Havelock Mayor Jimmy Sanders may have summed it up best.
“What a great day to be a Ram,” he told a crowd of students, staff, dignitaries and residents at a state championship football celebration Friday at Havelock High School.
Sanders, as well as Havelock commissioners George Liner and Will Lewis, were on hand to read a city proclamation honoring the team as well as present players and coaches pendants for winning the state 3A championship on Dec. 1.
“I feel confident we’ll be back here next year,” Sanders told the crowd.
Coaches presented players with conference, eastern regional and state championship medals and also handed out special year-end awards, including most improved as well as most valuable offensive player and most valuable defensive player. The overall player of the year award went to quarterback and safety Pharoh Cooper.
Havelock High football coach Jim Bob Bryant also received an award for being named Coastal 3A Conference coach of the year.
“This should really be coaches of the year because of all the work of my assistant coaches,” Bryant told the crowd. “The head coach is only as good as his assistant coaches and his players, and I believe I’ve got the best assistant coaches in the state, and we know we have the best players in the state.”
Bryant went on to thank the school’s administration, faculty and staff, cheerleaders, band, parents and community for all the support the team received during its 15-1 season.
He made a special mention of the Ram Rowdies, the Havelock High students who cheer at each game. Bryant said Twitter had been alive with fan comments prior to the Dec. 1 state championship game against Concord, and he particularly remembers the students shouting toward the Concord side of the field near the end of Havelock’s 55-21 victory, “check your twitter.”
“I usually don’t hear that stuff during the game because I’m busy coaching, but I heard that,” Bryant said. “You guys did a great job all year.”
Dubbed the “Back in Black, Back to Back” celebration, the event featured music from the Havelock High band as well as cheers from the cheerleaders.
Dignitaries included Craven County commissioners Scott Dacey, Lee K. Allen and Theron McCabe, who made note that he wore No. 22 when he played running back for Havelock High in 1965. The group also honored the team with a proclamation.
“You have once again brought great pride to Craven County,” Dacey said. “We can’t thank you enough.”
Lane Mills, superintendent of Craven County Schools, stood up to speak but instead simply saluted the team by holding up his hands to form an ‘H’ in what has become a team symbol.
Bryant noted the accomplishments of the Havelock High football seniors, who have gone 31-1 in the last two seasons with back-to-back state championships. He also noted that the junior varsity team has had perfect 10-0 seasons the past two years.
The Rams celebrated the state title on the last Friday before Christmas break last season, and did the same thing again this year. With that in mind, Bryant had a special message for the crowd.
“We want you to get real used to coming in here the last Friday before Christmas,” he said. “We plan on doing this for the next 20 years.”
For more pictures from Friday's celebration, click here: http://portal.havenews.com/photogallery/?CatID=8&AlbumID=1972