Who Do You Think Should Win the Kennedy Award?
Each year, the WV Sports Writers Association selects the winner of the Kennedy Award. Now, as a radio broadcaster, I do not get a vote on the award but I will say in my opinion, the sports writers get it right about 99.99% of the time….let’s face it, no one’s perfect!
Before I give you my opinion on who I think should win this year’s Kennedy, let’s talk about the history of the annual award. Named for the late Wheeling, WV native Harrison H. Kennedy, the Kennedy Award is given to the WV High School Football Player of the Year and is the second oldest statewide award, second only to the Hardman Award which is presented to the Amateur Athlete of the Year. The first Kennedy Award winner came in 1947 when Darrell Shires, Jr. of Hinton won it as a running back. This year, they will name the 65th winner of the Kennedy. Note, there was no award given in 1966 and 1967 and in 1998, there was actually a tie and two players, Quincy Wilson of Weir and J. R. House of Nitro, both received awards. Only four times have there been back-to-back winners — 1972/1973: Danny Williams, quarterback at Dupont High School…….1975/1976: Robert Alexander, running back at South Charleston High School…….1992/1993: Mark Cisar, quarterback/defensive back at Magnolia High School, and in 2002/2003: Brandon Barrett, wide receiver/defensive back at Martinsburg High School. Quite possibly, we will see the fifth back-to-back winner this year, because last year the Kennedy Award was won by junior running back/defensive back Ryan Switzer of George Washington High School. There are eight schools in the state that have had three Kennedy Award winners; however the school with the most winners (4) is Morgantown.
So, now let’s look ahead at possible winners of this year’s Kennedy Award. Certainly last year’s winner, Ryan Switzer of George Washington has to be the front runner right now. Switzer has done absolutely nothing to suggest he is not playing football as good this year as he did last year. The Patriots are currently 5-1 and the only loss they have came in week number two of the season when Ryan Switzer was sidelined with an injury. I’m certainly not saying George Washington can’t win without Ryan Switzer in the lineup, but he is definitely important to the success of the team. However there are several other players that will receive attention when the sports writers gather for the vote. Here is a short list:
· Chazzy Thomas of Morgantown
· Jalen Jones of Oak Hill
· Brandon Spurlock of Wayne
· David Gaydosz of Cabell Midland
· Lowell Farley of Cabell Midland
· Andrew Johnson of Woodrow Wilson
· Justin “Cookie” Clinton of Martinsburg
· Cedric Brown of Martinsburg
· Caleb Dembeck of Musselman
· Josh Ferguson of Musselman
· Elijah Wellman of Spring Valley
· Brett Hathaway of Bridgeport
· Jake Parker of Meadow Bridge
I am certain I have left several deserving players off of the above list and it is certainly not intentional. And please know, as stated above, I do not have a vote in deciding the winner of the Kennedy Award. I just think it is wonderful that in such a small state as West Virginia, we are blessed with several outstanding young men who play high school football.
And, speaking of football, don’t forget after your favorite team plays this Friday night, tune in to HIGH SCHOOL GAMENIGHT, presented by Warner Law Office. Dave Jecklin and I will have all the scores of all the games. Talk with you then!