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Bulldog celebration: Banquet honors coach, scholarship recipients

Thomson High School Athletic Booster Club President Rick McCorkle got a special treat during Friday evening's annual banquet. He watched as his son, Aaron, received the club's scholarship named partially after his late son, Adam.

"It was a big shock and a big honor for Aaron," Mr. McCorkle said. "I think it touched him, pretty much. He wasn't expecting that to happen at all."

The important thing to the McCorkle family was that Coach Luther Welsh - who is in charge of choosing the scholarship recipient - spoke more during the presentation about Aaron's Christian leadership in the school than he spoke about his abilities on the baseball diamond.

After Aaron received the Adam McCorkle / Tony Smith Scholarship, Don McNeill announced the winner of the Mary Knox McNeill Scholarship which is named after his late wife. Star fullback LaBrandon Hudson received this year's scholarship.

"That was a good one, too," Mr. McCorkle said. "LaBrandon's a good kid, makes good grades."

Dinner from Neal's Barbecue was served after the recipients were named, and the club then honored the Bulldogs' secondary coach on the football field, Curtis Williams, for his dedication to the program since he came to the school in 1999.

"He is a man of matchless integrity," said Defensive Coordinator John Barnett during Coach Williams' introduction. "...He is concerned about the total development of our students."

Coach Williams, who coached at Washington-Wilkes before coming to Thomson, thanked his family and those he has coached under for helping him become the man he is today. He also talked about the vacancy at Thomson after his long-time mentor Butch Brooks left the Tigers.

"The Lord opened a door for me, and I'm not going to walk back out it," he said of his move to Coach Welsh's staff.

After Coach Williams was honored, author and humorist Darrell Huckaby entertained the crowd with stories of his family and living in the south.

Mr. McCorkle said the banquet - the club's single largest fundraiser of the year - was a great success. He added that the club's honoree delivered a message relevant to everyone about the value of hard work and determination.

"Coach Williams just had a super testimony," he said. "...(Club Members) said they were well pleased with the support of the event."

Web posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007

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