Bill Coates paused a moment and made eye contact with many of the senior football players in attendance.
"You guys did it," said Coates, voice of the Red Raiders for ESPN 92.FM-Tyler. "What you accomplished; whether it was win, loss or tie. For four years many of you have been in this program. You finished the job."
Tuesday's annual Tyler Lee Football Club Banquet featured many impassioned words like that from coaches and players alike as the Red Raiders came together one final time in honor of the 2011-12 Lee football team.
The event was held at and catered by Green Acres Baptist Church with a season highlight video shown during dessert provided by Glow in the Dark Productions.
The Red Raiders went 1-9 under new head coach Darrell Piske, and Piske made a point to recognize the seniors in his remarks.
"Everywhere I go, I always feel bad for the first group of seniors," Piske said. "But remember, when we get this thing turned around, you were a part of it."
The banquet began with acknowledgement of Lee's freshmen and subvarsity teams. The freshmen White team was 7-0-1 with the freshman Red going 6-3-1, both winning district championships.
Lee's junior varsity team went 5-5 overall and 3-2 in district as several players were pulled up to the varsity throughout the season.
Following recognition of the graduating senior players by their position coaches, Tyler Lee Football Club Co-Chairs Chris and Cindy Smith presented Piske a check for $18,000 from fundraising efforts for the football program.
Team awards were then announced, starting by acknowledging Rezzin Pullum and Jay Roberson who made the academic all-state team, meaning that player carried a 92 or above all three years and the first six weeks of his senior season. Pullum was first team and Roberson earned second-team accolades.
Martha Raison was voted Student Trainer of the Year for the second-straight year and Piske gave a special announcement for LaQuintas Wallace, Ian Chase and Lumi Kaba, who had all been recently offered a football scholarship to Tyler Junior College.
Pullum received the Scholastic Award with Delkei Derrett voted for the Leadership Award. The Special Teams Award went to Kaba with Zach Prewitt chosen for the Buddy Boyd Fighting Heart Award
Lee senior offensive lineman Lane Haeger was named Offensive MVP with outside linebacker Deontay Walker chosen Defensive MVP. Senior running back Marcus White was chosen for Team MVP.
Finally, the team captains were announced after voting by the players. They were: White, Bryce Stewart, Josh Wyscarver-Smith, Roberson and Davier Harris.
Tyler Lee Football Club Banquet
Scholastic Award — Rezzin Pullum
Leadership Award — Delkei Derrett
Buddy Boyd Fighting Heart Award — Zach Prewitt
Special Teams Award — Lumi Kaba
Offensive MVP — Lane Haeger
Defensive MVP — Deontay Walker
Team MVP — Marcus White
Captains — Bryce Stewart, Josh Wyscarver-Smith, Marcus White, Davier Harris, Jay Roberson.
Student Trainer of the Year — Martha Rascon