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Abbeville High School

Abbeville honors top athletes at spring banquet

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Abbeville—It was a great year for Abbeville High athletics, and the school recently held its annual awards banquet honoring some of their top athletes.

Senior Bryce Jackson was named the Male Athlete of the Year after his contributions on the football field and baseball diamond. 

Jackson quarterbacked the Panthers to another state championship on the gridiron, completing 47-of-86 passes for 902 yards with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions while rushing for 915 yards and 12 more scores.

A shortstop and pitcher on the baseball team, he signed with the College of Charleston to continue his playing career in the Lowcountry.  This spring, Jackson batted .449 with two home runs, 26 runs scored, 24 runs batted in and eight stolen bases.  On the mound, he went 1-1 with a 2.07 earned run average with three saves and 36 strikeouts.

“Bryce is a quality individual.  He’s a great athlete, but an even better person.  He competes with the heart of a champion.  He’s been a huge asset to both our football and baseball programs over the last few years.  We wish him the best of luck as he becomes a Cougar,” athletic director Tad Dubose said.

The Female Athlete of the Year was Kionna Agnew, who made the All-Region team in basketball and track while also running on the cross-country team. 

The senior, who signed a track scholarship with Columbia College, was also the recipient of the Panther Pride scholarship, which goes to an athlete that is heavily involved in community service.

“Kionna works extremely hard.  Her family is high-character, hard-working people, and she is the same way.  She plays three sports and has very good academics.  She’s made herself into a pretty good track athlete.  Her future is very bright because of her work ethic,” Dubose said.

Receiving the Dennis Botts scholarship was running back Junior Rapley.  Named after the legendary Abbeville football coach, the award goes to a player that plays the game in a way the former coach would have been proud of.

Rapley, who was also a member of the basketball and track teams, led the Panthers in rushing (1,202 yards, 16 TD) and receiving (423 yards, 4 TD) and is headed to play at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

“He has a team-first mentality.  Whenever he had the football in his hands he was electric, but the other running backs reaped the benefits of the way he blocked for them.  In our offense, you can’t be a me-first player.  He was a good team leader and worked harder than everyone else.  Those are some of the characteristics that would have made Coach Botts proud,” Dubose said.

The last major award went to Charleton “Whoodie” Goodwin, who earned the Dejuan Sanders Scholarship that embodies “a man of character.”  Goodwin signed a football scholarship with Newberry College after recording 113 tackles from his linebacker position in 2017.

“First and foremost, he’s got a million dollar smile.  He’s a man of a lot of style and always dresses the part.  He’s very articulate and he’s a heckuva football player as well.  He played the game aggressive, but as soon as he pulled his helmet off, his character was infectious.  He’s a fine young man and very deserving of that scholarship,” Dubose said.

Dubose, who also serves as the defensive coordinator for the football team, felt pleased with the work they got during spring practice.  There are key players to replace, but the Panthers have a solid nucleus returning as they head into summer workouts.

“That’s a time to develop some depth with some people that probably weren’t on the varsity roster last year.  Our spring game got rained out, but there were some bright spots with younger guys coming up from the jayvee team,” Dubose said.  “We understand that we’re not going to win a state championship in the spring.  We got out and try to get our work done and make sure everyone knows the terminology and scheme.  If you can do that, you’re ahead of the game.”

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