Awards ceremony caps a ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience’ for the ACHS community
Just four days before graduation, the Anderson County High School football team gathered one last time to celebrate its 2022 Class 4A state championship.
The Mavericks culminated the best season in school history as they went 15-0 and were crowned champions after notching a comeback victory over Pearl-Cohn at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in December. The Mavericks overcame a 14-0 deficit to edge the Firebirds 34-30.
The Anderson County team, cheerleaders, dance team, coaches and administrators made the short trip to the Foundry at World’s Fair Park in Knoxville on May 16.
During dinner that consisted of chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, corn and macaroni and cheese, with a slice of chocolate cake for dessert, those associated with the ACHS football program, dance team and cheerleaders were treated to a highlight video, recapping the 2022 campaign. That included wins over Powell, Science Hill, Fulton, Rhea County, South-Doyle, Elizabethton, Carter, Gibbs, Bearden, Scott, Seymour, a second win over the Cyclones in the second round of the state playoffs, Greeneville, Red Bank and the Firebirds in the title tilt.
The final win of the campaign netted the Mavs their first state title in program history.
At the banquet, ACHS Head Coach Davey Gillum recognized the team’s all-region and all-state players before everyone received their 2022 state championship rings.
Gillum, who has guided the Mavericks to six consecutive conference titles, said that winning a state championship was a monumental accomplishment for the school.
“We’re already behind schedule (at the banquet, which was held on a stormy night in East Tennessee), but we’re not going to be in any hurry,” he said in his opening remarks. “What a run!
“This is a special group, and Anderson County is a special community with special people. So many kids stepped up in a big way.”
The Mavericks’ 2022 state championship was a long time coming.
“We’ve been in the upper echelon for a while,” Gillum said. “We’ve been close (before). We almost got there in 2009 and we almost made it in 2017 and 2018.”
The Mavs lost to Elizabethton in the second round in 2021. A second-round loss to the Greene Devils ended Anderson County’s season in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
ACHS avenged postseason losses to the Cyclones and the Greene Devils during its recent postseason run.
“It’s hard to win a state championship, and that’s what makes this group, this night so special,” Gillum said. “This night is also about and for all those players and all those teams that came before.
“I’m happy and humbled to be here. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We played in front of sellouts crowds everywhere we went. Every game was like nothing short of being in the Super Bowl.”