By Kevin Shannahan
The NCHS atrium was transformed into a banquet hall as the Chiefs’ football team and trainers held their annual awards night Thursday, Dec 20th. NCHS head football coach Byron Keller began the event by welcoming the players, trainers and their families. The Chiefs then enjoyed a superb dinner of jambalaya and sides.
Coach Keller began the program with the academic awards. The young men were on the honor roll, academic all state, first and second team all district and district honorable mention.
Mr. Lennis Watson introduced the trainers. These young men and women are an integral part of the school’s athletic program. They are extensively trained in CPR, recognizing, preventing and dealing with injuries and caring for the athletes in their charge. Mr. Watson and the trainers provide an extra margin of safety for athletes in every sport. Over the years, several of the trainers have gone on to careers in physical therapy and sports training.
The assistant coaches presented awards to the outstanding offensive and defensive players, the offensive and defensive MVPs as well as the coaches’ award given to the player who exemplified character, dedication and selflessness. Lastly each senior player and trainer was called forward and presented with souvenirs of their time with the team.
This night was about celebrating the accomplishments of a superb group of young men and women. Watching the ceremony, I could see much more. This is the first year of coach Keller’s hopefully long career at the helm of the Chiefs. The change is palpable. A culture of discipline, accountability and excellence on and off the field is taking shape. Coach Keller and his assistants are more than coaches, they are examples to the boys of how men should conduct themselves. They are firm, but not abusive. They carry themselves with dignity and decorum. They are using football to build men.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal is looking forward to the Chief’s 2019 season. Go Chiefs!