Daily Light report

Patrick Mahomes II, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, will be one of the featured guest presenters in the 2020 All-Ellis County Best of Preps awards show on Thursday, June 18. Mahomes will announce the male and female athletes of the year, which are the top awards of the night.

"Being a proud Red Raider, I personally could not be more excited to add NFL MVP and Super Bowl LIV MVP, Patrick Mahomes to our event. His athletic caliber compiled with an already robust lineup of amazing professional athletes is inspirational," said Colten Crist, advertising and operations director of the Waxahachie Daily Light. "My team wanted to make sure our broadcast, which replaced our live event for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was extra special for the athletes, coaches, schools, and county. Thankfully, our business partners including Methodist Midlothian believed in this vision and didn’t want the honorees this year to go without a celebration worthy of Super Bowl MVP talent."

Mahomes, a native of Tyler, Texas, dazzled Chief fans during the 2019-2020 season with come-from-behind rallies that ultimately led to the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl victory since the 1969 season. His poise and leadership during critical moments defied his age, 24, and led to him becoming the youngest player in NFL history to be named the Super Bowl MVP.

Mahomes joins a robust list of professional athletes who will be announcing the Players of the Year for each state-sanctioned fall and winter sport covered by the Daily Light, including Venus Williams, Michael Phelps, Drew Brees, Wayne Gretzky, Gabby Douglas, Bode Miller, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Gary Woodland, Misty May-Treanor, Jordan Burroughs, Norm Duke, Rose Lavelle, Jessica Mendoza and Keli Smith Puzo. Television sports broadcasters Jesse Palmer, Sage Steele, Dr. Jerry Punch and Courtney Cronin will host the awards show. Additional presenters will be announced in coming weeks.

The show will premiere at 6 p.m. June 18 and is free to watch on the event website waxahachietx.com/preps.

Honorees who have been listed on the event website and in the Daily Light should register by this Sunday, May 17, to also receive a special gift package that will be mailed to their home prior to the event. If they fail to register by the deadline, their certificate and medal will be available for pickup at the new Daily Light office at a future date. Registration is not required to watch the show.

"During this unique time, we wanted to be able to broadcast this show without any restrictions for students, schools, coaches of Ellis County and their families all over the world absolutely free," Crist said.

Not all state-sanctioned sports will be included in the Players of the Year awards due to spring sports cancellations required by the COVID pandemic. Instead, there will be a recognition of seniors who missed their final sports seasons as part of a national tribute video that will be included in the broadcast.

The public can also show support of seniors who missed their final games and celebrations by joining in the national movement with support messages on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag DontStopNow. One person nationally using this #DontStopNow will win $1,000 for themselves and $1,000 for the charity of their choice. See details on the event website the night of the show for additional information.

The Daily Light will also participate in a national effort to raise funds locally for those impacted most by the COVID pandemic. Donate on the event website waxahachietx.com/preps to the "Team Ellis County COVID Relief." This national effort will support the United Way, The American Red Cross and Feeding America. The community that raises the most funds by June 20 will receiving a matching donation from the USA Today Network, up to $10,000, for those local charities.

"Without a doubt, we would rather be celebrating in person with students and families, but due to COVID and social distancing, that’s not possible this year," Crist said. "While this isn’t the subject of the show, we thought that bringing together the high school sports community for a positive awards show could also be an ideal time to utilize that positive energy in support of COVID relief fundraising efforts.

"Let’s make Ellis County the top fundraising community in the country and show the USA who has the best high school fans!"

Gannett owns and operates the largest high school athlete recognition program in the U.S. Viewers can find various locations, including the All-Ellis County show, at sportsawards.usatoday.com, as well as on the event website at waxahachietx.com/preps.