By Josh Troy
All previous nominees and winners are invited to the 25th annual Ronald “Hoss” Bennett awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Pinnacle at Coahoma Community College. The Clarksdale Exchange Club oversees the “Hoss” Bennett awards. The award was named after Bennett, a longtime legendary Clarksdale High School football coach. Three seniors apiece from the Clarksdale High School, Coahoma County High School, and Lee Academy football teams are nominated to win the award.
After looking at all the nominees, one winner for each school is named.
One of the three school winners is then selected as the overall “Hoss” Bennett award winner. The overall winner is expected to receive $1,200 to help pay for college. The other two school winners are expected to receive $300 to help pay for college.
In past years, the overall winner received $1,000, and the other school winners received $250 each, but the scholarships have since increased.
The nominees are judged based on their athletic accomplishments, academic achievements, school spirit, and community involvement. The four categories are worth 25 points each, and the nominees who accumulate the most points are the winners for their schools.
“This is something that we’ve done for 25 years straight,” said Jim Herring, an Exchange Club member and emcee for the “Hoss” Bennett award ceremony. “This is a banquet to honor the best and the brightest for our three high schools. It was the brainchild of the late Marvin Carraway, James Ceranti and Don Green and began in 1999. Back then, we had four high schools.”
Coahoma Agricultural High School, which was later named Coahoma Early College High School, was also part of the “Hoss” Bennett awards until it closed.
The nominees for the 2023 “Hoss” Bennett award from each school are:
Clarksdale High School:
Quarterback and Defensive Back Kelley Jones, Defensive Tackle Cameron Mackey, and Defensive Tackle Cimmion Ross.
Coahoma County High School:
Outside Linebacker and Running Back Calvin Johnson and Defensive Back and Wide Receiver Markevious Thomas.
Center and Defensive End Luke Agostinelli, Outside Linebacker Justice Duraj, and Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Safety, and Quarterback Bryan Ray Jr.
The previous overall “Hoss” Bennett award winners are:
2007-Carl Pam Jr.
2004-John Landon Ruscoe
2002-Rip Fiser and Moses Sayles
Tickets to attend the “Hoss” Bennett banquet Thursday night are $10 at the door of the Pinnacle at CCC, and dinner is included.
Cutline: Longtime Clarksdale High School football coach Ronald’ Hoss’ Bennett, third from left, is at the 2022 awards ceremony.