Adams Keynotes Mohawk Football Awards Gathering

Friday, January 18, 2019
Former Mohawk standout Gary Adams, slipping into his PHS letter jacket, was the featured speaker at the Mohawk football awards gathering.
Photo courtesy Frank Staples Photography

Members of the Mohawk football team were recognized with post season honors Saturday evening at PHS, as the annual awards gathering was held in the new gym. Serving as this year's keynote speaker was former Mohawk and Arkansas Razorback standout Gary Adams.

A native of the Carryville community, Adams was a key part of some of the greatest teams in Mohawk history. He will also be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in March, and was introduced by Joe Cole, who had nominated him for the honor and was key in garnering the needed votes.

Adams played quarterback for the undefeated Piggott Mohawk teams his junior and senior year. Starting as a sophomore, midway through the 1962 season, the Mohawks never lost a game after he was named the starting quarterback. Doubling as defensive back, Adams once intercepted five passes in the 1963 game against Marked Tree.

Following high school, he was an All-State selection and was selected to play quarterback for the East Team in the 1965 High School All Star Game, where he made the game-winning touchdown pass to future Razorback standout, Gordon McNulty.

In 1965, Adams worked-out at quarterback and returned punts during his freshman season at the University of Arkansas. In 1966 he moved to defense, and lettered as a Razorback from 1966 through 1968. He was also named as a first team All-Southwest Conference standout his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

As a sophomore, Adams led the Southwest Conference in interceptions with a total of seven in just that single season. His record is still tied for second overall for interceptions in a single season in the history of Razorback football. Two of those interceptions were in the fourth quarter against Texas, helping to seal a 12-7 Razorback victory over the Longhorns. He was named the Outstanding Sophomore Defensive Player of the Year in the Southwest Conference and also was named Honorable Mention All-American.

During his senior season in 1968, Adams was named defensive team captain of the Razorbacks, ending his time as a Hog with 13 career interceptions. At the time it stood as a school record, and today it remains the second highest career total in the University of Arkansas history, only surpassed by Steve Atwater’s 14 picks several years later.

During his career as a Razorback, the teams Adams played on compiled a 22-8-1 record; tied for the 1968 Southwest Conference title; and, defeated No. 4 Georgia in the 1969 Sugar Bowl. In 1969, Adams was selected to play in the All-American Bowl in Tampa, Fla.; and making the most of the exposure he was later drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 12th round of the 1969 NFL draft.

In the years since his playing career ended, he was named to the 1960’s All-Decade Team by the Arkansas Razorbacks, and was inducted into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor in 2011.

Adams served as the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame president in 2004, though he was never nominated for inclusion until last year. He will be inducted as a member of the Class of 2019 on March 19. Over the course of the past five decades, he has also enjoyed a very successful career in business, and continues to return to Piggott on a regular basis.

During his remarks to those attending, Adams shared a message of faith, family and hard work as he implored the young players to make the most of their opportunities. Donning his Mohawk letter jacket he talked about the importance of roots, and knowing where you come from. Later, he donned his Razorback letter sweater, sharing a point about humility and never being ashamed of who you are—regardless of the situation.

Adams closed with a story he had shared before, using a football analogy as he encouraged the young men to follow the Lord as they make their way toward life's goal line.

Afterward, Mohawk Head Football Coach Michael Harrell oversaw the distribution of honors to the members of the team, as he looked back on the recent campaign.

“I know you guys weren't happy with 6-5, but you got nothing to hang your heads about,” he said of the campaign which ended in the first round of the 3A state playoffs at McGehee.

Of the senior class he noted, “other than Prescott and McGehee, you guys beat everybody you played at least once—including Rivercrest, Osceola and Hoxie—twice.”

He noted the seniors of 2019 set a legacy for teams to come, racking up 22 wins over the three seasons.

The coach offered thanks to God, his family and those who support the football program. He also offered special thanks to his coaching staff of Shawn Hearn, Don Simmons and Will Daffron, and the dozens of volunteers who assist.

Harrell then introduced the seventh grade players, and junior high players, and handed out the postseason honors. This year's teammate award for the junior high team went to Nicky Risner while the Mr. Mohawk Award was presented to Logan White.

Harrell next introduced the members of the senior high team in attendance, and recognized those being honored. There were

The coaches of 3A-3 chose to honor nine members of the Piggott Mohawk football team with postseason honors, including one All-State and one All-State Honorable Mention.

Earning top honors as an All-State performer was senior running back/defensive back Gunner Shaw, who was also chosen All-Conference first team for the third year in a row. Shaw was also recognized for gaining over 1,000 yards rushing this past season for the Tribe, despite nagging injuries.

Meanwhile, senior quarterback/linebacker Trey Gossett was named All-Conference and received an All-State Honorable Mention for his play.

In addition to Shaw and Gossett, those chosen to the 3A-3 All-Conference first team were seniors Matthew Bowers, Luke Boyd, Luke Carpenter, Dylan Bellers and junior Dalton James. Meanwhile, two talented underclassmen were also recognized as junior running back Sky Wright and sophomore lineman Kyson Conley received honorable mentions.

Senior Jacob Scott was presented with the Mr. Mohawk Award for the past season, and senior Nick Maldanado, who was sidelined with an injury, was presented with the Teammate Award—earning high praise from the coach for his attitude and support.

Prior to closing, Harrell offered a preview of things to come for the squad as he noted, “things are really looking good for the future of Mohawk football.”

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