COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban took a break from getting his team ready for playoffs to attend the 8th annual SportsVisions Columbus Valley Area high school football awards luncheon.
Hundreds of people turned out for this luncheon to recognize the best coaches and student athletes from our area.
Saban who was honored as college coach of the year.
"I think it's certainly a privilege and an honor to get recognized and be a finalist in any of these awards that will be given tonight," Saban said. "I'm really proud of our players that we have and the way they went about their work this year. I'm really, really happy to see some of them getting recognized with All-American, All-SEC, and these type of awards."
He said he has a lot of gratitude and appreciation for what the players do and it's great to see them be recognized.
It's an awards kind of day for Saban, who spent the early afternoon in Columbus as the featured speaker at the SportsVisions High School Football Awards Luncheon at St. Luke's, with 20 local high schools had their teams' offensive and defensive players of the year recognized.
But the awards weren't just for the athletes and their coaches, News Leader 9's sports director Dave Platta was awarded the SportsVision Community Service award.
Let's talk about the awards.
Three different offensive player awards - all three worthy winners - Anthony Santiago of Calvary, Lorenzo Smothers of Marion County, and Jawon Pass of Carver; Essang Bassey of Columbus High was named the Defensive player of the year.
Northside kicker Nathan Robertson won for special teams, Brookstone quarterback Prather Hudson the scholar-athlete; Joseph McCay of Midland the Middle School player of the year.
Coach of the year recipient was Jamey Dubose of Central, and Pierre Coffey of Spencer and Columbus's Phil Marino were named the coaches on the rise.