Several county award winners took moments to chat about the importance of their prizes.
Lakeside’s Shawn Gilbert, who had an exceptional season for the Dragons, had simple recollections of his senior season on the gridiron.
“I had so much to be thankful for this season,” Gilbert said. “I have to think the highlight of it all was beating Edgewood. They are such a good team that makes you work all night long. They are our neighborhood rival, and it was unreal for me to intercept two passes against them.
“One of them I ran back for a touchdown, and it was without a doubt, the most exciting thing I have experienced on the football field. I think it got the team and community fired up as well. It seemed like that play really brought us closer as a team, a school, and as a community. The support after that was amazing.”
Star Beacon Ashtabula County Coach of the Year winner John Glavickas of Grand Valley could only smile and take in all the great atmosphere of the night and its significance.
“This is the icing on the cake, the bow on the whole package,” he said. “To see how many of our kids were represented on the first teams for the county is an honor to our program. We have such a great community that rallied around our team all year.
“After graduating a class like we did, seeing our tradition growing as it has, we got the idea to ask former players to come in and talk with the kids. It was great, and it didn’t matter who I brought in, the kids responded when they heard of the Grand Valley football traditions.”
Many seniors were honored, but there were underclassmen who were part of the program who appreciate what the night’s fesitivities mean.
Offensive Lineman of the Year Matt Fitchet of Edgewood, a junior, sees how much it all means.
“This is just an awesome honor for me,” Fitchet said. “I’m really looking forward to next year and to be part of getting us back to the playoffs again next year. We have a close group of juniors at our school, and it will be important for us to make a statement for the school and community next year, too.”