They made Columbus sports history last week. Sunday, folks can celebrate with them.
The Carver High School boys and girls basketball teams, which won the Georgia High School Association 2019 Class AAAA state championships March 8 in Macon, will be honored with a parade and rally Sunday in downtown Columbus.
Starting at 2 p.m., the parade is scheduled to begin at the intersection of Broadway and 13th Street. The route goes south on Broadway, turns left onto Ninth Street and right onto Veterans Parkway, ending at the Columbus Civic Center.
The parade will include approximately 20 units, with pickup trucks carrying the teams and local officials, said Daryll “DJ” Jones, co-owner of marketing agency Sportsvisions, which is sponsoring the event, along with the Columbus Consolidated Government and the Muscogee County School District.
The rally in the civic center, expected to start around 3 p.m., will feature speeches from dignitaries and the coaches.
Jones, a 1980 graduate of Carver, where he was an All-American quarterback, encourages even area residents who aren’t connected to Carver to attend the parade and rally.
“There’s never been boys and girls basketball teams that brought home a state championship to this city (in the same year), so it’s pretty special,” said Jones, who played defensive back for the University of Georgia, where he helped the Bulldogs win three Southeastern Conference championships and the 1980 national title. “… This is a community event. These kids are representing Carver, but they represented Columbus and Muscogee County on the big stage. So when they won the championships, the city won the championships.”
Jones played three seasons in the NFL, first with the Green Bay Packers (1984-86) and then the Denver Broncos (1987-88), reaching Super Bowl XXII. Even with all that success in athletics, Jones admitted he had a tough time keeping his composure as he was one of the broadcasters describing Carver’s championship games for local radio listeners.
“It was awesome,” he said. “It was just a beautiful feeling, knowing how hard these kids fought, the girls going undefeated and the boys being so scrappy. The boys didn’t have a player over 6-foot-4. The true grit they played with, both teams, was just amazing.”
Jones also said a marker designating the city as home of the Carver double champions will be placed along a major road in Columbus. City manager Isaiah Hugley confirmed Thursday to the Ledger-Enquirer his office would try to make that happen, but he emphasized he isn’t aware of any application to the Georgia Department of Transportation being submitted yet.
Asked where it would be placed, Hugley said, “I would anticipate that we would be targeting I-185 for such a sign, so people see it coming into the city, but it could be another gateway. … It’s early for me to say where, but we are open to that discussion.”
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.
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