The exploits of Marietta seniors Marcus Bennett, Isaiah Borne, Chris Flood and Lawton Ward prove that the stereotype isn’t always true.
Bennett and Borne are starters on offense, while Flood and Ward are defensive starters for the 2-0 Blue Devils. All four players are four-year members of the program and have started for at least two seasons.
Finally, all four live up to what it means to be a student-athlete, carrying grade-point averages of at least 3.9, while also participating in at least two sports and serving more than 100 hours of community service projects.
“As a football coach, you hope to have the opportunity to coach one young man like this in your career,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “We are unbelievably blessed to have four in one class. They are humble, hard-working and talented young men, and they are the true definition of student-athletes.
“In this era of specialized, one-sport athletes, it is refreshing to see these four young men excel in absolutely everything they do without compromising anything.”
Flood, a two-year varsity starter who starts both ways at defensive end and guard, has a 4.6 GPA, is No. 1 in his class and is on pace to be the school’s valedictorian. A member of two region championship track and field teams, he is president of Marietta’s Science National Honor Society, and vice-president of the French and math honor societies.
Flood, who has three part-time jobs in the summer and one during the school year, is also a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, and he is involved in the school’s environmental club and student athletic council.
“It can get difficult, but by doing it all, I get the structure that I like in my day,” Flood said. “And playing football teaches me time management and discipline.”
Flood would like to play football in college and major in business or pre-med. He’s spoken with administrators and coaches with the Clairmont-Mudd-Scripps Stags, a joint athletic program of prestigious colleges in California, but his dream college would be to play for Notre Dame.
He works out at 5 a.m. several times a week for the past three years because his schedule doesn’t afford him the opportunity to take a weight-training class.
“I study a couple of hours a night,” Flood said, “and by putting in the time, the academics just comes naturally to me. Ever since I was little and knew what a valedictorian was, it was something I wanted to be. I also wanted to play sports as long as possible. I’m surprised I’ve been able to achieve both.”
Borne, a three-year varsity starter who’s playing the offensive line this season, also qualified for the state tournament with the wrestling team and has won three region championships with the track and field program. He’s treasurer of the school’s Science National Honor Society and is a member of the math and Spanish honor societies, along with the Beta Club.
A Phi Beta Kappa Book Award winner, Borne is No. 3 in the senior class and could be the salutorian before the year ends. He volunteers as an academic tutor at Marietta.
Ward is a three-year varsity starter seeing action at linebacker this year.
A captain of the wrestling team, he’s won individual region titles the past three years, qualified for the state tournament each season and won the 170-pound state championship last year.
A two-time football captain and a member of two region championship track and field teams, Ward has attended church mission trips to New York, Jamaica and Honduras the past few years.
Bennett, who recently committed to play at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and owns a 3.9 GPA, is a three-year starter at wide receiver. He is currently third all-time in school history in receptions and receiving yards.
A Cobb County long jump champion, he has captured three region championships with the track and field team.
Bennett is a leader of the Young Organizers United to Help and Getting Educated Now to Succeed service organizations. He’s also a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, the student athletic council and the Beta Club.
“I enjoy being a leader and giving back to the Marietta community gives me a great feeling,” Bennett said. “I want to help pave the way for future leaders at Marietta. Being involved with these leadership and service organizations is fun.”
Flood, Ward and Borne are all members of Marietta’s academically challenging International Baccalaureate Program.
“All of these guys come from exceptional families that have instilled in them the need to be well-rounded, character-driven men of class and dignity. It is truly an honor to be associated with them.
“I have three boys of my own and I would be the luckiest dad in the world if they grow to be like any one of these young men.”