By John R. Schirmer
Senior quarterback Leonard Snell was named the Most Valuable Player on the 2015 Nashville Scrapper Class 4A state championship team Saturday night at the conclusion of the Rotary Football Banquet.
Snell received All-District and All-State honors and was named to the West team for this summer’s Arkansas All-Star game in Conway. He scored all 6 of Nashville’s touchdowns in the 39-20 victory over Prairie Grove in the state championship game at Little Rock Dec. 12, a state record, and was named MVP of the finals.
Rotary Club President Dr. Glenn Lance made the MVP presentation, which wrapped up a night of accolades for the Scrappers.
Coaches presented position awards, and Coach Mike Volarvich presented a highlight video and recapped the season
The banquet was held at the new cafeteria at Nashville High School.
Coaches’ awards included the following:
Outstanding Defensive Back – Shaundell Scott. Coach Brian Bearden said Scott started every game and led the defensive backs in tackles and interceptions. “He was a very consistent performer for us,” Bearden said.
Linebacker of the Year – Ashton Nelson. Coach Brad Chesshir said Nelson recorded 122 tackles and recovered 4 fumbles during the season. He made 11 tackles in the state finals.
Defensive Lineman of the Year – Billy Stewart. Chesshir said Stewart made 110 tackles during the season. He had 24 sacks, making him second in the state all-time for sacks in a single season.
Offensive Lineman of the Year – Kirby Adcock. Coach D.J. Graham called Adcock the best in the state. Adcock received the Burlsworth Award at the state championship game.
Wide Receiver of the Year – Trey Hughes. Coach Nick Evans said Hughes made 33 receptions for 700 yards and 8 touchdowns. Hughes was selected for the All-Star game.
Offensive Back of the Year – Leonard Snell. Coach Mike Volarvich reviewed some of Snell’s accomplishments in addition to the MVP selection. He was the District 7-4A Back of the Year, was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd after the Watson Chapel game, was named Wendy’s high school Football Player of the Year and was selected as the Outstanding Offensive Player in Class 4A by Farm Bureau and Hooten’s Arkansas Football.
Special Teams Players of the Year – Gabe Moorer and Terell Grundy. Chesshir said the three phases of the game include offense, defense and special teams. “Our two players of the year showed an uncommon kind of player on special teams.” Grundy was “the first down the field on kickoffs,” Chesshir said. Moorer kicked a school-record 68-yard punt in the state championship game.
Practice Players of the Year – Mace Green defense, Curtis Myers offense. “They exemplify what we want every day,” Volarvich said.
Permanent Team Captains – Ashton Nelson and Winland Ogden. “It was very close voting,” Volarvich said. “We had two who exemplified Permanent Team Captains, players who always do the right thing.”
Volarvich reviewed the team’s All-District and All-State selections.
Coaches introduced each of their players during the banquet. They presented plaques to their seniors and discussed some of their career highlights.
Seniors include Lee Scroggins, Billy Stewart, Leonard Snell, Charles Furr, Trey Hughes, Andrew Hawthorne, Shaundell Scott, De’Ajeon Armstrong, Ignacio Perez, Noah Nolte, Terell Grundy, Fidel Berruquin, Ashton Nelson, La’Darius Daniel, Sergio Pacheco, Curtis Myers, Troy Thomas, Dante Conway, Ty Slider, Joel Thurman, Winland Ogden, Devalon Crutchfield and Bailey Hile.
Volarvich recounted his selection as head coach and looked back at the 15-0 season.
“One year ago tomorrow, I was hired. I had been at Henderson State University 5 years and had coached in college 16 years. It never crossed my mind to coach high school ball before the opportunity to coach here arose.”
Volarvich said that when he arrived in Nashvile, “I didn’t know many players or coaches. I had goals and used the Pyramid of Success. The state title was at the top, but there were other things to do first. We started with team, 100 percent, be the most excited to play, finish. These correlate to life.”
The team completed off-season and spring football, then entered a summer that was “a little different than in the past. We picked 6 leaders by secret ballot based on who’s accountable, who’s the hardest worker” and other factors.
Those leaders “drafted their teams. Players could make points or be docked points,” Volarvich said.
Fall camp began with a focus on attitude, chemistry, family and accountability, according to Volarvich.
The season ended at War Memorial Stadium with a state championship and a 15-0 record. “We were the only 15-0 team in the state. This was only the second time in school history to be 15-0,” Volarvich said.
The Scrapper defense gave up only 266 yard per game, including 168 passing and 98 rushing. Nashville was third in the state in sacks with 43.
The offense was first in scoring with 637 points. The Scrappers set a school record for total offense and were second in the state. They were fourth all-time in rushing touchdowns in Arkansas, according to Volarvich. Other accomplishments included eight all-time in the state in plays, first in rushing, third in PATs, fourth in kick scoring, sixth in punting average. Moorer’s 68-yarder was the third longest in the state.
Volarvich recognized the junior high and high school coaches. “These guys have done a great job. All Nashville teams were undefeated this season,” from seventh grade through senior high.
He thanked the coaches’ wives. “It takes a special individual to be a coach’s wife,” Volarvich said before mentioning his wife, Lauren.
“In 11 years that Lauren and I have been married, I’ve had 6 jobs in 3 different states. Our 3 children were born in 2 states with 3 different doctors,” Volarvich said. “She always told me that I recruited her. She said I promised summers off and I’d be home every day at 3 p.m. She’s the best recruiting job I’ve ever done.”
Volarvich introduced the Scrapper cheerleaders and Homecoming royalty. He recognized the ball boys and managers.
Volarvich thanked the Scrapper Moms for their work throughout the season, and he recognized those who decorated for the banquet.