Yellow Jackets host football banquet and ring ceremony

Mar. 28—THOMASVILLE — The 2023 6A State Champion Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets held their football banquet and ring ceremony on Wednesday night. Awards were handed out, players and staff were recognized and a new road sign was revealed as the Yellow Jackets celebrated their sixth state title once more.

Head coach Justin Rogers began the night by thanking and recognizing everyone involved with the team. Players, parents, administration, staff and fans felt the love from the second-year coach as he let out a loud blast of a horn in honor of Jacket Nation.

Rogers also shared a story as he thanked the fans, a story about walking the field at Marist before the semifinals and hearing the horns of Yellow Jacket nation blaring as they turned Marist into a Thomas County haven.

Rogers was sure to thank the coaches' wives as he invited them up to receive a gift from their husbands. Rogers also made sure to thank Central Principal James Thomas and AD Philip Duplantis, whom he called "a great support system," as well as Lorie Lawing, who does just about everything she possibly can and more for the Central athletic department. Rogers called her a "true Yellow Jacket".

He went on to recognize the players who make the wheels on this football bus turn. Rogers presented them with beautiful championship rings. The rings feature white gold, gold and blue and have the Central logo on top. The years that Central have won state championships surround the diamonds. The players' names are also included on the side of the ring, along with the year 2023, the state of Georgia and the Yellow Jackets' perfect 15-0 record.

Engraved on the inside of the ring is the phrase that drove the Yellow Jackets to their first state title since 1997, "Win the day."

Rogers also recognized and gave rings to 34 freshmen, who were asked to continue to work with the varsity team after the freshman season was over.

The coaches began to hand out a multitude of team awards.

The marquee awards were the Bobby Stewart Defensive MVP, won by Tywon Christopher and the Puppy Walden Offensive MVP, won by Trey Brenton. Also given out was the first ever Ed Pilcher Commitment Scholarship, presented to Alex Ward.

The most coveted award is, of course, the Charlie Ward MVP award, given to the Yellow Jackets' most valuable player. This year the award went to Central junior Dee Reddick.

Some parents also took the time to present Melissa Rogers, wife of Coach Rogers, with a gift to thank her for her role in taking care of and supporting their children.

The team then unveiled the team picture that will be hung forever in the TCC gym along with the rest of the championship team pictures that came before. Also unveiled was the new road sign, one that will be displayed on every road that goes in and out of Thomas County as a reminder that this is where champions live.