By SHERRY DIGMON
The Yellow Hat Society hosted a meet and greet and cook-out Saturday, April 9, for the Escambia County High School basketball team which went all the way to the state championship game in March. The event was held at Heritage Park.
The Rev. Kelvin Williams thanked God for this occasion in his opening prayer and prayed God’s continued blessing on the school and students.
Mayor Jim Staff said he had received comments about how well behaved the team members were as they progressed through the play-offs.
“Everybody bragged on our kids,” he said. Staff said the ECHS team showed class and represented Atmore and the school well.
He presented the coaches with a plaque – with a picture of the team and coaches – to be placed in the school’s trophy case.
The Rev. Willie Hawthorne offered his congratulations just prior to singing the National Anthem.
School board member Sherry Digmon, ECHS Class of 1969, spoke briefly about her pride and the community’s pride in this team and looking forward to future success.
ECHS Principal Amy Cabaniss thanked the community for their support for the team.
“Basketball was the great unifier,” she said, at a time when the team needed unity. In May 2021, the team’s head coach, John Shears, passed away. Cabaniss said the team and school wanted to honor Coach Shears, but also had to think about another coach. “We asked, ‘Who do we have to take that place?’ Layton Knight was the only man for that job.”
Head Coach Layton Knight talked about coming in as the first-year basketball coach, working with the coaching staff and team, the success this year, and making the sports program a priority.
“We’re fixing to get it back like it used to be,” he said. ” … We keep praying and we keep God first.”
The Yellow Hat members served lunch. Sheriff Heath Jackson and Deputy Larry Gross provided and fried fish at the park for the cook-out.