KINGWOOD — Despite a 48-0 loss to No. 3-ranked University High, Preston found solace in celebrating Senior Night on Oct. 20.
Twenty-two seniors were honored at halftime at Knights Stadium, including 16 football players.
“They’re a good group of kids, and they’ve done a good job of leading this team,” Preston coach Jonathan Tennant said.
“They’ve been in some tough situations, but I’m really proud to see how they’ve responded.”
Tennant said it will be tough to see the kids leave the program.
“Every end-of-the-year senior game, it’s very difficult, especially with those kids that have been with us for four years,” Tennant said.
“They grow up right before your very eyes, and that’s one of the reasons why I coach, is to be a part of that.”
Tennant also said that his seniors were a high-class group of young men.
“They’re a very high-character, hard-working group of kids,” he said.
For senior tight end and linebacker Jaron “Pig” Summers, it was an honor to be recognized on Senior Night and to lead his teammates as an upperclassman.
“It means a lot,” Summers said. “You take up a lot of responsibilities and make a lot of sacrifices.”
In the end, though, he believes it’s more about the connections made and the experience of the ride.
“I think the biggest thing is the friends made along the way, and the memories you’re not going to forget on this field,” he said.
Summers is also a member of the Preston lacrosse and wrestling teams, and he plans to study either athletic training or physical therapy in college.
Fellow Knights senior Blake Miller, an offensive lineman and linebacker, shared Summers’ sentiments.
“My friends and just the bonds we’ve made here over the past four years,” Miller said of what he’ll miss most about Preston High.
“Everything we’ve put into this football program, I’m going to miss that.”
Miller, a member of the Knights’ wrestling squad, plans to attend college to become a math teacher and aims to be a wrestling coach in the future.
Senior linebacker and wide receiver Caleb Gribble is happy that his teammates and fellow seniors are able to face such challenges and progress.
“We faced adversity right in the face,” Gribble said. “We’ve gotten better since the previous week, and our tackling has gotten better. It’s just a process.”
Gribble has played football since first grade and says he plays to represent his loved ones in the community.
Gribble is also a member of the wrestling team and looks to head to the United States Marine Corps after high school.
Senior defensive back and quarterback Dakota Holt said Senior Night makes him proud to have made it this far.
“It’s always been my dream to make it to this point,” he said.
“Just to make it through four years, maybe get a scholarship or something.”
Holt said the biggest thing for him is just to represent Preston and the surrounding community.
“I love Preston High School,” Holt said. “It’s been good to me, and I’ve been good to it. I respect the school, and I respect the people. It feels amazing to be able to take this field.”
Holt is talking to schools such as Beloit College (Ill.), WVU and Alderson Broaddus for football and lacrosse. He plans to earn a degree in athletic training or sports therapy.
Other seniors honored on the football team include Chase Born, Anthony Chandler, Robbie Clarkson, Kyle Dalton, Jeremy Hovatter, Tucker Knisell, Jat Maria, Justin Moats, David Reckart, Christian Ryan, Ryan Sigley and Branson Tasker.
Other seniors recognized were football trainers Courtney Christopher and Gracie Favro, cheerleaders Tori DeWitt and Lexi Goodwin, and golfers Matthew Allen and Jake Livengood.