By Mark Clark
Central High held its annual football awards banquet last week and honored more than a dozen players for their outstanding performances on the field and in the classroom over the course of the 2017 season. The 2017 Red Devils set school records in several categories including winning the region title for the fourth consecutive season and scoring the most points in a single season.
“This team gave me the first undefeated regular season in my career,” Central coach Jamey DuBose said of the 2017 Red Devils, who went 9-0 during the regular season. It was Central’s first undefeated regular season since 1995.
The past season’s Red Devils scored 565 points to break the old record of 551 points set by the 2011 team. The 2017 squad scored 14 more points than the 2011 team scored in two fewer games. The team also set a record for consecutive victories with 11 as it finished 11-1 while making it to the third round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A playoffs for the third year in a row.
Awards were presented to players in seven categories at the annual banquet, including the Dyer Family Scholarship, Most Improved, Red Devil, Special Teams, Wayne Trawick, Jack B. Russell and Tommy Garrett.
Senior Josh Ford, the team’s center, was given the Tommy Garrett Award for academics. Senior defensive end Tyler Moore received the Jack B. Russell Award for leadership. The Wayne Trawick Award was presented to the players who were named the team’s permanent captains. The permanent captains, all seniors, included wide receiver Justyn Ross, offensive tackle Kinnes Dixon, offensive guard/tackle Jahlil Ryles, linebacker/strong safety Jalen McWhite and Moore. The Special Teams Awards went to Marquez Henry, a junior linebacker/strong safety, and Ross. The Red Devil Offensive Award was taken by sophomore wide receiver Robert Marsh. The Red Devil Defensive Award was won by two players – senior defensive back Ahmad Butler and junior free safety Devonte Mathews. The Dyer Family Scholarship for $500 was presented to Ford.
DuBose will see 16 to 19 of the just more than 30 seniors on the team be signed to play football on the college level. Ross is currently uncommitted and ranked as the state’s top prospect by several recruiting services. The four-star athlete will make official visits to Alabama and Auburn before National Signing Day Feb. 7