By KEITH SPARKS
On Tuesday, the Panther football team had a team banquet to celebrate their accomplishments during the 2017 season. Last year, all of the athletic programs combined for one large banquet, but Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jeff Walker said he felt like the students didn’t get the recognition they deserved. This year, he aimed to change that.
“It was the first one we’ve had in a really long time at Liberty Hill from what I understand,” Walker said. “They’d been doing breakfast, and last year we kind of did an awards deal with everybody, but we’ve kind of split up the banquets this year and let everybody do their own thing. I think when we do all the sports together, by the end it seems like everybody’s gone and they’re not getting the recognition they need. I just feel like if we do them individually, the kids will get more recognition and we can really take the time to introduce them and acknowledge their accomplishments.”
Walker felt like everybody in attendance enjoyed the banquet, but admitted he would have done some things differently. The cheerleaders and trainers were invited to the banquet, as well, as each one was recognized for their contributions to the 2017 football season.
“It was a good banquet,” Walker said. “We had a great turnout and I think the kids enjoyed it. Obviously, we found some things we need to do better, but it was a good night to go back and look at the season and honor some young men and young ladies, trainers and the cheerleaders for what they’ve accomplished and what they did this year.”
In addition to recognizing every athlete, cheerleader, and trainer, a number of football players were given team awards, including offensive MVP, defensive MVP, and more. In fact, Walker added some awards this year that have not typically been given at Liberty Hill.
“We obviously gave out certificates to our lower level, but we also gave out MVP for our offense, defense, Iron Man, linebacker, defense line, all that,” Walker said. “I think we gave out 10 or 11 awards, and about six or seven of them have been there since 2001. I added four or five this year. We’ve never had a receiver award, which a couple people kind of laugh at, but I added that and I added a linebacker award, offensive MVP, defensive MVP, and I added a newcomer award for somebody like a sophomore that came in and made an impact or a move-in that all the sudden is contributing.”