Payton joins North-South All-Star football game

Published 5:01 pm Friday, April 15, 2016

One of Georgiana’s numerous college-bound student-athletes is set to play in this summer’s annual Alabama High School Athletic Association North-South All-Star Football game.

Senior Jacquez Payton  will grace the roster of the South team as a cornerback in this year’s game.

Payton was a standout member of a Panthers team that finished the regular season with a 9-1 record and made it to the third round of the state playoffs before falling to the Maplesville Red Devils 36-28.

Payton served the Panthers’ offense and defense as a quarterback, receiver, running back and cornerback, as well as a kickoff and punt returner.

Payton also signed to Jacksonville State University in February as a cornerback for the Gamecocks.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that the honor is not only huge for Payton, but for Georgiana in general.

“To be invited to any postseason thing is a credit to your talent and success,” Powell said. “Somebody other than us saw and noticed that he had talent, and thought he could help the South team, and he was selected.

“It reflects back on the things that we’re doing here, and hopefully it will help motivate other kids to let them know that they can do the same thing if they just continue to work at it.”

The 2015-2016 school year has been a watershed moment for Georgiana’s various athletic programs, given the Panthers’ historic football and basketball runs.

And though the year as a whole has been a cause for celebration, it’s also a bittersweet one from many coaches’ perspective, thanks to the exodus of senior talent leaving the school in May.

But Powell said that though Payton and others will be sorely missed, the seniors have planted seeds for a ripe future in Georgiana athletics.

“For me, it’s just a joyous occasion,” Powell said. “It’s just a credit to these kids and the amount of hard work that they put in.  Each and every one of them deserves what they’re receiving because they worked to receive it, and there’s a lot of other young kids that are looking at that now, and saying ‘that can be me.’

“That’s what I wanted these seniors to be—to be ambassadors, and show these younger kids that they’re capable of doing it if they continue to work.  And to see it happening the way it’s happening is exciting to me.”