Sometimes you can go home again.
Former Conway football star Junior Hemingway received a hero’s welcome during a ceremony in his honor Friday night in the gymnasium where he starred in high school basketball.
Hemingway, who recently completed his second season in the NFL, was recognized by CHS Coach Chuck Jordan for the many contributions he and other members of his family have made to the school over the years.
Hemingway said it makes him feel good that people in his hometown followed his career to Michigan and Kansas City after his playing days with the Tigers ended.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “It means a lot to me. It shows all the support they’ve had for me since high school, college and all the way up to now.”
Hemingway caught 13 passes for 125 yards and scored two touchdowns this past season with the Chiefs. He said scoring his first NFL touchdown is something he will always remember.
“It was kinda surreal,” he said. “I really can’t describe it. I didn’t know I was getting the ball until I saw Alex (Smith) looking at me,” he said.
Hemingway said his biggest goal for next year is to pick up where he left off this season. The Chiefs made the playoffs this year for the first time since 2010, improving from 2-14 in 2012 to 11-5. Kansas City dropped a heartbreaking 45-44 verdict to Indianapolis in the Wild Card game.
“As a team, we played beyond expectations,” Hemingway said. “It didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, but it was a good season. Last year we only won a couple of games and this year we went to the playoffs.”
Hemingway presented CHS with a replica of his No. 88 jersey and a picture that will hang in the hallway in the school’s athletic office.
Although Hemingway needed no introduction to a gymnasium packed primarily with Conway fans, Jordan reminded the crowd about some of Hemingway’s top accomplishments.
He earned three CHS varsity letters in both football and basketball and competed in track for four years. He led the Tiger football team to 13 victories and a state championship game appearance in 2006, and played in the Shrine Bowl Game of the Carolinas as a senior.
Hemingway played collegiately at Michigan and capped his career with the Wolverines by winning MVP honors in a Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.
In addition to Junior Hemingway, Jordan recognized other members of the family including Lena and Kenneth Hemingway, and their children, Shamae, Janecia and Tonka.