National Football Foundation Press Release
Benton was one of six Louisiana teams named state winners of the 2022-23 National Football Foundation National High School Academic Excellence Awards, which go to the top academic football teams from each level of play within each state.
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced the state winners Thursday.
Sixty teams from across the nation won state awards and will vie as finalists for the Hatchell Cup, presented by “The Original” Bob’s Steak & Chop House, which will be announced Feb. 8 and recognizes the top individual high school football team in the nation for academic excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community.
The other winners from Louisiana are Ouachita Christian (1A), Iowa (3A), St. Thomas More (4A), Brother Martin (5A) and Dutchtown (5A).
Benton went 7-3 in the regular season and finished runner-up in District 1-5A.
“Academic and athletic success go hand-in-hand,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “We are proud to recognize these 60 outstanding high school football teams as the top academic performers in their states. These schools, coaches, players and their families should all be incredibly pleased with their accomplishments, and we look forward to announcing the overall winner of the Hatchell Cup on February 8. We hope by inspiring teams to compete in the classroom with the same competitive spirit that it takes to win on the field, we will better prepare high school football players for success later in life.”
The NFF announced the creation of the award in February 2021. One-year later, Cypress Woods High School (TX), led by Head Coach Cody Simper, claimed the inaugural Hatchell Cup. This season marks the second season the awards are being presented. The initiative is designed to inspire and foster a culture of academic excellence on high school football teams throughout the nation.
Eligibility requirements for the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards include:
- A minimum cumulative team GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- Superior academic application and performance.
- Successful football season.
The 60 winners from each division of play were selected by the individual states’ high school coaches associations from a pool of nominees submitted by each school’s head coach. A selection committee, compiled and led by the NFF, will be responsible for choosing one school as the recipient of the Hatchell Cup as the best team in the nation.
The NFF Hatchell Cup is named in honor of NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. Since taking over the helm of the NFF in 2005, Hatchell has overseen numerous programs expanding the NFF’s reach and impact as it continues to promote the scholar-athlete ideal. His career in athletics administration spans more than five decades and includes countless accomplishments, including serving as the first commissioner of the Big 12 Conference and holding the top jobs at the Southwest Conference and the Orange Bowl.
This past December, “The Original” Bob’s Steak & Chop House became the presenting sponsor of the Hatchell Cup. Since its 1993 opening in Dallas, Texas, Bob’s Steak & Chop House has proudly offered the best cuts of meat available to guests, making the name “Bob’s” synonymous with a best-in-class steakhouse experience. Over the years, the restaurant has built upon the reputation that it earned at the original Dallas location by opening restaurants across the nation, providing guests a first-class experience no matter where they call home.