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Mason catches on with Nest

June 06, 2009|By CHRISTIAN WORSTELL

Smithsburg's Alex Akers and Waynesboro's Dylan Spangler were both honored at the 10th annual Ravens Nest No. 12 football scholarship banquet at Beaver Creek Country Club on Saturday evening.

But they weren't even the two best football players in the room.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason was also on hand to receive the Ravens Nest fan club's Player of the Year award. The event also featured longtime DeMatha coach Deno Campbell as keynote speaker, a dinner, silent and live auctions and a deejay.

In addition to the two scholarship winners, Martinsburg soccer player Matthew Yates was presented with the "True Grit" award.

Akers, a linebacker and The Herald-Mail's Washington County Defensive Player of the Year, will play for Waynesburg University in the fall. Spangler, a linebacker and fullback and The Herald-Mail's All-Area Defensive Player of the Year, will play at Bloomsburg University.

"They have the opportunity to live their dream and that is to play college football," Mason said. "They're very deserving of it."

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Yates, an all-state honorable mention in West Virginia, will attend West Virginia University but elected to focus on academics and not play soccer.

"To get through high school is one thing, but then to be recognized for everything I've done on top of that is really nice," Yates said.

Akers will be busy training -- and eating -- this summer. The 160-pounder has been put on a lineman's diet by the Waynesburg coaches to beef up for the fall.

"I need to put on some weight," he said. "They have an ROTC program so I'm going to do that. I like the area a lot and the coaches and everyone I've talked to that has played there really liked it."

Spangler received an offer from Syracuse that was thrown off track with the firing of head coach Greg Robinson. But it didn't take long for Bloomsburg to grow on Spangler.

"With the academic power and the athletic power, it hit on all cylinders for me. I felt most comfortbale there," Spangler said. "(The scholarship) definitely means a lot. The recognition is nice."

Mason, who played his college ball at Michigan State University, had some advice for the incoming freshmen.

"Work hard. That's the only thing they can do," Mason said. "Have fun but know why you're there. If you take care of the academics, the football stuff will come."

Of course, Mason was also there for his own award as the 10th recipient of the Raven's Nest No. 12 Player of the Year honor. Mason caught 80 passes for 1,037 yards and five touchdowns last season.

"This means a lot to me," he said. "They've been really supportive of us ever since I've been here, going on five years now. It shows people recognize and appreciate what you're doing."

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