• 61°

McVay: Their biggest fan

Straughn senior Cory McVay was given special recognition at the annual fall football banquet on Sunday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

If the Straughn Tigers were to have a biggest fan competition — Cory McVay would win outright.

For the past six football seasons, Cory McVay has been Straughn’s biggest supporter on the football field.

Every Friday night, he leads the team out on to the field, wearing his No. 5 jersey, grinning from ear to ear.

McVay, at 20 years old, was given a special senior award on Sunday at Straughn’s annual fall football banquet for his positive role.

At just 4 months old, McVay was diagnosed with strep. Strep is a form of bacterial infection that slows brain function, said his brother, David.

He said the impact Cory has on the team is one that embodies a since of positiveness, and looking at things in a good light.

“The amazing thing about Cory is that he sees no wrong,” David McVay said. “He’ll pick him out one player, and that’s his man.

“It so happens this last year, it was (senior quarterback) Josh Dewrell,” he said. “In his eyes, Josh couldn’t do any wrong.”

As an assistant coach, David said he tries not to get a glimpse of his brother at the beginning of the game for one reason.

“I try most of the time not to look down there,” he said. “I’ll tear up when I see him leading them out. You just can’t help to tear up a little bit.”

Dewrell said Cory taught him to “never get down on himself.”

“We always, when things don’t go our way, we get mad,” Dewrell said. “We shouldn’t get that way, we’re not in Cory’s situation. Everytime you see Cory, he has a smile on his face.

“Each and every day at practice, he’d come talk to me and tell me that I was just to keep my head up high and go hard each and every day and just do the best I could,” he said.

Cory’s mother, Lisa, said for him to participate and be a part of Straughn’s football program is a “blessing.”

“It’s so wonderful how they have taken Cory under their wings,” she said. “He just loves them like his own family.

“He love his sports,” she quipped. “Football is the utmost to him, and that’s what he looked forward to every week. School barely was tolerable to him. To do this at football games on Friday nights — it’s his ultimate goal to be involved in that.”

Cory will turn 21 in May for graduation, his father, Frankie said SHS football coach Trent Taylor will always welcome him as long as he is the head coach for the Tigers.

“I want to give a plug to coach Taylor,” Frankie said. “Personally, I thank you, coach Taylor for giving Cory the time when a lot of football coaches wouldn’t have a lot of time, and making him feel like he’s a part of something.

“Cory has added so much joy to people’s lives he doesn’t even know about,” he said.

Frankie told a story about Cory that exemplified his son’s dedication to the football team.

“Five or six years ago, the football team was leaving on a Thursday for a game,” he said. “I told him, ‘we may not be able to ride with team.’ Cory said, ‘Daddy, me got to go, and team need me.’

“Coach Taylor found out, and Cory went with the team on Thursday, and stayed with them,” he said. “He’s just been such a blessing to not only us as his parents, but to people he’s around.”

Nick Allen, a senior and who’s been playing football for Straughn since the eighth grade, said Cory’s impact can be felt team-wide.

“Cory’s been around the whole time,” Allen said. “He’s had an impact on everybody at Straughn that knew him. I don’t ever remember a game he wasn’t there wearing a jersey and cheering the team on. He doesn’t know whether we’re winning or not, but he’ll be cheering for us.”

Whether it’s a win or a loss, it’s all the same to Cory, Taylor said.

“In his eyes, Straughn has never lost a football game,” Taylor said.

Dewrell added, “with Cory, he’s excited from the pep rally that afternoon at 2 all the way to the time we run out on the field. He can’t sit still. He’s ready for football and he’s ready for the Straughn Tigers to play.”

Expect to see Cory to be where he feels at home, leading Straughn out on the field, David McVay said.

“It could be said, even though he’s a senior in school, we’ve had some of juniors and underclassmen that were asking if this is Cory’s last year,” David McVay said. “They want him there. It’s like I told them, as the Lord leaves him here on this Earth, he’ll lead the Straughn Tigers out.”