County’s top grid players honored

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 16, 2004

Focus on excellence was the central point Thursday night and the common theme that brought together 12 of the county’s top high school football players.

The All-County High School Football Team was honored in a ceremony Thursday night at

the 32nd Annual Dallas County All-Star Football Banquet held at Martin Middle School.

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Dallas County coach Rick Bush, Keith coach Harry Crum and Southside coach Chris Raymond handed out All-County trophies to their players after a motivational speech by former Dallas County High School standout running back Collins Pettaway Jr.

In his speech, Pettaway talked of his glory days at Dallas County when he won Most Valuable Player honors in 1976 and ’77.

Pettaway encouraged the dozen star athletes to remain focused on the most important concept of sports and life – teamwork.

“Nowadays,” Pettaway said, “the team is not the concept. People want to see what individual statistics they can accumulate.

“A lot of guys today are just concerned about themselves,” Pettaway added. “I don’t want you to become like that because there’s more to life than just yourselves.”

The former Dallas County standout told about how his team, though small, was successful against other county opponents.

“In 1976, we played Southside,” he said, “and we were a much smaller team. Southside always had the bigger athletes, but we always found a way to win.”

In that game, the Hornets rallied to win, 15-14. Pettaway called it one of his worst statistical games. But, he added, his team winning the game was the most important thing.

Pettaway said that while he was a talented running back for the Hornets, he also was a mischievious youngster, even getting expelled from school after he and other students broke into the principal’s office to steal candy.

“The statute of limitations has run out on this,” Pettaway joked, “so I don’t mind talking about it.

“Athletics have been wonderful to me,” he added. “Without athletics, I wouldn’t have gone to college. I got expelled from school. If it weren’t for some lucky breaks, I would have been out. All you’ve got to do is focus.”

Bush then told those in attendance of how team rose above the doubts people had toward the Hornets’ chances of a solid season.

“Not many people gave us a chance,” Bush said, “because we lost 17 seniors last season. These guys stepped it up this year. We replaced 17 seniors with six players. They really stepped it up this year. They were a team and they were a family.”