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Kendrick, Smiley win special football honors

Senior center Jackson Kendrick won the Tommy Smith Hustle Award, and senior running back Thomas Smiley received the $500 Davis, Williams Scholarship—the top two honors Bainbridge High School football players can receive—at Tuesday night’s annual Touchdown Club’s football awards banquet.

Kendrick also won the academic award for having the highest grade point average on the team.

The Smith Hustle Award, the highest honor a Bearcat football player can receive, is named for a former Bearcat, Navy Lt. j.g. Thomas Livingston Smith Jr., who died Nov. 27, 1961, while staying with his plummeting disabled aircraft to steer it away from a densely populated area near the Naval Air Station in Atsugi, Japan. It goes annually to a Bearcat player who demonstrates the same qualities of character, leadership, academic achievement and hustle demonstrated by Lt. Smith.

A portrait of Lt. Smith, who was too low for his parachute to open when he ejected from the plane, hangs prominently in the new BHS main hallway.

The Davis-Williams Scholarship, named for former Bearcats coaches Spencer “Onion” Davis and Sam Williams, goes annually to a player who demonstrates hard work, sportsmanship and other high qualities taught by Davis and Williams.

Davis coached the Bearcats from 1955 to 1965 with Williams as his top assistant, leading the Bearcats to a 10-0 regular season and Region 1AA championship in 1960. His outstanding record also included an 8-2 record in 1958, a 9-1 record in 1959, a 7-2-2-2 record in 1961 and a 7-3 record in 1962.

Williams, who served as Bearcats head coach from 1966 to 1969, led them to an outstanding 9-2 record in 1966 and a 6-4 record in 1967. Wayne Shiver, who made the presentation to Smiley and played under Davis and Williams, described the two former coaches as men who shaped young men’s lives for ever in a positive way.

Junior defensive back Delonte Martistee won the most improved defensive player award; senior defensive end Mike Gordon won the Bearcat Award for his strong work ethic and play on defense; senior tight end Markeith Chrispen won the most improved offensive player award, and senior running back Jeremy Harper won the best offensive player award,

A number of players were honored for making All-Region 1AAAA and All-State teams. Junior kicker and punter Keenan Adams, who had a school record-setting field goal of 52 yards against the Cairo High School Syrupmakers, made the coaches first team All-Region 1AAAA team as a punter and place kicker and both The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sportswriters All-State first teams as a punter.

For the season, Adams led Region 1AAAA in punting with a 39.8-yard average. He had five punts inside the 20-yard line and a long punt of 61 yards.

As a place kicker, Adams accounted for 38 points, making 17 of 19 extra point attempts and seven of 12 field goal attempts. In addition to his record 52-yarder against Cairo, he made three of four field goals from 45 yards or farther. He averaged 53 yards on 36 kickoffs and seven of his kickoffs were touchbacks. He had a long kickoff of 65 yards.

Also honored was junior Shawn Samuels, who, like Adams, was named first team All-Region 1AAAA at two positions, defensive back and punt and kickoff returner.

As a cornerback, Samuels had two interceptions, four pass break-ups, 35 tackles, five tackles for loss and one caused fumble. As a returner, he had 17 punt returns for 172 yards, a 10.1-yard average and one touchdown and nine kickoff returns for 267 yards, a 29.7 average and one touchdown. He led the Region in punt return yards and was fourth in kickoff return yards.

Other first-team, All-Region 1AAAA honorees were senior safety Jonathan Warren and junior defensive tackle Qwatavaus Middleton.

Warren tied for first in the Region in interceptions with four, one which he returned for a touchdown, and was second in the Region in tackles with 125. He had four blocked kicks, three tackles for loss, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Middleton had 31 tackles, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble, three quarterback sacks and three quarterback hurries.

Bearcats making second-team, All-Region 1AAAA were senior defensive tackle Kenny Jacobs, who had 41 tackles, five tackles for loss, one caused fumble and two quarterback hurries; Junior linebacker Jamario Brown, who had 46 tackles, two pass break-ups, one interception, one quarterback pressure, and one quarterback hurry; and senior free safety Justin Harris, who tied for first in the Region in interceptions with four, and had six pass break-ups 48 tackles and five tackles for loss.

Bearcats earning honorable mention recognition on the All-Region team were senior wide receiver James Hudson, who had 21 receptions for 337 yards and a touchdown, and senior defensive end Mike Gordon, who had 48 tackles, six tackles for loss, three quarterback sacks, 15 quarterback pressures, 12 quarterback hurries and one caused fumble.