The nominees were Evan Wood of Alexander, Tre Mitchell of Chapel Hill, Ellis Richardson of Douglas County High, Joseph Ross of Lithia Springs and Mundarius Wright of New Manchester.
Coaches, athletic directors and principals of the five county schools were allowed to nominate one senior who is in good academic standing, had superior athletic performance, possesses outstanding leadership abilities and who they consider to be of good moral character.
Then, last week Douglas County Schools System Athletic Director Zach Spencer organized a meeting for the coaches, athletic directors and local sports media personnel to select this year’s recipient. Their choice will be announced at the winner’s school’s football banquet.
The Howard Thompson Trophy has been given annually since 1985 and is the highest countywide award any football player can receive in the Douglas school system. Since 2011, the award has been sponsored by Gable Sporting Goods.
During the meeting, each coach was given time to talk about why their nominated player should win, as well as show highlights of the nominee from this season’s games.
This season Wood played at the outside linebacker spot and played at quarterback for the last two games. At quarterback Wood had 315 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 130 passing yards and threw two touchdown passes. Head coach Matt Combs described Wood as a humble individual who never complained and led by example. Wood is first in his class of 392 students with a 4.0 GPA and a 29 on his ACT.
Mitchell, a running back, had 311 carries this season for 1,844 yards and 18 touchdowns. He had two games of more than 200 yards and one game of more than 300. He currently has a 2.87 GPA and head coach Geoff Pastrick said he is working hard to get it above 3.0 by graduation.
Richardson, a quarterback, racked up 1,610 passing yards, 485 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He is an International Baccalaureate student with a 3.1 GPA. Head coach Jason Respert described Richardson as hard working and coachable.
Ross played linebacker, strong safety and fullback this year. He delivered 119 tackles, 36 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and blocked two punts. He currently has a 3.12 GPA and is in the top third of his senior class. Head coach and 1989 trophy recipient, Scott Dean, described Ross as a knowledgeable player who gives 100 percent on every play.
Wright, a middle linebacker, was one of the team’s three seniors and described by head coach Rob Cleveland as the team’s best player, the only senior leader and a “stand-up guy.” Wright, this season, had 69 solo tackles, 29 assisted tackles, six tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks. He also has a 3.52 GPA and is active in several school clubs.