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Demopolis gets state rings

The Demopolis High School football team got the moment for which it had long been waiting Monday night when the school hosted its state championship ring ceremony. The event kicked off at the high school gymnasium just before 7 p.m. when the River City Blue Marching Band performed the national anthem. Event organizers kept the fanfare to a minimum as Demopolis Quarterback Club President Kenny Freeman and Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson kept their opening remarks brief before handing the reigns over to DHS head coach and athletic director Tom Causey.

“Everybody said they wanted it quick,” Freeman said of the ceremony’s pace. “So that is the way we worked the scheduling out.” Running backs and assistant head coach Joey Browder called each player to the podium one by one in jersey order as Tom Causey greeted each with a handshake and a smile while presenting the rings.

“It was nice knowing all the work that they’d done for this season, that they got a reward for it,” Causey said. Of the 77 players on the team, Causey said two groups in particular stood out in his mind.

“The kids who were first year players this year, for some reason, really stuck out to me,” he said before turning his attention to the team’s seniors. “To see those seniors who had been on teams that were contenders every year finally get a chance to win it all was nice.”

“From where I was sitting, I was seeing their faces as they walked up to get (their rings) and, by the looks on their faces, they’ll be going after (the Class 5A state championship) again next year,” Freeman said. The ring ceremony represented not only the first Class 5A state title for Demopolis High, but also the first state championship Causey has celebrated as a head coach.

“The coaches we got, there’s not a better coaching staff in the state in my opinion,” Freeman said. “I just hope we can keep them together.” The ceremony also marked the unofficial end to the 2009 season, clearing the way for Causey, his staff and his returning players to focus entirely on its forthcoming 2010 campaign.

“Our offseason program has been really, really good to this point,” Causey said. “I think something like this gives our seniors a little closure and gives our young guys something to work for next year.”