Jefferson senior quarterback Quentin Williams seemed to have finally met his match as he tried to carry the Guy Toph trophy, Hillsborough County's most prestigious football award, out of the county school building Thursday morning.
"It's heavy," Williams said. "It's like the Heisman Trophy."
"And it's the first weight he's lifted since the season ended," Jefferson coach Mike Fenton later joked.
The Guy Toph Award, awarded annually since 1939, is the local equivalent of the Heisman. And when Williams received the 72nd edition of the award, given to the county's top senior football player, it was the perfect ending to a dream season in which he led the Dragons to the program's first state title, won Florida's prestigious Mr. Football award and broke every state career and single-season passing record.
Williams is the eighth player from Jefferson to win -- a group that includes NFL players Rick Casares (1949), Kirby Dar Dar (1989), Keith Newman (1994) and Andre Caldwell (2002).
Williams took a closer glance at the lavish trophy, his name already etched on the base, and saw the names of players he grew up watching like Caldwell and former Plant stars Robert Marve and Derek Winter.
"It's a great honor to be mentioned along with some of the other names who have won this award," Williams said. "It's a tremendous blessing. It's great."
Alonso DE Anthony Chickillo, who has emerged as one of the nation's top recruits after winning MVP honors at the Under Armour All-America Game earlier this month, received the Jimbo Kynes Outstanding Lineman Award, given to the county’s top offensive or defensive lineman.
Williams, a Bethune-Cookman commit, established Florida single-season high school records for passing touchdowns (56) and passing yards (4,451), and career marks for TD passes (109) and passing yardage (10,384). He also accounted for five touchdowns -- three passing and two rushing -- in the Dragons' 44-34 Class 3A state title win in over Miami Norland.
Chickillo, who remains a University of Miami commitment for now, averaged 12.3 tackles and totaled 18 sacks as a senior.
"This is a great way to end it," Chickillo said. "All my coaches and all the guys I've played with, this is for them too. I've gotten to play with some great guys and had some great coaches."
The top athletes in the other fall sports were also honored, and one of the best stories of the day had to be Middleton senior cross country runner Amber Brooks, recipient of the Dr. Ben Walker Girls Cross Country Award.
Brooks began running cross country as a junior to help her train for running the 800 meters during track season and blossomed. She became the first female runner from Middleton to qualify for the state cross country meet, and she placed first in the Western Conference National Division meet and the Don Bishop Invitational.
Brooks was the school's only female cross country runner and practiced with the boys team.
"I never knew I'd take cross country that far," said Brooks, who is being recruited by Tennessee State, UAB, Bethune-Cookman and Albany. "At first it was too much for me, but people kept encouraging me to keep running. Once I started coming in on top, I thought that maybe this for me. "
Plant volleyball player Tina Catanach, a member of Plant's fifth straight state title team, won the annual Kirkwood Family Volleyball Award. Catanach, who has a 5.65 GPA, will play collegiately at Loyola-Maryland. Her sister, Kellie, won the same award in 2007, so this marked the first time a pair of sisters won the Kirkwood. Kellie Catanach, a 6-foot-2 junior setter at Duke, was this past season's ACC Player of the Year. Two members of the Kirkwood family, former Plant standouts Emily and Sarah Kirkwood, received the award when it was known as the Griffin Volleyball Award.
Chamberlain's Jake Covington, who had a top-20 finish at state and boasts a 6.0 grade point average, received the Dr. Ben Walker Boys Cross Country Award.
Wharton's Blair Kuethe, who placed sixth at state in the 100 free, owns a 5.75 GPA and has committed to the University of Kentucky, won the Jessie Helfrich Hicks Award for Outstanding Girls Swimmer. Jesuit's Chris Swanson, a top 200 and 500 free swimmer who is slated to graduate in the top 10 percent of his class, received the Hicks Award for Outstanding Boys Swimming.
Steinbrenner's Alex Milan and Chamberlain's Gary Buffington III received the Casey Most Valuable Golfer Awards. Milan, a Florida State-bound senior, is a four-time individual district champ and three-time state qualifier. Buffington will graduate third in his class and has an athletic scholarship to West Florida.
The team academic awards, which recognize the teams in each fall sport with the highest combined GPA, were also announced Thursday. Plant's football (3.107), volleyball (3.647), girls cross country (3.828) and girls golf (3.775) teams topped their respective sports, as did the Plant City boys cross country team (3.618), East Bay boys swimming team (3.700), Jefferson girls swimming team (3.571) and Wharton boys golf team (3.619).
Guy Toph Award winners
1939: Guy Thompkins, Hillsborough
1940: John Smit, Plant
1941: Ned Baldwin, Plant
1942: Casper Vaccaro, Hillsborough
1943: Bob Belle, Plant
1944: Ray Jackson, Hillsborough
1945: Hal Griffin, Hillsborough
1946: Cecil Perrette, Hillsborough
1947: Bob Payne, Jefferson
1948: Pete Millian, Plant
1949: Rick Casares, Jefferson
1950: George Carnes, Plant
1951: Dickie Miller, Plant
1952: Billy Shields, Plant
1953: Charlie Gil, Plant
1954: Jimmy Dunn, Hillsborough
1955: Wayne Williamson, Jefferson
1956: Bill Encinosa, Plant
1957: Bob Mackenzie, Plant
1958: Mark Whitehead, Plant
1959: John Dent, Chamberlain
1960: Mac Farrington, Hillsborough
1961: John Whatley, Chamberlain
1962: Vernon Korhn, Plant
1963: Randy Smith, Robinson
1964: Larry Smith, Robinson
1965: Mark Ely, Plant
1966: Ralph Tate, King
1967: John Reaves, Robinson
1968: Danny Beltram, Hillsborough
1969: Gene Killian, Brandon
1970: Steve Walker, Robinson
1971: Alfred Pyles, Leto
1972: Mike Long, Robinson
1973: Dennis Lopez, Jefferson
1974: Mike Bolden, Leto
1975: Skipper Peek, Jesuit
1976: Alan Gray, Plant
1977: Edmund Clau-von Nelson, King
1978: Donald White, Chamberlain
1979: Doug Shields, Plant
1980: Pat O'Brien, Hillsborough
1981: Al Lopez III, Jesuit
1982: Terry Mallory, Chamberlain
1983: Joey Nicoletto, Chamberlain
1984: Richard Rennigner, Robinson
1985: Kirk Kirkpatrick, Brandon
1986: Trevor Weeks, Armwood
1987: Terry Jordan, Gaither
1988: Shane Law, Chamberlain
1989: Kirby Dar Dar, Jefferson
1990: Gary Moore, East Bay
1991: Brian Adcock, Chamberlain
1992: Brett Zinober, Berkeley Prep
1993: Cliff Dell, King
1994: Keith Newman, Jefferson
1995: Derrick Edmonds, Hillsborough
1996: Kenny Kelly, Tampa Catholic
1997: Mike Pearson, Armwood
1998: Gary Godsey, Jesuit
1999: Fred Reid, King
2000: Lydell Ross, Gaither
2001: Eddie Lee Ivery Jr., Chamberlain
2002: Andre Caldwell, Jefferson
2003: John Forbes, Alonso
2004: Kalvin Bailey, Armwood
2005: Marcello Trigg, Robinson
2006: Robert Marve, Plant
2007: Derek Winter, Plant
2008: Dontae Aycock, Chamberlain
2009: C. J. Bennett, Alonso
2010: Quentin Williams, Jefferson
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)