Prattville’s Carter wins FCA Leadership Award
By Tim Gayle
PRATTVILLE — Prattville High offensive lineman Daniel Carter became the seventh Lion to win the Willis Bradford Christian Leadership Award at the 31st annual Prattville YMCA-Fellowship of Christian Athletes Awards Banquet at the First United Methodist Church on Monday evening.
The awards banquet started as a way of honoring the senior athletes at each of the high schools in Autauga County and Prattville, but has evolved into an awards ceremony for Christian leadership at Prattville High, East Memorial Christian Academy, Prattville Christian Academy, Autaugaville, Billingsley, Marbury and Autauga Academy.
Each school selects a student-athlete for the Christian Leadership Award and the Willis Bradford Christian Leadership Award winner, named in honor of the longtime Prattville YMCA director, receives a $1,000 academic scholarship. Carter is the first Prattville High winner since Michael Forst in 2009.
“It is an outstanding privilege to be here with many people who have a common goal in life to serve God,” Carter said. “It’s truly a great community we have here. I’ve been blessed with wonderful parents and I thank God for that every day. My mom and my dad had a lot to do with where I am today and I thank them for that. But it takes more than that to raise a kid. I’ve had great teachers … great coaches and I really appreciate everything my parents, this community and God has done for me.”
The seven Christian leadership winners representing their respective schools were:
Autaugaville High’s Derrius Carroll, who played basketball, football and soccer for the Eagles and is the son of Carvietta Carroll.
Billingsley High’s Drayton DuBose, a football and baseball standout, who is the son of Christy Abbott.
Marbury High’s Michael Wurtz, the son of Joey and Carla Wurtz, who played baseball for the Bulldogs.
Carter, a football player for the Lions and the son of Chad and Lisa Carter.
Autauga Academy’s Bonnie Smith, a soccer and volleyball player as well as one of the student assistants for the football team, and the daughter of Cecil and Melanie Smith.
East Memorial’s Aaron Watkins, the son of Jerry and Dawn Watkins who played basketball, baseball and football and runs track.
Prattville Christian’s Peri LeeAnn Greene, the daughter of Jerry and Monica Greene who is a cheerleader, runs track and cross country and plays basketball, volleyball and soccer.
The featured speaker at the banquet was former Auburn punter Steven Clark, who punted for the Tigers as a freshman on the 2010 national championship team and as a senior on the team that reached the 2014 BCS National Championship Game.
Clark went undrafted in the spring of 2014 and returned to campus where he began to work with the local FCA chapter, which he called a turning point in his life. Before that work, he said his relationship with God was that “I knew him more like an uncle than a father.” He then compared the world’s religions to Christianity as he talked of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“The first thing is not what you would expect I would get,” Clark said. “God told me he was showing off. Look at all the other religions. Their leaders, their founders – Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius – whoever it is, they all have one thing in common. They’re all dead. Jesus Christ is the only one that is actually alive. So God is showing off in that. He puffs out his chest a little and says you all have a ton of good people in your religions, but guess what? The ones that serve me, their savior, their messiah, their prophet is alive and he is well. And he’s sitting with me.”
Clark goes on to describe himself as well as others in the Bible that may not be deserving but receive God’s blessing. “He’s trying to do that in our lives,” he added, “but not in the way we expect.”
In addition to the Christian leadership awards, each school can select up to five student-athletes for the YMCA-FCA Christian Leadership Circle. Those players were:
Autaugaville High School – Ferontay Cutler, Travon Mosely and Tekeria Powell
Billingsley High School – Madison Motley, Trinity Price, Landon Keith Reed, Larry Starks and Brannon Zaner
Marbury High School – Jay Haygens, Hayden “Jade” Ingram, Reagan Merrick, N’Seya Morrissette and Keyshawn J. Palmer
Prattville High School – Brandon Butts, Madison Chambliss, Claudia Yancey Harris, Wayne Matthew Howard II and Chappell Studdard
Autauga Academy – Madison Flowers, Luke Palmer, Ta’lyn Washington, Emma Wendland and Richard White
East Memorial Christian Academy – Sam Harris, Joseph Jones, Nathan Jordan, Mikayla Rawls and Haley Skipworth
Prattville Christian Academy – Tyler Bell, Lydia Ann Brackins, Rachel Stephenson, Keely Strength and Julie Bell Taylor
John Reynolds, a senior at Evangel Family Christian Academy, was honored with the T.O. McDowell Christian Leadership Award, which is presented to a person who has displayed the servant leadership through the YMCA and community activities.
Banquet organizers alsopaid tribute to the late Jimmy White, a Prattville High statistician and correspondent who covered the event for many years, by recognizing his wife Joy.