Celebrating four Pea Ridge High School senior athletes, their peers, teachers, coaches and families gathered in Blackhawk gym Wednesday, Feb. 7, to watch each sign letters of intent to accept scholarships play college football.
Head Blackhawk football coach Stephen Neal said three of the four young men spent their entire school careers representing the school, the program, the community across the region and the state.
"What these four young men and their families have done for this community cannot be put into words," Neal said. "Our core value states that the choices you make off the field will determine your success on the field and these families are direct evidence of that philosophy."
Drew Winn signed with Pittsburg State in Pittsburg, Kan. Son of Dickie Winn and Kristi Walker, Winn is the the youngest of three brothers (Dayton and Dakota) who starred for the Blackhawks. He set the single season rushing record with 2,285 yards as well as the single season scoring record by racking up 32 touchdowns in 2017. He was named the Northwest Arkansas Division II Player of the Year as well as making the Arkansas 4A All-State team.
Winn, a three-year starter, in the past two years had 400 rushes for 3,671 yards; 32 pass receptions for 373 yards; 55 rushing touchdowns; 1 touchdown reception; 56 total touchdowns; 75 defensive tackles; eight interceptions; was two-time All-Conference player; 2017 All-State player; 2017 KURM Dream Team; finalist for Hooten's 4A Offensive Player of the Year; Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette's first team offense and 2017 Offensive Player of the Year; Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club's 2017 Offensive Player of the Year and running back of the year; 2017 All-USA Arkansas Team.
"I'm really excited to get to college and see what it's like," Winn said. "I'm looking forward to making my family and community proud."
"I hope to grow as a person and a a player," Winn said, adding that he selected Pittsburg State because he liked the coaches and the facility. He plans to major in business.
Jakota Sainsbury and Hayden Holtgrewe both accepted offers from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia.
Sainsbury, son of John and Bobbi Sainsbury, completed most of his passes this season, hitting 167 of 269 attempts to rack up 2,419 yards while scoring 28 touchdowns.His quarterback rating was consistently one of the best in the state throughout the season. A part-time starter as as sophomore, Sainsbury quarterbacked the team into the state finals in 2016 and made it to the state semi-finals in his other two seasons behind center.
Sainsbury was a three-year starter, 2017 team captain, had 289 pass completions in 485 attempts for 4,499 total yards, 46 touchdown passes, seven touchdown rushes; was two-time All-Conference player; a finalist for the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Cub quarterback of the Year; 2017 KURM Dream Team, according to Neal's statistics.
"I hope to be an orthopedic surgeon," Sainsbury said, adding that he plans to major in pre-medicine. "This felt right spiritually and financially. It was a good choice."
Holtgrewe, son of Chris and Linda Holtgrewe, said he wants to be a physical therapist. "I'm hoping to represent the Blackhawks in a way that makes my family proud. It's something I've always wanted to do. It's a surreal feeling."
Holtgrewe was a three-year starter and three-sport athlete for Pea Ridge, catching 83 passes this year for 1,271 yards while scoring 15 touchdowns. For the past two years, he had 156 pass receptions for 2,427 yards; 25 touchdown receptions; one interception return for a touchdown; five punt return touchdowns; two kick return touchdowns; 33 career touchdowns; 102 tackles; four interceptions; 2017 team captain; two-time All-Conference player; 2017 KURM Dream Team; finalist for Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club wide receiver of the Year and Returner of the Year; 2017 Hooten's 4A Defensive Player of the Year; two-time Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette's first team offense; and 2017 All-USA Arkansas Team.
The fourth senior to sign Wednesday was Jordan Witcher, 6'2", 180 pounds, who will be taking his talents to northern Missouri where he will play for Missouri Western.
Witcher, son of Ben and Melissa Witcher, was 2017 All-Conference; had 56 pass receptions for 809 yards; 10 touchdown receptions; 32 tackles; 1 interception; was on the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette second team offense.Sports on 02/21/2018
Print Headline: Representing their home town