Jada Byers of St. Joseph and Kira Sides of Middle Township won the 20th annual Billy Schoppy Awards as the top athletes in the Cape-Atlantic League’s Class of 2020.
The announcement was made during Mike Gill’s Sports Bash on 97 .3-ESPN today. The winners would normally be announced during the annual CAL Celebration on the Ocean City Music Pier but that event was cancelled by the COVID-19 quarantines.
Byers is the fourth student-athlete from St. Joe to win the award, joining Salaam Horne (2016), C.J. LaFragola (2015) and Jack Corcoran (2006).
Byers graduates with 10 football records by players at CAL schools, including 644 career points, 106 career touchdowns, 232 points in one season and 10 TDs in one game. He also was part of the Wildcats’ very successful basketball team his senior year. Byers will attend Sacred Heart (CT) University for football.
“Working together with my teammates is my greatest memory at St. Joe,” Byers said. “We had a lot of success and a lot of the credit goes to Coach (Paul) Sacco. He really knows what he is doing.”
As he was interviewed, the future of St. Joseph was in limbo. “We have faced struggles and challenges before,” Byers said, “and we overcome. I think we will win this battle, too. It’s important for the younger students to get the opportunities that I had and others had at St. Joe.”
Sides is the third winner from Middle Township. Bridget Ruskey won in 2017 and Davon Edwards ion 2005.
Sides was a two-time all star in soccer in the fall, scored more than 1,600 points in basketball to set a new school record and finished as the No. 2 scorer in CAL girls lacrosse history. Had there been a spring season she likely would have broken the CAL record. She will play lacrosse at LaSalle University.
“Lacrosse is a lot of fun,” she said. “It kind of combines a lot of the skills you need for soccer and basketball so it appeals to me for that reason. I selected LaSalle because I love Philadelphia, love the city, and LaSalle is right there. Its also close to home.”
A list of the 2020 finalists, plus the winners and finalists from each of the previous 19 years, is available here.