BLACKSHEAR — Thousands upon thousands of University of Georgia fans lined Main Street and Hwy. 84 Sunday to recognize Stetson Bennett and future Pierce County High School alumni during the Champions Parade. Pierce County citizens were joined by residents of neighboring communities and state-wide media along the two-mile parade route to get a glimpse of Bennett, the former UGA walk-on signal-caller turned national champion. The celebration was one of the largest, if not the largest, to be staged here. Bennett led the Bulldogs to their first championship since 1980 when another small town hero did the same. Herschel Walker was the pride of tiny Wrightsville when he burst on the scene. Bennett’s story is one that will be referenced throughout college football history. The least heralded starter of a stacked Bulldogs roster became the most important. Bennett, who announced two weeks ago he would return for a sixth year of playing college ball, was honored prior to the parade at City Hall. He was given a key to Blackshear, which was created by students at the high school. The Savannah Quarterback Club honored Bennett as its collegiate football player of the year. He was presented a custom designed hat, showing his name and scores of each Bulldogs’ victory this past season, along with a hangable display of photos from the championship game. “I think it’s the best job in the world,” Bennett said of being Georgia’s quarterback. The parade included region and state champions from the high school, middle school conference champions, rec league district and state champions, and beauty queens. Bennett was stationed in the back of the procession riding in the back of a black Ford truck sporting a national championship hat and PCHS sweatshirt with his girlfriend, Cameron Liss, at his side with four law enforcement officers walking beside the vehicle. Several supporters rushed to get autographs along the route as Bennett waved to the crowd dressed in Georgia red and Pierce County blue. “It’s tough to put into words,” Bennett said during an interview. “You come back to the town where you know basically everybody’s name. You feel like you don’t deserve all this attention. You just won a football game. But it’s special because I know that a lot of the fanfare I receive from playing for Georgia and winning the championship, a lot of people are looking for something. “I know that everybody here, in my hometown that I grew up with, they’re just doing it because they’re proud of us, proud of me and proud of their home. They’d do it for anybody that’s from here.” Bennett is ready to get back to work as Georgia begins preparations to defend its title. “I’m excited strictly for the football aspect,” he stated. “I love to play it and I love what it teaches us. And it’s a challenge when we play in the toughest conference in the United States. I think we’re all ready for it.” Bennett’s busy day concluded with a environmental economics class assignment due before midnight.

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