Football players honored at banquet


Brett Zeck, Staff reporter

The achievements of the gridiron Cougars are still coming a month after the close of the season.

The football team held its annual banquet Tuesday Jan. 20 and 13 players were honored for making the Cap-8 All-Conference team.

Linebacker Garratt Brannock, defensive back Jesse Britt, defensive line Sean Cesta, wide receiver Brooks Cunningham, quarterback Mack Moore and defensive lineman Antwain Terry were among the seniors honored.

“It’s an honor first of all,” Brannock said about winning both the Golden Helmet, the team’s top honors, and the Hitman Award for top linebacker. “What that means to me is that they look up to me as a man and respect me. Everyone else molds you to be who you are, and it’s an honor.”

Along with Brannock, Moore agrees with the benefits of camaraderie out on the field.

“My team really helped me get this far, and I praise them for that. It felt good to be recognized,” Moore said.

Moore was named Wake Forest’s top quarterback at the banquet. Additionally, Terry won the Sack Man Award, Cunningham was bestowed the Air Assault Award (top receiver) and Cesta took home the Coach’s Award.

Juniors offensive lineman Brandon Locklear and defensive back Ki’mon Small received honors as did three sophomores: defensive lineman Xach Gill, defensive back Darius Hodge and offensive lineman Kirrian Kirby.

Senior kicker Zach Coates received the special honor of also being named the Cap-8 Special Teams Player of the Year. Coates finished the season with 78 points.

“I was surprised that out of everyone, I was chosen for this,” Coates said. “It felt great. Although, I accidentally ended up breaking my trophy at the banquet, but Lucas had another.”

It was a surprise that must have rendered his football reflexes momentarily useless.

Junior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence was also honored as the Cap-8 Defensive Player of the Year award.

The final and greatest honor bestowed by the Cap-8 coaches fell to senior running back Bryce Love who was named the Cap-8 Player of the Year.

“It was a blessing and an honor considering all of the people who have won it before me,” Love said. “I was so proud to be able to bring it to the school and to the team. Without them I wouldn’t have had half the amount of success that I did, so I really owe it to all of them.”

Love also stated that the award is a “collection of all of the hard work that the team put in and a reflection of our success as a whole.”

In addition to announcing the all-conference honors, head coach Reggie Lucas also distributes several team awards named in honor of past Wake Forest coaches.

The first award, given to an outstanding offensive player, honors coach Rodney “The Rock” Harrison, whom Lucas played for when he was a student.

This year’s recipient of the Rock Harrison Award was Love.

To Love, it was a special sentiment because of what Rock Harrison, an early coach in the school’s football history, meant to the program.

“I was so thankful that the coaches thought I had worked hard enough to be recognized for an award like that,” he said.

Lucas also introduced a new award this year to honor former coach and athletic director Ron Hales. Hales was an assistant under Harrison.

Lucas created the award to honor outstanding defensive play. This year’s recipient was Lawrence.

“This was a blessing, you could say,” Lawrence said. “The other coaches around the conference are starting to see my talent, and by the way Coach Brooks explained it, it’s an honor.

After two years of playing as long as a team can play, it can take time before one can look back and appreciate all that was accomplished, and the annual banquet provides some time to reflect on all that made this season special.