West Greene reels in Bobby Dodd Award

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY--A great football season for the West Greene football team got even better on Monday night.
   The Buffaloes, who have enjoyed a breakout 6-4 season in 2002, took home the Bobby Dodd Sportsmanship Award during the Region I Officials Banquet at the Holiday Inn.
   The award goes to the team in Northeast Tennessee that displays the best sportsmanship on the football field.
   "This typifies what we're trying to do at West Greene," Buffalo head coach Barry Carter said. "We're trying to be a good football team, and we're trying to do things right, too. We're trying to be good sports about what we are doing. We're trying to show a lot of character, a lot of class, and we're going out and playing hard.
   "I'm proud of the guys. We've got a great group of guys who have earned this, and I can't wait to get back and tell them about it."
   The Buffaloes have definitely turned things around this season, but they have done it in a classy way.
   Carter says sportsmanship and winning go hand in hand.
   "It's part of being a good football team, and being a good football program," he said. "You know you're going to have to play hard, but you're going to play clean. We're going to knock you down, then we're going to help you up, then we're going to try and knock you down again.
   The Ralph Stout Sportsmanship Awards were given out for each conference. And even though no school from our coverage area took home the hardware, there were several deserving programs that did.
   Cosby won the award in the Watauga Valley, West Greene took home top honors in the Watauga, Daniel Boone won in the Mountain Lakes, Cherokee was tops in the I-MAC and the Science Hill Hilltoppers were the sportsmanship award winners in the Big East.
   The man that the award is named after is very familiar to people in these parts. Stout is a Mountain City resident, and he was honored for his 56 years of service to the TSSAA.
   The guest speaker on the evening was a former Super Bowl Champion. NFL great Carroll Dale spoke briefly about life in the NFL.
   Dale played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1960-64, the Green Bay Packers from 1965-72, and closed out his career in 1973 with the Minnesota Vikings.
   Dale is still very involved in sports, as he is the athletic director at UVA-Wise.
   The standout moments of Dale's career came in Green Bay, the place where he won four NFL Championships. Two of those championships included the first two Super Bowls.
   Dale, who played his college football at Virginia Tech, finished his career with 438 receptions for a total of 8,277 yards and 52 touchdowns.
   Dale became Bart Starr's favorite target at Green Bay, and Starr became one of Dale's best friends.
   "Bart Starr was and is a great man and a great human being," Dale said.
   Dale also talked about playing for Vince Lombardi, who might just be the greatest coach in the history of the NFL.
   "He was fair, demanding, and not too many of us wanted to be chewed out by him," Dale said. "When he talked to you, there was only one answer, and that was yes sir. If you said something different, you would be chewed out."
   Dale had a special message for all the officials in the audience.
   "I appreciate you guys for doing this job," Dale said. "I'm proud of you and what you stand for."