Buccaneers Cowboys Football

Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will be the special guest for the Aiken Standard's 2019 Best of Prep Sports awards banquet on May 24. Tickets for the event go on sale March 18.

In preparation for the second Best of Prep Sports banquet on Friday, May 24, at USC Aiken Convocation Center, we compiled a collectible program for the event. Recapping some of the outstanding athletic performances from Aiken, Barnwell and Edgefield counties was a morale boost for the staff. It is outstanding to see the level of talent in our area. We’ll share the sports highlights compilation with Aiken Standard readers in the newspaper this week and then announce winners in their individual sports Friday night.

In addition to the North Augusta High School girls basketball team and their three-peat basketball state championship, the South Aiken High School girls soccer team won a championship in dominant fashion and Midland Valley’s baseball team played in the championship series.

There were also several individual championship performances. Midland Valley’s Tez’Waun Starlings won a state championship in the long jump with a personal best record. Maggie Massey took home the championship in the Class 3A 400 hurdles and Wagener-Salley’s Key’Asia Dunbar won the Class 1A shot put. On the golf course, Fox Creek’s Colin Trahan shot a final round 67 to win the Class 2A individual state championship.

The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star communities support athletics in a big way. Yesterday at the Aiken Kids Triathlon, we saw firsthand that athletic prowess begins early and comes naturally to many. And don’t undervalue that supportive parents and opportunities like the Aiken Kids Triathlon are essential for young people. Star student athletes rise in just about every sport. One of our area’s finest came out of Silver Bluff High School and is now one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive players in the league and the highest paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawrence.

We are proud to bring DeMarcus Lawrence to the center stage in Aiken County at the Best of Prep Sports banquet and know his positive message will resonate with our top local athletes.

DeMarcus Lawrence can relate to our local high school athletes. He knows that playing for "America’s Team" is a long way from his native New Ellenton; the lights shine brighter and the pressure multiplies when headlining on a national stage. From Silver Bluff to Boise State University where he was twice named All-Conference, to the Cowboys where he’s earned All-Pro honors twice and finished back-to-back seasons with double-digit sack totals. He’s only 27 but he’s already racked up more accolades than many players have at the end of their careers.

“There’s no one better to help us recognize the Aiken area's top athletes than DeMarcus Lawrence; he is excelling at the top level of football right now,” said Rhonda Overbey, publisher of the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. “Just like you, we’re big fans of DeMarcus Lawrence. We follow our students after they leave Aiken County and are thrilled when they shine. I have a feeling our readers will see some of the students recognized Friday night in our newspapers for many years to come. It’s an outstanding group with a lot of superstars.”

At the Best of Prep Sports event, awards will be given to the top male and female athletes in all sports covered by the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star newspapers. There will also be an award for Overall Athlete of the Year, Team of The Year and a few special categories.

Tickets for the event are on sale and can be purchased online at convotix.usca.edu. VIP tickets, which include a meet and greet and autograph signing with Lawrence after the event are $25. General admission tickets are $15.​ We hope you'll join us this Friday night.