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Smithsburg's Thompson rewarded for his 'Extra Effort'

April 23, 2006|By CHRIS CARTER - Staff Correspondent

Smithsburg senior Justin Thompson was rewarded for the extra effort he exerted on the football field, in the classroom and as an all-around student athlete Saturday night.

The Leopards' standout running back was presented with the Gus Baker Memorial Scholarship by Ravens Roost No. 7 to cap the 43rd annual "Extra Effort" Awards Banquet at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge.

"This basically just makes my high school career complete," Thompson said. "I grew up with a lot of the players here. A lot of them deserve this, too."

Each Washington County team is allowed one nomination for the scholarship, valued at $2,500, that recognizes exceptional academic, extra curricular and athletic performances, and the group is voted on by a collection of panelists.

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"That's a very tough decision to make," said Ravens Roost No. 7 President Gregg Delauney. "That's such a good group of young men. I'm glad I'm not the one that has to pick."

Thompson will put the scholarship to good use when he continues his career next season at Frostburg State University, where he said he has already committed to play.

Thompson carried 213 times for 1,367 yards and nine touchdowns in 2005. He was named to the Herald-Mail All-Area Second Team and was the Washington County Co-Offensive Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Boonsboro's Zach Shoemaker.

"Justin is a tremendous athlete, a lot tougher than his physical stature of about 5-8, 165 pounds," said Leopards coach Buddy Orndorff. "He's a very quick athlete and he's an excellent student as well."

Thompson was one of 40 All-Washington County football players recognized by Ravens Roost No. 7. Each player was given an honorary plaque and a proclamation from the governor's office.

Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders and St. James coach Chick Meehan were recognized as "Extra Effort" co-coaches of the year. Anders directed the MVAL Antietam Conference champion Warriors to the Maryland 1A West playoffs, while Meehan guided the Saints to a 7-2 record and the Mid Atlantic Conference title.

Defensive end Jarret Johnson was this year's "Extra Effort" recipient from the Baltimore Ravens. Johnson, in his fourth year with the Ravens, had some advice for the young group of athletes that were on hand.

"Just stay humble, no matter what you do," Johnson said. "If you keep grinding it out and working hard, you will get what you deserve."

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