By Gary L. Smith
Last week, Trenton celebrated a record setting 2018 season during the Peabody Football Night of Champions Banquet and Ring Ceremony.
A capacity crowd filled the Trenton National Guard Armory to play tribute to the Golden Tide football team for perhaps the most successful season in the 97-year history of the program.
With only one loss, the 14 wins were the most for any Peabody gridiron team. The mark topped the 13 victories registered by the 2014 state championship squad. The 2018 team showed remarkable balance as the defense limited opponents to less than six points per game and recorded nine shutouts in 15 outings and the offense set what is believed to be a school record, with 624 points (41.6 point average per game) and 5,277 total yards.
Amazingly, Peabody landed a total of 22 players on the 7-2A All-Region Football Team, with nine first team, seven second team and six honorable mention selections. Jarel Dickson, Osiris Wilson and Qua Parks were named First Team All-State.
Senior wide receiver and defensive back Ben Farley was the recipient of the Matt Morris #28 “2 Tall Award.” The honor is presented to a player who excels at the game despite his small statute. The plaque is given annually by the Morris Family in memory of Matt, who perished in a truck accident during his senior football season.
The leadership on this year’s team was provided by a 15-member senior class that recorded a school record 32 wins with only eight losses during their three-year careers. Seniors included: Courtlen Wade, strong safety; Desmond Tyler, wide receiver; Jasper Albea, defensive end; Ben Farley, wide receiver; Qua Parks, defensive back; Jaime Hernandez, linebacker; Josh Parks, wide receiver; Issiah Jackson, defensive back; Trent Hutcheson, wide receiver; J.C. Eubanks, defensive end; Kyle Oglesby, offensive lineman; Richard Clark, offensive lineman; Osiris Wilson, offensive and defensive lineman; Jason Lancaster, offensive lineman and Kell Harvey, center.
Other team members recognized were:
Juniors – Eli Hammonds, Cooper Baugus, Jarel Dickson, Noah Halbrook, Jacquez Wilkins, Mark Pagan, Tyshawn Roberson, Colton Cloyd, Logan Whittemore, Rafe Hannah, Tony Walters and Bryce Franks.
Sophomores – Reece Pickard, Triston Cook, Carson Vandiver, Isaiah Hicks, Allen Jones, Ja’Darren Easley, Daylan Russell, Caiden Holbrook, Benjamin Hayes, Cameron Vasser, Nigel Brooks, Christian Poore, Blake Minnis, Christian Poore, Braxton Johnson and Luke Hill.
Freshmen – Kade Walker, Cam’ron Bonds, Malik Ganaway, Trey Hensley, Demarkus Kee, Khalik Ganaway, Kenyale Cliff, Jordan Jelks-Shepherd, Jordan Sanders, Charles Cliff, Jr. Chase Minton, Parker Vernon, Eric Barcenas, Jaquarius Lee, Jason Baskerville, Alex Reyes, Tyler Butler, Zach Dance, Conner Meadows, Aiden Huerta, Sam Walters, Gregory Davenport, Jevonte Bailey and Keandre’ Woolfork.
Coaches Sunni Cooksey and Andrea Staser recognized the following cheerleaders: seniors – Macy Anglin, Annie Bartholomew, Kamryn Edmiston, Stokeley Ellison, Kendall Powell, Chloe Thompson and Madeline Vernon; juniors – Constance Baucom, Lilly Connell, Terralyn Elam, Dolly Garofalo, Cydney Lane, Lydia Milligan and Charley Staser; sophomore – Claire Criswell; freshmen – Ann Taylor Elliott, Kayte Marie Greer and Abby Milligan and managers – La’Tavia Milan and Kyliyah Nesbitt.
Former Trenton Rosenwald Middle School Bears Football Coach Doug Argo was recognized for starting the TRMS fifth and sixth grade football programs in 2011. The seniors on the 2018 team played in the fifth grade. Trenton Special School District Director of Schools Tim Haney presented Argo a state championship ring.
Members of the PHS coaching staff credited with directing the Golden Tide to the 14-1 season and state title were: Shane Jacobs, head coach; Jay Taylor, offensive coordinator; Tab Vowell, defensive coordinator; Steve Mathis, defensive line coach; Jason Driggers, offensive line coach; Paul Hudson, wide receivers and special team coach and Ben Di’Chiara, freshmen coach.
Others on the program were: Quarterback Club Officer Eric Allen, invocation and School Board Member Jason Weaver, opening remarks.