On to the next level: Plainview athletes treated with group signing at local restaurant
By Mallory Grave
With COVID-19 canceling many events including spring sports, weddings, concerts and much more, many high school seniors have missed out on half of their last year. No senior walk, prom, or in some cases, graduation.
In the midst of this global pandemic, many people have adjusted to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Plainview seniors Cody Marr, Drake Sisemore and Tyler Berryhill signed their National Letter of Intent on May 19 at Caddo Street BBQ, which is locally owned and operated by Bryan Marr.
Cody Marr, Plainview High School senior, is signing to play football at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois.
“I’m excited and nervous to sign today. This is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life, and now it’s actually in front of me,” Cody Marr said “It’s definitely nerve-wracking. I am sad however, that I’m not getting to do it at the school, or see all my family, friends and coaches on this special day, because they truly helped me get where I am today.”
Tyler Berryhill is signing to play football at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
“Signing today means a lot to me, because I didn’t get to do it during school,” Berryhill said. “I am fortunate enough to be able to do it now. I still wish we were on campus, but the Corona Virus had to ruin everything.”
His passion for football began at a very young age.
“I have been playing tackle football since the fourth grade, and before that, I played flag football. I’ve always been involved in sports and mainly focused on football and basketball as I grew up,” Berryhill said. “I soon began to realize as I entered high school how much more I loved football than any other sport. It is the activity that I enjoy most at any given time. There’s something about Friday night lights that you just can’t beat. Personally, I believe that football has made me a better man and will continue to develop me as I progress through college ball.”
Drake Sisemore will sign to play baseball at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.
Sisemore said, “I decided to go out of state because the coaching staff was great, and it was the best place for me to improve. I took a visit/school tour in February. The campus was really nice and I loved the school atmosphere.”
Sisemore has been hitting the ball for years now.
“I started out playing baseball when I was about six years old. To me, it is about being part of a team and the competition,” Sisemore said. “At some time or another, baseball beats everyone, so in every inning, you want to come out on top. It’s my passion for sure, the ultimate team sport,”
Bryan Marr, Caddo Street restaurant owner and father of Cody Marr helped make Tuesday’s college signing happen for the trio of athletes.
“We wanted to do something for the kids, because as soon as they decided where they wanted to go, the pandemic hit, and they didn’t have a place to sign. We worked with the school and the health department and came up with a plan that was functional and safe for everyone.”
Despite COVID-19, Bryan Marr believes that Plainview has done an excellent job in finding ways to celebrate the class of 2020.
“The school has done a really good job of keeping the kids safe while still trying to make, to me, their senior year special for them,” Bryan Marr said. “They have done what they think is best for the kids, and as a parent, that’s all you can ask for.”
Several school officials took time out of their day to show up and support the young men.
“It definitely shows the Plainview spirit and what we are about. These coaches are not only looking out for their athletes, but their students as well. They’ve always supported these kids, and Coach Price especially. He always says his job doesn’t end after football season,” Bryan Marr said. “I think Price has done a great job of preparing the kids for their future endeavors. We sent a plan of action to the school that was approved by the health department so the school could participate and follow all those guidelines as well. Even though it wasn’t technically a school event, we’re just going to go ahead and call it that, because they were all involved. It was a great turnout.”
Plainview’s Athletic Director David Gilliam knows how special a signing day is, because he had one of his own.
“I went to Northeastern State in Tahlequah, and I played football there. I, myself, had a big signing day,” Gilliam said. “It’s a strange situation on how everything’s turned out with COVID-19, but I’m just happy that the Marr family and the Sisemore family stepped up and allowed us to have it off school grounds at Caddo Street. I’m glad that they got a chance to at least experience the signing day atmosphere. Obviously I would have liked to have it at school where you get everybody in there and it’s a bigger thing, but at least we have people that stepped up so the kids can have their moment.”
Gilliam also gave a bit of advice to incoming college freshman student athletes.
“I would say sit back and learn. You go from a relatively small pond to a large one when you get to college; you’re getting good athletes from everywhere,” Gilliam said. ”Listen and learn from the upperclassmen, because they’re willing to help teach you, and show you the ropes. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions.”