PHS Marching Mohawks Second in State Competition

Thursday, November 10, 2016
With their many trophies on display, the senior members of the PHS Marching Mohawk Band gathered for a group photo with their director Thursday night as Senior Night was marked at Parker Field. Those on hand included, from left: Madison Martin, Alyssa Bracken, Jillian Noles, Ally Taylor, Haylee Samples, David Barr, Alex Baber, Cody Horn, Caleb Higgins, Austin Magee, Mr. Jeremy Wortham, Sarah Wikowsky and Hayden Samples.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

Another chapter in the storied history of the Piggott High School Marching Mohawk Band was scripted last week, as the Pride of Clay County competed in the state's first-ever marching championship.

Under the direction of Jeremy Wortham, the band competed in the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association State Marching Championship at North Little Rock High School for AA and AAA bands. Meanwhile, the class AAAA/AAAAA competed at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. In all, there were 54 bands from around the state which competed throughout the day-long event at the two venues.

The various bands were classed according to the population of their high schools, with the Marching Mohawks ranked as AA.

And, coming off what has been a very successful marching season, the PHS band made a strong showing in the competition and took second place for the AA Division, second only to Prescott.

Overall, the band represented Clay County well, finishing 14th overall out of the 54 bands which competed.

This year's marching show was titled "A Pirate's Revenge," and took crowds on a journey to the mid 1600s, where a ship from the British Navy docks on an island in the Caribbean. The program tells the story of how commanders tell the island inhabitants the land is now the King's, and one day they will have to leave or be killed. They follow the plight of a man who is forced to flee for his life as his home, and family is destroyed, and he turns to piracy for revenge.

The Mohawk band presented "A Pirate's Revenge" in nine marching contests during the fall season, kicking things off on Sept. 24, at the Arlington Marching Invitational in Arlington, Tenn. Competing in the gold division, they took first place in color guard and drum major, took Class III Open, best color guard, were the second place band and earned an excellent rating and took the award for best overall effect.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the band marched in the Gibson County Marching Invitational, held in Dyer, Tenn., and took home third place band honors and an excellent rating.

They also marched on Saturday, Oct. 8, in the traditional Paragould/McDonald's Marching Invitational at Paragould High School, taking ninth place overall. In the Red Division they were Grand Champs, taking first place in Overall Effect and Overall Music and were Grand Champs in Class AA.

At the Forrest City Marching Invitational, held Oct. 15, the band competed in Class C and earned a Superior Rating. They also took first place in the Color Guard, Percussion, Drum Major, Band and Overall categories.

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the band traveled back to Paragould and took part in the Region V Marching Assessment at Paragould and earned a Superior Rating, which also secured them a spot in last week's state competition.

They followed up by competing in the Bandmasters Marching Invitational, held Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. This time the PHS band brought home an excellent rating as they finished in third place in Class A.

In addition to performing at Mohawk football games, the band tuned-up for the state competition by marching in the Dyer County Marching Invitational, held Oct. 29, in Newbern, Tenn. Competing in Class B, the Mohawks brought home first place honors in Drum Major and Percussion, second in Color Guard and first place band. In Division I they took second place for Drum Major.

At last week's State Marching Contest at North Little Rock they earned the state runner-up finish with a superior rating. First place went to Prescott, while the remainder of the bands in AA included Gurdon, Bismarck, Cotter, Glen Rose, Fouke, Jessieville and Magnet Cove. The winner in the AAA class was Arkadelphia, followed by Dardenelle, Pocahontas, Malvern, Harrisburg, Riverview, Gosnell, LR Christian, Ashdown, Dover, Pottsville, Mena, Stuttgart, Gravette, Berryville, Gentry, Ozark and Rivercrest. For the record, Paragould and Batesville took first and second in AAAA and Bentonville and Lake Hamilton were tops in AAAAA.

Director of Bands for Piggott High School, Jeremy Wortham, said he was very proud of his students for winning state runner-up. "The students worked extremely hard this year, and took the program to a level the school has never seen before," he surmised.

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