Every year, South Jersey High School Athletes from the Cape Atlantic League are honored for their on-field accomplishments by Tom Williams' Prime Events with the Billy Schoppy Memorial Awards.

The annual awards are voted on by South Jersey Coaches and Media Members from a list of around ten nominees each year. One Male and one Female High School Senior Athlete receives the award at a ceremony usually hosted in June each year.

Past winners of the Male Senior Athlete of the Year include:

*Matt Szczur (won the World Series as a member of the 2016 Chicago Cubs)
*Mike Trout (Three-time American League MVP Award Winner)
*Austin Johnson (8-year NFL Veteran, signed with the Buffalo Bills this offseason)
*Markquese Bell (22 games played at Safety over the last 2 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys)

On June 11th, the announcement was officially made that the Senior Athletes from the Cape Atlantic League who are winners of the Billy Schoppy Memorial Awards for the 2023-24 High School sports season. The Male Athlete of the year is Mainland Regional High School's Cohen Cook and the Female Athlete of the year is Ocean City High School's Sofia Curtis.

What Cohen Cook accomplished during the 2023-24 High School Season

Cohen Cook had 15 Total Touchdowns this season (13 Rushing and 2 Receiving) for the Mainland Mustangs Football Team that won the 2023 New Jersey Group IV State High School Football Championship.

Cook also compiled 99 Tackles as part of the Mainland Mustangs Defense that had five shutouts this season, which is a School Record. Cook also scored over 1,500 Points in his High School Basketball career and had a .333 Batting Average during the 2024 High School Baseball season.

The three-sport star from Mainland Regional High School has committed to play football at the University of New Hampshire. The UNH Wildcats compete at the FCS Subdivision One level of College Football in the Coastal Athletic Association.

Cohen Cook joined GameNight with Josh Hennig to discuss how his experience playing sports at Mainland Regional High School influenced his decision to play Football at the University of New Hampshire:

"At Mainland Regional, there's a lot of good guys there, so it was fun playing with those guys. Those guys pushed me and we pushed each other to be the best we can be. It's just a great environment.
I went up to New Hampshire for my visit and all the guys up there, I love all the (players) and coaches, they are all great guys, and it really felt like a family up there. - That family environment (helps) makes things awesome (for me). So just I like being around those people."

What Sofia Curtis accomplished in her High School Athletic Career

Sofia Curtis of Ocean City High School is one of the most accomplished Track and Field Athletes in South Jersey. Curtis is an All-American in the 400-meter Hurdles and the Triple Jump.

She has won a total of 5 state championships, including the Triple Jump Meet of Champions winner in 2023. This year, Curtis became only the 6th female High School Athlete to run under a 60-minute 400-meter hurdle in South Jersey history (59.80 seconds).

Sofia Curtis has committed to Virginia Tech for college where she will continue to compete in Track and Field. The Virginia Tech Hokies compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference and at the Division 1 Level, the highest level of intercollegiate sports competition.

As Mainland Regional's Cohen Cook prepares to play College Football at University of New Hampshire, you see that previous winners of the Billy Shoopy Award have gone on to play Professional Sports.  Here are High School Graduates from South Jersey who went on to play in the NFL:

Check Out Greater Atlantic City, NJ Area Athletes Who Played Games In NFL

Many people are not aware of the number of athletes from the Greater Atlantic City Region who have played in the National Football League. Football players who played at high schools in Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, and Ocean Counties have a strong representation in the NFL over the last few decades.

One of the most difficult accomplishments in sports is to make a Professional Sports Roster and earn the opportunity to play in a game at the highest level of the sport. Check out some of the great South Jersey Athletes who have played in games in the NFL:

Gallery Credit: Joshua Hennig/Townsquare Media