When the evening was done, Tionna Williams hefted the Glass Spike Award and made an observation others before her no doubt have made, too.
Its a lot heavier than I thought, she said.
Didnt keep her, or her school, from soaring.
On a night with a distinct theme to it, Concordia swept the podium at the 2013 Football/Volleyball Awards Program, sponsored by The Journal Gazette and SportONE Ortho Northeast. Williams, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter, won the Glass Spike emblematic of the top volleyball player in the SAC; her coach, Trish Miller, was named conference Coach of the Year; Concordia quarterback David Morrison won the 22nd Euell A. Wilson Award as the SACs top senior football player; and Morrisons coach, Tim Mannigel, was named conference Coach of the Year.
Youre not gonna see something like this very often, said Mannigel, who coached the Cadets to a 9-4 record and a sectional title after going 2-8, 1-9 and 1-9 the previous three seasons. Its a neat thing for us and for the school.
That was surely true for Williams and Morrison. Both led their teams to seasons they could only have hoped for back in the dog days of August; while the football team won more than twice as many games as it had the previous three seasons combined, the volleyball team advanced all the way to the 3A state championship match.
Theres always that thought in the back of your mind, but honestly coming into it I knew what we were capable of, said Williams, who was named to the 3A All-State team after racking up 526 kills, 291 digs and 90 blocks. I didnt want anything less than state. That was always the goal.
Morrison, who heads to Ball State next year after completing 238 of 377 passes for 3,412 yards and 29 touchdowns this fall, was similarly driven.
It was such fun to be a part of, he said. You know, we had our rough patches early in our careers, but it was a good group of seniors I was able to play with, and it was an awesome time. The memories are gonna last forever, and Im really proud of what we were able to accomplish.
So was his coach.
From his junior year to his senior year, we needed him to, and he really kind of took charge of the team, in a really positive way, Mannigel said. We lost some good receivers this past summer, and we had some guys who were not as experienced. And David was very calm with them when they didnt do things quite right the first. This is an odd word to use, but he was almost nurturing. And that was huge for us.
Especially given the struggles of the previous three autumns.
It made me really hungry, Morrison said of that. I knew I had the capability to make it happen, so that just made me push harder in the offseason. I really pushed to be the player I thought that I could be.