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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Signing Into The Next Chapter: Next Steps in Sports Careers

On Wednesday May 1, five seniors were recognized at the sports signing event for Phoenix athletes as they moved to pursue their chosen sport at the collegiate level.
Rachel Adams
(From left to right) Seniors Austin Fisher, Dylan Neach, Paul Smith, Demarrius Stewart, and TeYany Kleiner sit together as their coaches, family members, and teammates wish them well in the next chapter of their sports careers.

On May 1, five seniors, Austin Fisher, Dylan Neach, Paul Smith, Demarrius Stewart, and TeYany Kleiner participated in the first ever sports signing ceremony in Rock Ridge history. There are six total seniors that will be continuing their sport at the next level; however, Darien Ferrell, who will be continuing his football career at Emory & Henry College, couldn’t make it to the signing event. Coaches spoke briefly about each senior, sharing highlights of the year and wishing them well for the next four years. Teammates and family members gathered to watch the signing and joined in for fun photo opportunities.

Senior Austin Fisher sits with his parents as his coach shares some highlights of Fisher’s high school football career. (Rachel Adams)

Staying close to home, senior Austin Fisher committed to Roanoke College to continue his football career at a higher level. Fisher started football when he was younger, and started to focus more on it during eighth grade, really falling in love with it during high school.

Q:  What drove you to pick football?

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A: All my friends told me to do it in eighth grade, and I listened to them. I got to play with a lot of them [and] play against a lot of them. Over the years I wanted to stick with it; it’s helped me grow as a man, as a person, as a teammate. 

Q: What is one memory from this past year that is your favorite?

A: I would definitely say senior night, or our last game of the season. I just think it was great, being able to be at home, be with the boys. It was a good day.

Q: What are you looking forward to most next year in college?

A: I’m looking forward to starting off strong and playing football at the next level. Continuing to work hard on the field and in the classroom. Academic wise, finding my interests and finding what I want to major in, and just keep working hard with football and enjoying myself.

Senior Demarrius Stewart signs to continue playing football at Butler Community College. (Rachel Bhardwaj)

Senior Demarrius Stewart will be continuing his football career at Butler Community College. After speaking with the coaches and getting a feel for the environment, Butler is where Stewart chose to spend the next two years. He hopes to join the NFL upon graduation at Butler.

Q: How long have you been playing football?

A: I’ve been playing it all my life, but I really took it seriously this year. That’s the best decision I did in my life, because it paid off and got me a scholarship. 

Q: What drove you to play football?

A: It’s really because of my brother. He got drafted into the NFL. Now I feel like anything is possible, you just have to be dedicated to it and focus.

Q: What are you looking forward to most next year?

A: Really balling out. I’m really just looking forward to playing, because I like it. I like the intensity and the competitiveness, that’s just all that I’m about. I’m trying to go All-American, that’s what I’m going to strive for.

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About the Contributors
Rachel Adams
Rachel Adams, Website Coordinator
Rachel Adams is a senior. This is her third year on staff, and she is one of the Website Coordinators. She is part of the girls tennis team and the theater program. Her favorite hobbies include baking, hiking, crocheting, and reading. Her favorite books are murder mysteries, but she loves all genres. When she graduates high school, she hopes to get into aviation, specifically piloting commercial planes. She has only been on a plane twice, but she knew this was something she wanted to do for a career almost right away. Rachel is excited to see what the future holds, in both college and beyond.
Rachel Bhardwaj
Rachel Bhardwaj, Staff Writer
Rachel Bhardwaj is a freshman, this is her first year in Newspaper. "I'm excited for this year," Bhardwaj said. Some of her interests and hobbies include drawing, writing fictional pieces, and listening to music. In her freetime, Bhardwaj likes to play badminton with family and friends.
Maddie Nyman
Maddie Nyman, Staff Writer
Maddie Nyman is a senior, and this is her second year on The Blaze. She enjoys working on The Blaze because she can focus on one of her favorite things: writing. She is starting her third year of running indoor and outdoor track on the Rock Ridge team, and is co-president of Chapter 9 ¾ of National English Honor Society. When not in school, Maddie enjoys running, reading, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with friends.  She hopes to continue writing great pieces for The Blaze and make this year the best yet!

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