Ravens' Graham, county's best football players honored at Extra Effort banquet

April 20, 2013|By BRETT NIEVES |
  • Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham talks with members of the Boonsboro football team during the Ravens Roost No. 7 Extra Effort Awards Banquet at the Elks Lodge in Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Ravens Roost No. 7 held its 50th annual Extra Effort Award Banquet to honor the 40 members of the 2012 Coaches’ All-Washington County Football Team in addition to Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham.

Boonsboro’s Ryan Ruiz was presented with the Gus Baker Memorial Scholarship Award in front of about 200 attendees at the Hagerstown Elks Club and will be attending Frostburg State University this fall to study accounting.

“I expected someone else to get it, actually,” said Ruiz. “It’s one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had. I’m just really thankful.”

Ruiz is the second straight Warrior to win the award, succeeding Aaron Turner.

Ruiz played safety for the Warriors last season, and called his return to the field after a broken wrist his fondest memory of the season.

“I got the chance to get back on the field and play with my best friends my whole life and it was just awesome,” said Ruiz.

Graham was honored with the Extra Effort Award, joining current teammates Torrey Smith and Terrell Suggs as recipients of the award.

“It means a lot, honestly,” Graham said. “Whenever you get an award for working hard and giving great effort, it means a lot to you. I’ve prided myself on giving effort my whole life and that’s what got me where I am.”

Graham joined the NFL in 2007 when the Chicago Bears selected him in the fifth round out of the University of New Hampshire. He joined the Ravens in March 2012 after being selected to his first Pro Bowl as a special-teams standout for the Bears in 2011.

He was instrumental in Baltimore’s run to a Super Bowl victory last season, finishing with 54 tackles and two interceptions on the year. Graham notched two more picks in the Ravens’ AFC divisional playoff win over the Denver Broncos. 

“I’m being honored here for effort, and obviously the effort paid off and I was able to help my team win games and win the Super Bowl,” said Graham. “Everything has worked out great and it was an amazing year for us.”

The Ravens lost a slew of talent on both sides of the ball this offseason, but Graham is confident that he, the newcomers and the rest of the team will be ready for 2013.

“We lost some key guys, but we have some new guys that will come in and step up,” Graham said. “I have to step up and everybody has to pick their game up and contribute every way they possibly can to help our team win.”

Nearly every school in the county was represented during the ceremony, and each coach had the opportunity to introduce each player who made the All-County team.

North Hagerstown’s Danny Cunningham was recognized as Coach of the Year, and 10 Hubs received an All-County nod, including Defensive Player of the Year Tre Anderson.

South Hagerstown led the way with 13 honorees, including Offensive Player of the Year Isiaha Smith. Nine were honored from Boonsboro.

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