POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — Elbie Fonda set high goals for the 2011 football season. The Caruthersville senior wanted to run for 3,000 yards and lead his team to a state championship. For a shot at one, however, he had to sacrifice the other. “We believed he could do it, but as things progressed, we wanted to take care of his body because we were hoping for 15 games,” Caruthersville coach Nathan Morgan said. “He understood that and did exactly what was needed without question.”
Fonda put together an outstanding season, one good enough to earn him the Carr Trophy as the most outstanding player in the SEMO Conference. Fonda was presented the award Wednesday night during the 66th annual Poplar Bluff Letter Club Gridiron Banquet. Fonda is the fourth Caruthersville player to win the award, given annually since 1979, and the first Tigers player since Kendrickus Reed in 2006.
Jimmy Jackson, Caruthersville’s first Carr winner in 2003, was an assistant coach for the Tigers this year and held the school record Fonda was shooting for — 2,564 yards rushing. “He’s like an inspiration to me,” Fonda said about Jackson. “Make me want to win it. I wanted to be better than him.”
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound running back ran for 1,889 yards and 25 touchdowns during the regular season to lead the conference. He averaged 12.6 yards per carry. He finished with 2,602 yards combined rushing and receiving and scored 33 times to go with 31 tackles on defense.
Fonda shared the ball with Darrell Monroe, who also was named to the all-conference backfield. Monroe, a sophomore, ran for 1,019 yards during the regular season. “I had no problem with it,” Fonda said. “I wanted to win.” The Tigers only dropped a 56-55 thriller to Dexter for the conference title and fell to Maplewood-Richmond Heights 36-29 in the Class 2 state quarterfinals to finish 11-2.
Fonda also won the scoring award in the Central and was one of five Carr finalists announced at the banquet. The other finalists were Sikeston’s James Watson, who rushed for 1,485 yards, Dexter quarterback Cody Stevens, who threw for 1,375 yards and ran for 1,184 yards, Farmington quarterback Chase Busenbark, who threw for 1,698 yards, and Chaffee’s Tyson Estes, who ran for 1,431 yards and earned the scoring award for the South. “All great athletes,” Morgan said. “It was a good class, so Elbie has something to be proud of to win it this year.”
The Carr Trophy is named in honor of the late E.E. “Bus” Carr, an early member of the Letter Club who devoted 50 years of service to area athletics serving as an announcer for radio station KWOC in Poplar Bluff. A committee composed of area high school football officials makes the selection.
Also presented with awards were Farmington linebacker Roper Garrett with the inaugural Derland Moore Award for the most outstanding defensive player in the conference. Moore, a 14-year NFL player for the New Orleans Saints who was named a second-team SEMO Conference player as a senior at Poplar Bluff, presented the award to Garrett, who had 82 tackles and 45 assists, six sacks and three forced fumbles for the state semifinalist Knights.
Jackson assistant coach Bob Sink was presented with the Sam Giambelluca Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to high school athletics over a 41-year career. He announced his retirement during the Jackson football banquet last month. The linemen awards went to Farmington’s Ethan Hennes, Zach Lacey of Dexter and Zach Estes of Scott City. Farmington’s Connor Davault won the scoring award for the North, and Knights coach Todd Vaughn was named coach of the year, along with Dexter’s Aaron Pixley and Hayti’s Justin Peden.
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