On Friday afternoon at the MAIS Football All-Star Game, Benton Academy headmaster Steve Flemming and head football coach Kenny Burton officially accepted the 2017 Barefield/Rice Sportsmanship Award on behalf of the school.
The Barefield/Rice Sportsmanship Award is presented to the Region 4 MAIS school that best demonstrates sportsmanship, compliance with the MAIS guidelines, and conduct of all aspects related to game management during each year’s football season.
Sportsmanship and respect were two of the things that Flemming was focused on when he took the job at Benton Academy.
“When I first got here, and I don’t mean this is a shot at anyone, I wanted to make sure all the teachers, coaches, and players were respectful,” Flemming said. “I want them to act with class, and I think we’ve exemplified that.”
Flemming has been thrilled with how his coaching staff has handled the players and how they have acted with class throughout the season.
“Our coaches have done a great job with that, and they’ve transferred that along to the players,” Flemming said. “When your coaches are acting up on the sidelines, it incites the players and the crowd. We have a group of coaches who have been in this business for a long time, and they do things the right way.”
Burton was equally pleased with how well his school has been received by others.
“I think it just goes to show how well our school does with communication,” Burton said. “We worked well with the officials, and our kids played good, clean ball. I think that’s all you can ask for.”
Along with a plaque, Benton Academy also received a $2,000 check to be used for the football program.
That is music to Burton’s ears, as he has already begun making a list of things he would like to see done.
“We’re making a list of things we want to have done, but we’re not exactly sure where the money is going yet,” Burton said. “It could go from anything equipment to a 25-second clock to another fence and anywhere in-between.”