Two Franklin County Seahawks are headed to the college football ranks, after each signed a four-year athletic scholarship deal Monday morning at a joyous celebration in the high school gym.
At a ceremony conducted by Seahawks Coach Aaron York, and flanked by the entire football coaching staff, senior Alex Causey, who will graduate May 29, and Chase Golden, a 2013 Franklin County High School grad, each signed commitments to their respective colleges
Causey, last season’s offensive most valuable player for the Seahawks, is headed west to Louisiana College, York’s alma mater, where he is expected to play slot receiver for the Div. III Wildcats, the second winningest team in Louisiana.
Golden will be going south to Lake Wales, to play offensive lineman for the Warner University Royals, a program now in its third year playing in the Sun Conference of the NAIA.
“It’s a reflection of your school, your community, and who they’re in contact with, their families,” said York.
He said the first thing coaches ask him, when they’re scouting a potential recruit, is “tell me about the kid’s character.” Following that, the coaches want to know about the student’s grades and test scores, and only after that, do they look carefully at the young student’s athleticism, and ask to see their game films.
In both Causey and Golden’s cases, their game films speak for themselves. The 6’2” 300-pound Golden was a standout on both sides of the ball, and played both basketball and baseball. After graduation, he worked last season as a volunteer assistant coach for York. He plans to major in physical education, to eventually be a football coach.
Causey, a rightfielder for Hawks’ baseball, and a wingman and fullback for the soccer team, excelled as running back, receiver and punter for the Seahawks, as well as defensive end and linebacker. As a young man he played football in middle school, but sat out his high school years before returning last fall to play for York.
The 5’9” 185-pounder runs a 4.5 second 40-yard dash, and is expected to be redshirted as a freshman as he buffs up for college play. He plans to major in sports medicine.
He said he was impressed with Louisiana College when he paid a visit with his parents over President’s Day weekend. On a tour with the health of the health and physical education program, he had a chance to meet the college president.
York said the football program competes year after a year to win the America Southwest Conference, and will square off against some of the finest small college teams in Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Georgia.
In Golden’s case, he may see playing time next year under the scheme of offensive coordination Jared Powers, with the Royals facing several Div. I-AA schools. On the schedule next year is a date against Florida Tech, where former Seahawk Dalin Modican is a standout wide receiver.
“This could be you some day,” York encouraged the audience of high school students, before introducing Causey and Golden to much applause.
“Well, we did it,” said Causey, who thanks his parents and God. “Anybody can do this if they work hard at it. Do what you gotta do; do the work.”
York said he started “doing a happy dance” in his office when he learned that Causey had bumped up his college prep test score, giving him a chance to qualify for a better scholarship offer.
Senior Pastor Ronnie Luke, of the Eastpoint Church of God, offered extended remarks at the ceremony, focusing on a recipe for success.
“Moments like this don’t just happen,” he said. “It takes three things - - faith, patience and endurance.”
He reflected on his own growing up in the turbulent 60s, when “things were much different then.”
He said it is important “not just to have faith in yourself, but you have to have somebody who believes in you.
“The one who wins is the one who endures,” he said. Do you have what it takes to endure to the end?” he asked.
He noted the terrain of the Boston Marathon, where the most difficult part is in the second half. “It’s when you get to the point when your body’s exhausted that the race turns uphill,” he said. “Who has the patience to keep on keeping on? It’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get up.”
Luke reminded the two athletes that challenges await them in college, especially balancing academic work with the demands of the game.
“You got to do all the physical work, and then when you come back, the books are still on the table,” he said. “We all run in life to win a crown. This is a crowning achievement in their lives.”
York thanked Superintendent Nina Marks, Principal Eric Bidwell, Athletic Director Michael Sweatt, all his fellow coaches, the teachers and staff, and all the families for their support of the young student-athletes. Afterwards, the families enjoyed a cake baked in honor of signing day.