In close proximity to the field he gained notoriety as one of the state's premier football players, Robert C. Byrd's Mookie Mayer took home one final award.
Mayer, the standout linebacker-fullback, was honored with the Frank Loria Award as Harrison County's outstanding player by the Columbian Club.
Mayer, a three-year starter for the Eagles, was a first-team All-state selection and was an All-county recipient the past two seasons.
"I was really shocked," he said. "There were a lot of great players here (Monday). There were some 1,000-yard rushers and some other All-staters, so this was a big shock.
"Obviously, I wanted our team to go a little further than what it did, but as far as individual awards, this was probably one of my biggest goals."
Mayer helped lead Robert C. Byrd into the quarterfinals of the Class AAA playoffs, before being eliminated by eventual champ, Morgantown, 18-9.
Mayer was presented the award with new WVU coach Rich Rodriguez as the featured speaker of the event. WVU has expressed interest in Mayer to come as an invited walk-on, but Mayer plans to make visits to Fairmont State and Glenville State before making a commitment.
"Mookie was extremely deserving of this," Robert C. Byrd coach Richard Iaquinta said. "He was a leader the past three years and will be missed a lot. The big thing about Mookie is that he's led on and off the field for this team, and he'll be a player that's really missed next fall."
The dinner also honored all the members of the 2000 All-Harrison County football team. In addition, three other individual honors were presented. Bruce Carey, who guided Bridgeport to a 14-0 season and Class AA state title was honored as the Coach of the Year. Notre Dame's Sam Madia, who was a first-team All-county selection, was presented the Academic Athlete of the Year, and the Columbian Club recognized long time member Frank Secret as its Man of the Year.
The organization also made a special presentation to Bridgeport High School for winning three consecutive boys state championships. The Indians took the baseball title last spring, the football crown in December and the basketball championship Saturday.
"I remember being here last year and just thinking to myself, 'Man I'd like to have (the Frank Loria Award),'" Mayer said. "It sort of helped drive me. I've had a lot of great honors this year, and this is a great one."
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at email@example.com