Huskies football marks 'unbelievable' year

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Matt Hennesy, head football coach at Pawhuska High School, told a football awards program audience Jan. 20 that his 12-1 Huskies had “an unbelievable year.”

Hennesy clarified he wasn’t just talking about the playoff run to the state Class A semifinals. He was referring to the complications that COVID-19 brought to the football program, both in terms of playing circumstances and in terms of his players staying appropriately engaged in the classroom. He referred to “everything we’ve battled; everything we’ve gotten through.”

Hennesy paid particular tribute to the academic achievements of the players and other students (trainers, film staff, etc.) who participate in making Huskies football a success. He noted that 42 of 46 students in the program had grade-point averages from 3.0 to 4.0. Eleven had grade-point averages of 4.0.

“I don’t want to just talk about academics,” Hennesy said, adding that when all the excitement of athletic striving is over, academic success is critical to the whole-life success of the students.

The coach also told the awards program audience, gathered at the Agriculture Building at the Osage County Fairgrounds, he found it encouraging that the Pawhuska football program had transformed from one that was “so excited” to have a 6-win team that made the playoffs in 2018 to one that was really disappointed not to win the last game of the season and finish with a 12-1 record. The 2020 Huskies led the nation in scoring and only lost their state semifinal game by a point to a Cashion team that went on to win the title, Hennesy reminded the crowd.

He took heart from the fact that Huskies boosters were disappointed.

“Let’s don’t be good, let’s be great,” he exhorted his players, looking forward to the 2021 season. He encouraged them to play well enough “to be remembered forever.” The 2021 season will be the 109th in Pawhuska Huskies history.

Hennesy called on Superintendent David Cash to present the highest award given each year to a Huskies player, the Ormand Beach Award. Ormand Beach was an all-state fullback at PHS in the late 1920s, who went on to play at the University of Kansas. The PHS stadium is named for him. The award recipient is decided by a vote of the players.

The 2020 Huskies voted to give the Ormand Beach Award to their quarterback and team leader, Bryce Drummond, who was named overall Most Valuable Player in District A-5 for the 2020 season. Drummond completed 73 percent of his passes for 4,015 yards and 59 touchdowns as a senior. He was intercepted just six times.

Drummond, who has committed to play for North Texas University, has already completed his studies at PHS and started classes at North Texas. He was not able to be on hand for the award presentation, but his father, Ladd Drummond, accepted the Ormand Beach Award trophy on his behalf.