched players, parents and coaches cheer for each other, thank each other and shed tears in memory of an awesome season. I also witnessed a humbling rite of passage, as the seniors charged the juniors with the responsibility of the 2011 team.

What a community event!  Gentlemen from the Dataw Island Men’s Club organized this tribute.  Jonathon Peck, in particular, a passionate Eagle Football fan, arranged the evening. He and fellow members asked Dataw Island residents to sponsor a player to attend this very special affair.  They enthusiastically participated, and both the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams and their families were able to attend.  Dave Britton, a member at Dataw, explained, “We were able to raise more than last year, and this enables the Booster Club to keep their funds at Beaufort High.”

Mr. Peck was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony due to the death of his daughter. All of the players passed a giant card around to sign and thank Mr. Peck for his generosity and offer their condolences for the loss of his loved one.   Mr. Peck,your family is in the prayers of all those who attended that evening in addition to the entire Beaufort High School family.

Codrian Smalls and Shunequa Smalls

The card read, “One Team, One Family,” which has been the motto of the Beaufort High School Eagles since Coach Cliffordcame on board as Head Coach. And this motto fits no better team than the 2010 Eagles. To give you an idea of the character of the Varsity team, Coach Cliffordreminded the packed clubhouse that not a single player rushed for more than 1000 yds.  Talk about a team effort! Everyone pitched in to make this years’ Eagles Region VIII AAAA Champions.

Coach Clifford giving Opening Remarks at Dataw Island

Coach Clifford gave opening remarks and addressed the crowd enthusiastically about all the people who helped make this team so great. He thanked the Cheerleaders, Josh Ferguson with Carolina Sportscare, the BHS Film Crew and the eager, young ball boys. He also gave special recognition to Chris Wegmann, “The Voice of Eagles” and Ray Lentz, the clock operator; Mike Eggers, owner of McDonalds who supported and fed the team; The Chain Crew-Jack Cunningham, Jack Little, Frank Plair and Mike SewellEric Lowman from BB&T who sponsored the Player of the Week Awards and Dr. Dan Durbin and the BHS faculty and staff for their support.

Dymonte Gwathney

Appreciation was also given to Chief Bruce Kline, Will Vaigneur and Danny Williams and the Lady’s Island Fire Department for delivering a character-building program before each game. And the seniors on this years’ team, especially, had uncompromising character and a strong will to win. A special thanks was given toChief Kline, Vaigneur and Williams for their support of the Beaufort High School Eagles.

Coach Clifford’s altruistic love for football and coaching could not go unnoticed. He exclaimed time and again how extraordinary a group this team was. “Something special happens on a Friday night. There is a great atmosphere at Beaufort High School, and this group does a tremendous job, on and off the field.”

Bill Evans, District Seven’s Representative on Beaufort County School Board spoke and thanked all the moms and dads in the audience. He said, “Parents, you’ve given us a great group of young men.”

Kevin Gess

Leticia Washington, DVonta Cohen and Jason Washington

Invocation by Senior Kevin Gess and dinner followed. Then the Cheerleaders and the Sports Medicine Staff were recognized.  The main attraction of the evening was the presentation of awards. Strength Training, Defensive, Offensive and Special Team coaches gave awards out to deserving players as well as first, second, third and fourth year letters. Josh McPherson received the team’s only fourth year letter, while Dalvin Broussard, Beau Brown, Detrell Gantt, Dymonte’ Gwathney, Demeo Holmes and Alex Simmons received third year letters.

Thyrik Legree, Ms. Kirkland and Calvin Atkins

Agustin Martinez is the Inspirational speaker who eloquently delivers encouraging words to the team after each Thursday night meal, a tradition before all Friday games.  He begins, “The war begins tomorrow night Eagles. Are you ready to hit?” A boisterous team yells back, “Yes Sir!” Martinez gave the Dawson Chestnut Award, which recognizes a selfless player who consistently puts team first, self second. Dawson Chestnut was a 2004 Beaufort High Football player, who, for religious purposes, could not play Friday night games. But, he practiced every day for the betterment of the team. This year, SeniorKevin Gess received the award.

Dr. Dan Durbindelivered the Academic Leadership Award, and couldn’t stress enough how incredibly close this was. There were several players with GPA’s neck and neck. “Our athletes are excelling in the classroom like never before. I think what’s happening in the classroom is a direct correlation as to what’s happening on the football field,” explained Durbin. This years’ award went to Kevin Gess as well. Gess, also this year’s Homecoming King, will be attending The Citadel in the Fall.

Photo by Carolina Sports

After the four Team Captains, Kevin Gess, Jalin Mack, Beau Brown and Alex Simmons were acknowledged, the 2010 Beaufort High School Varsity Football Seniors participated in their final act as teammates. They lined up by number, retired their jerseys to the table and signed a banner representing each Senior Class from years’ prior. Beau Brown gave a tearful and memorable charge to the Juniors, explaining how it is now their duty to lead the Eagles, with character, pride and sportsmanship. Maliek Maldonado accepted this charge for the Juniors and promised respectful delivery of leadership for the 2011 season. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Now, it is our turn Beaufort… to offer enthusiasm for our beloved Eagles on par with this team, the coaching staff, the hardworking Booster Club and the spirited student body. We need to do our part to congratulate such an accomplished group and root for their weekly performances, on and off the field.  It’s not too soon to start thinking about football again. Let’s come up with some creative ways to show the 2011 Beaufort High School Eagles that we love them, appreciate their dedication and admire their unwavering respect for the coaching staff who encourage them every day, for they are the true heroes of the team. Thank you for a great season.

Photo by Carolina Sports

Thank you to the following Coaching Staff:

Coach Ray Jones

Strength Coach; “Voice of the Eagles”

Coach Rast

Junior Varsity Head Coach, Defensive Backs, Varsity

Coach Vaigneur

Junior Varsity

Coach Thomas

Junior Varsity

Coach Mahoney

Defensive Line, Varsity

Coach Hatcher

Linebackers, Varsity

Coach White

Defensive Backs, Varsity

Coach Walker

Special Teams, Punters/Kickers, Varsity

Coach Sterling

Linebackers and Discipline, Varsity

Coach Fess

Offensive Line, Varsity

Coach Merrick

Receivers, Varsity

Coach Mark Clifford

Head Coach, Varsity

Awards given at the 2010 BHS Football Banquet:

#4  Jalin Mack, Sr.-MVP-Defensive Back; Captain

#9  Beau Brown, Sr.-MVP-Offense; All Region Team; Iron Eagle Award for Weightlifting-Offense; Captain

#11 Dymonte’ Gwathney, Sr.-MVP-Receivers; All Region Team; BB&T Player of the Week-Offense (Easley)

#20 Alex Simmons, Sr.-MVP-Running Back; Captain

#22 Josh McPherson, Sr.-MVP-Running Back

#23-Jaclay Mixon, So.-MVP-Linebacker

#25 Calvin Atkins, Sr.-McDonalds Hit of the Year

#41 Kevin Gess, Sr.-Dawson Chestnut Award; Academic Leadership Award; Captain

#45 Dalvin Broussard, Sr.-BB&T Player of the Week-Defense (Easley)

#51 Maliek Maldonado, Jr.-MVP-Defense; All Region Team; BB&T Hit of the Week (Easley)

#56 Michael Bedwell, Jr.-Iron Eagle Award for Weightlifting-Defense

#62 Derrick Washington, Sr.-Eagle Pride Award for Defense

#66 DeEndre Jefferson-Fields, Jr.-MVP-Defensive Line; All Region Team

#74 Cody Beals, Sr.-MVP-Offensive Line; All Region Team

#78 Detrell Gantt, Sr.-All Region Team

#82 Tyler Cieplowski, Sr.-Eagle Pride Award for Offense

#87 Kyle Clark, Jr.-Special Teams Award; All Region Team; BB&T Player of the Week-Special Teams (Easley)

Junior Varsity Awards:

Caleb Gee-Eagle Pride  Award for Offense

Tanner Powell-MVP-Offense

Mitchell Stewart-Special Teams Award

David Tilton-MVP-Defense

Clint Wright-Eagle Pride Award for Defense

High School Sports Report Names Top Prospects

On Monday, February 21st, seven Beaufort High School Varsity football players received awards from the High School Sports Report. Alex Simmons, Beau Brown and Josh McPherson, all seniors at BHS, were recognized as top 100 prospects in the state of South Carolina. D’Vonta Cohen, a junior, and Jaclay Mixon, a sophomore, were awarded All Rookie Team honors. Detrell Gantt, a senior was named to the AAAA All Defense Team and Rob Dennis, a junior, was named to the AAAA All Offense Team.

The High School Sports Report is an esteemed publication that acknowledges the achievements of young athletes across the state, covering high school sports since 1987.

Photo by Carolina Sports

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Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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