2012-04-04 / Sports

Ring BEARers

Burke County celebrates state championship in style
By Anne Marie Kyzer


Above, players display the new hardware they received to remember their state title. Above, players display the new hardware they received to remember their state title. It was all about the Bears last Wednesday.

Burke County High School’s football team and several hundred of their biggest fans celebrated their historic state championship with an awards banquet and ring ceremony at the school. From individual accolades to special dances shared by players and their mothers, the night offered the team a chance to soak up the success of the season.

“ I’ve been doing this for twenty two years and fifteen of those as a head coach,” Bears head coach Eric Parker said, noting the significance of the occasion. “We’ve knocked on the door so many times, but this was a first for me as a coach.”

Coach Parker didn’t bestow a single award based on individual performance on the field, a practice he’s long been known to avoid. Instead he praised an ultimate team effort and said their wins boiled down to hard work put in from a committed group of young men.


Coach Eric Parker congratulates the players after the ring ceremony. Coach Eric Parker congratulates the players after the ring ceremony. “We told our kids that you have to make sure that when you wake up very morning, nobody is outworking you. And I think that’s what this team was all about.”

Coach Parker applauded his assistant coaches, proclaiming his staff as the best in the state, “regardless of classification.”

Throughout the ceremony, the players couldn’t help but admire the championship souvenir that had been placed on their right ring fingers at a private ceremony an hour before.

Most of them said they wouldn’t be taking them off anytime soon.

“I think I’m going to shower in it and everything,” said Malcolm Aldridge, an offensive lineman who has signed to play with West Georgia in the fall. He joked that he planned to raise his hand in class for every question the next day, regardless of whether he knew the answer, just for the chance to show it off.


Each player’s ring bears his name, number, the year and classification of the title on one side and the title game score, Burke County logo and the word “finish” on the other. Each player’s ring bears his name, number, the year and classification of the title on one side and the title game score, Burke County logo and the word “finish” on the other. Senior linebacker Derwin Butler said he’d enjoy his ring for a while and then put it somewhere safe.

“I just might where it every day,” he said, looking down at the deep blue stone then looking up with a smile. “Then I’ll buy a ring box to put it in. Having this ring just gives us all something that will last forever and help us remember this.”



Coach Parker also repsetned rings to two of the Bears’ most passionate fans, Andy and Andrew Doyle. The twins have been a fixture at Burke County football games, where they are known to lead cheers from the stands and get the crowd on their feet. Coach Parker also repsetned rings to two of the Bears’ most passionate fans, Andy and Andrew Doyle. The twins have been a fixture at Burke County football games, where they are known to lead cheers from the stands and get the crowd on their feet.

Head coach Eric Parker presented the game ball from the Bears’ state title game to Superintendent Linda Bailey, who will retire this May. Noting the ball represented Bailey’s last as a Superintendent, Coach Parker said, “I only hope I can finish as strong as she did.” Head coach Eric Parker presented the game ball from the Bears’ state title game to Superintendent Linda Bailey, who will retire this May. Noting the ball represented Bailey’s last as a Superintendent, Coach Parker said, “I only hope I can finish as strong as she did.”

The state championship banner was unveiled at the end of the evening, commemorating the title in the school’s gymnasium. The state championship banner was unveiled at the end of the evening, commemorating the title in the school’s gymnasium.

Clifford Lewis presented Montres Kitchens with the Cliff Hatcher Award, which is sponsored by the Waynesboro Rotary Club and goes to the most outstanding football player in the county each year. Clifford Lewis presented Montres Kitchens with the Cliff Hatcher Award, which is sponsored by the Waynesboro Rotary Club and goes to the most outstanding football player in the county each year.

Assistant head coach Eric Luke presented the Golden Helmet Award to Tyler Williams for maintaining the highest academic average on the team. Assistant head coach Eric Luke presented the Golden Helmet Award to Tyler Williams for maintaining the highest academic average on the team.

Offensive line coach Mercedes Hamilton hits the floor with his wife and daughter during the coaches and wives dance at the reception. Offensive line coach Mercedes Hamilton hits the floor with his wife and daughter during the coaches and wives dance at the reception.

Charles Petrea was honored with the inaugural Bo Cochran Award, named in memory of the Waynesboro Hurricanes’ right tackle on the 1957 state championship team. From left, Cochran’s widow Sherri and daughter Katie were there to congratulate Petrea after George DeLoach called his name. Charles Petrea was honored with the inaugural Bo Cochran Award, named in memory of the Waynesboro Hurricanes’ right tackle on the 1957 state championship team. From left, Cochran’s widow Sherri and daughter Katie were there to congratulate Petrea after George DeLoach called his name.

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