Joycelyne Fadojutimi and Kelly Bell

 

            The Big Pines Boys and Girls Club is setting up for its annual speakers’ series, and this year is above and beyond the norm. The guest speaker for 2017 will be Dallas Cowboys rookie sensation Dak Prescott. The Boys and Girls Club’s president and CEO Bryan Partee is like his young charges when it comes to meeting Prescott–he can hardly wait.

            “We are really excited about this event,” he said. “It’s not often you can get a person the caliber of Dak Prescott helping our organization, but it speaks volumes to what we are doing.”

            The Boys and Girls Club worked with an affiliate agency for Prescott, Pro Sports MVP, to set up the event. KLTV’s Delany Brey will serve as emcee, leading up to Prescott’s speech in which he will talk about his mother Peggy Prescott and the value of mentoring. This is the overriding objective of the Boys and Girls Club–to direct young minds onto the straight and narrow. Prescott will be an ideal mouthpiece for spreading this vital message. He and Brey will also have a question and answer session, and then Prescott will answer questions from the audience.

            Proceeds from the event will fund activities not only by the Big Pines Boys and Girls Club, but from Boys and Girls Clubs within a 225-mile radius. Clubs that will benefit from the program include those in Elysian Fields, Gladewater, Hallsville, Hughes Springs, Jefferson, Longview, Marshall, Mt. Pleasant, Ore City and Waskom. Partee is upbeat and enthusiastic about the event’s positive implications.

            “That’s the great thing about this event–it’s not proprietary, it’s global,” he said. “There are Cowboy fans in every community we serve and beyond. It is going to be a great event, but even better–every guest should know that they are empowering the club to change lives throughout East Texas.”

            The program will be held April 27 at LeTourneau University’s Belcher Center. For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.belchercenter.com/Community.html.

            After long-time starting Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo went down with a back injury in the NFL’s 2016 preseason, fourth-round draft pick Dak Prescott stepped in and made history, leading Dallas to a 13-3 regular season record and 10-0 versus non-divisional rivals. Setting records as he led his team past one surprised, frustrated opponent after another this youthful phenomenon took the Cowboys to the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers (a team they defeated during the regular season,) only to fall 34-31 to a last-second field goal. Still, it was a massive rebound from a 4-12 2015 season, and gives hope for a glittering future. Perhaps because he matriculated at a small school (Mississippi State) he was still available in the fourth round. Still, his schoolboy record should have given NFL scouts a clue to his infinite potential.

            A native of Sulphur, Louisiana, Prescott gave early indication of his pending gridiron greatness his senior season at Haughton High School. He completed 159 passes that 2011 season, and a whopping 39 of them were for touchdowns. Nothing changed when he moved on to Mississippi State.

            Starting for the Bulldogs for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons Prescott finished his college career holding all the school’s passing records–in 38 separate categories. He threw for 9376 yards and 70 touchdowns while still finding time to run for 2521 yards and 41 touchdowns. He resembles Roger Staubach and Randall Cunningham in how he combines stellar throwing and running ability. Not surprisingly, he raised many eyebrows in training camp, quickly catching the attention of head coach Jason Garrett and his offensive assistant coaches. For only the fourth time in franchise history a rookie started a regular season as quarterback, and the first one since 2001 when Quincy Carter briefly was first stringer.

            In week six of the 2016 season, Prescott set a league record by attempting his 176th consecutive pass without an interception. New England Patriot QB Tom Brady had held the old record at 162 in a row back in 2000-2001. Very few people have ever managed to break a record set by Brady. Prescott finished 2016 with a record eleven games with a quarterback rating of 100 or over. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks had held the old record of nine games, set in 2012. Prescott’s season-ending rating of 104.9 ranked him third in the 32-team NFL–best of any rookie in league history. His 67.78% pass completion average broke Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie record. Prescott set yet another rookie mark on December 18, 2016 in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he finished the day with an 88.9% completion average. The old rookie record in this category was set in 2013 when Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon achieved 87.0%. It was a season for the ages.

            Prescott finished his 2016 debut campaign with 3667 passing yards and 29 touchdowns versus just four interceptions. He also rushed for six TDs. It was no surprise when he was voted into the Pro Bowl and named the league’s Rookie of the Year for 2016, receiving 28 of 50 votes, beating rookie running back teammate Ezekiel Elliot by seven votes. Cowboy fans can hardly wait for next year.