The athletic banquet is where, at the end of a long and grueling school year, everyone gets together to feel proud of one another.

Such was the case on Thursday night at the Laurens Academy Varsity Athletic Banquet at Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church.

Head football coach Todd Kirk was talking about his team, but he could have been talking about most of them when he said, “The feeling I have about this team is one of the best I’ve ever had.”

The Crusaders’ 7-man team went 3-7, but it had been 1-9 in the previous two seasons.

“I think we’re headed up again,” Kirk said.

LA needed only seven football players at a time, but they only had 13.

“You’d be surprised to know how quickly you can wear out 13 guys in the hot sun,” Kirk said.

Laurens Academy won SCISA Class A state championships in two girls’ sports, basketball and cross country. Jason Marlett’s basketball team has won it two years in a row and advanced to the finals three straight.

Sixteen girls and 12 boys combined to win 38 school awards. Thomas Lowry and Blair Quarles each won three. Ruthie Moore won two, but they were both MVPs, in basketball and volleyball. Noah Moore, Diamonte Grant, Dawson Foster and Jonas Smith also won two, as did Florence Mitchell.

The twin seniors, Ruthie and Noah Moore, are both headed to Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga., and they will be difficult to replace. Both led strong basketball teams. Both were exceptional in other sports.

Ruthie Moore won about every basketball award imaginable: Miss Basketball in SCISA, all-county, all-region, all-state, county player of the year, region player of the year and state player of the year.

The four seniors on Marlett’s basketball team were 106-17 overall, 36-2 in region, 7-1 in region tournaments and 12-2 in state tournaments.

Athletics director Travis Plowden said, “I think the future of all our teams is good.”

BOYS

FOOTBALL – MVP: Thomas Lowry; Defensive MVP: Diamonte Grant; Offensive MVP: Charlton McCall; Coaches’ Award: Reles Littleton.

BASKETBALL – Offensive MVP: Noah Moore; Defensive MVP: Dawson Foster; Comeback Award: Diamonte Grant; Toughness Award: Thomas Lowry.

BASEBALL – MVP: Dawson Foster; Defensive MVP: Thomas Lowry; Offensive MVP: Cal Robertson; Coaches’ Award: Noah Moore.

SPORTING CLAYS – Most Improved: Hunter Mullinax; Coaches’ Award: Jonas Smith.

CROSS COUNTRY – Co-MVPs: Andrew Codington, Jonas Smith; Most Improved: Caleb Howard; Coaches’ Award: Devin Sampson.

GIRLS

VOLLEYBALL – MVP: Ruthie Moore; Hustle Award: Katelyn Suttles; Ecclesiastes 4:12 Award: Florence Mitchell; Coaches’ Award: Kinsley Atkins.

BASKETBALL – MVP: Ruthie Moore; Coaches’ Award: Reagan Williamson; TNT Award: Florence Mitchell; Coaches’ Award: Blair Quarles.

SPORTING CLAYS – Highest Average: Lindsey Burroughs.

CROSS COUNTRY – Co-MVPs: Audrey Noffz, Blair Quarles; Most Improved: Ivy Codington; Coaches’ Award: Penelope Kerber.

CHEER – Most Spirited: Kerington Armstrong; Most Dedicated: Brantley Armstrong; Most Improved: Callie Meyerholtz.

SOFTBALL – Crusader Award: Mattie Grace Noffz; Golden Glove: Hannah Stribling; Slugger Award: Blair Quarles; True Grit Award: Julia Katherine Marlett.