Seahawks will honor Whitney, Jones|Southside, Pamlico to play in Fossil Bowl

Published 3:25 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2009

By Staff
Kevin Travis, Sports Editor
CHOCOWINITY — Emotions will certainly be high when the Southside Seahawks hit the football field this Friday night.
The Seahawks will take on the Pamlico Hurricanes in the first Fossil Bowl.
Southside will pay tribute to former standout Neal Whitney, the 2006 WDN Defensive Player of the Year who was tragically killed Saturday morning. Southside will also pay tribute to Ayden Jones, the four-month old son of former assistant coach Jeremy Jones and Lindsay Jones, at the game.
Southside coach David Hines said it’s obviously been an emotional, trying time with the Seahawk family.
“Who knew Friday night, as we left the game (at Creswell), how things would go,” Hines said.
“We were on an emotional high dealing with (Ayden’s) funeral the day before, and then we played a good game. To get that call early Saturday morning was tough.
“A lot of our guys were close with Neal. It’s hard to fathom as an adult going through this; it’s even harder to think about it as a teenager. Those emotions will definitely be there with the moment of silence for both Neal and Ayden.”
Senior receiver/defensive back Willie Ruffin, who lived near Whitney, took the news of Whitney’s loss hard.
“He was like another brother,” Ruffin said. “I felt crushed when I first heard it.
“I have to fight for him and stay strong for him.”
The Seahawks are hoping to put No. 66 stickers (Whitney’s jersey number) on their helmets. The team is also hoping to have something painted on or near the field.
A moment of silence will be held prior to kickoff.
“I think it’s a classy thing to do,” Hines said. “We’re looking at other ways to put them out there the rest of the season. That’s something we can rally around.
“Any way we can honor them the rest of the season, that’s what we’re going to do.”
As for the game itself, the winner of Friday’s Fossil Bowl will earn a plaque. Hines is excited to kick off the new bowl this Friday.
“I think it’s pretty cool to be a part of something like that,” Hines said. “I think the kids will really get into it. I think it’s something that will get our guys up and I think it’s something that will get their guys up. It’s just something to add to the game each year we play them. Now there’s something even more to play for.”
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
It will be Military Appreciation Night at Southside High School.
Anyone with a military ID gets in free. Simply show your pass to the person at the gate for admittance.
The Neal Whitney Memorial Fund has been established at First South Bank.
Those wishing to contribute to the fund may stop in at any First South Bank, or may mail a donation in care of the Neal Whitney Memorial Fund, to PO Box 279, Chocowinity, NC 27817.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ayden Brooks Jones Scholarship Fund, in care of Christ’s Church, 745 Davenport Farm Road, Winterville, NC 28590