Friday, August 05, 2011

SPORTS>>Red Devils awarded rings

Special to The Leader

There have been plenty of celebrations following the Jacksonville Red Devils winning the Class 6A baseball state championship, but the best one yet happened Monday at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

The Red Devil players and coaches were treated to a luncheon sponsored by First Arkansas Bank and Trust, followed by what the players have been waiting for for weeks – the presentation of the state championship rings.

First, head coach Larry Burrows got to show off the championship banner that will be hanging in the gym, along with a giant framed photograph of the team.

Burrows passed out the rings to each of his Red Devils, ending with Most Valuable Player Jesse Harbin. D’Vone McClure missed the banquet, as he was playing in a showcase baseball tournament in Florida.

“That brought back all the hard work, everything we went through all year,” said Burrows. “It’s what you do that work for. Getting that ring is what you always talk about, so actually doingit is something pretty special.”

There were other presentations made during the banquet as well, both involving longtime Red Devil supporter Velma Warner Johnson. Tyler Crook presented “Mrs. Velma” with a necklace on behalf of the team in thanks of her support during the season, which included making it to every game, home and away, including Jacksonville’s spring-break trip to Panama, Florida for a tournament.

Mrs. Velma in turn presented the players, coaches, principal and athletic directors of the school and district with hand-stitched plaques to help remember the remarkable season.

Burrows also offered thanks to First Arkansas Bank and Trust president Larry Wilson for his support and contributions that made the banquet, parade and other celebrations possible.

Wilson responded by promising that there would always be a parade and banquet whenever Jacksonville wins a state championship. “This is such a great way to end what was a great season,” Burrows said. “We’re losing 12 seniors, so to be able to send them out like this with these rings is something special that I don’t think they’ll ever forget.”