By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Friday night at the Munford Football Stadium began with a tribute for 2002 Munford graduate Christian Brown. But when the smoke cleared from the fireworks and grills, it was the Brighton Cardinals victorious in the first Christian Brown Benefit Bowl.
The Cardinals made the short trip down Highway 51 to defeated their Tipton-County and league rivals 56-33 behind 507 passing yards from senior Brady Stewart.
Prior to Stewart and the Cardinal offense taking the field, Munford High School rolled out the welcome mat for Brown. With music from the Munford High School Band echoing in the background a parade took place around the field to honor Brown.
Brown was honored at midfield during the ceremony being presented two checks from both schools. The U.S. Marine lost both legs and a finger when an improvised explosive device detonted near him while serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan in December 2011. It was the first time he had returned to Munford since his injury.
There were more than 100 motorcycles escorting Brown to the field. It seemed in the game the Cardinal offensive line escorted players like Antonio Dickerson up and down the turf racking up 685 yards in total offense.
Dickerson scored five touchdowns picking up 1432 yards on the ground. Two of Dickerson’s scores came on the ground with 10 yards giving Brighton (3-3) a 14-0 lead.
Munford (4-3) scored two second quarter touchdowns to make the tally 14-13. Cougar T.J. Plymouth caught a TD pass from Hunter Harden. Then Munford running back D’Marious Exum broke loose for a 57-yard run that brought the Cougars within a point. The game remained close through the third quarter. Stewart found his favorite target Artez Harris. The senior wide out snatched down a 68-yard TD pass.
Harden matched Stewart’s touchdown pass with a connection to Antonio Moore that made the score 28-19. Then it was Dickerson giving his team some breathing room with two touchdowns.
After another Moore TD brought the Cougars within 42-26, Stewart drove his team down the field finding targets like Bryant Conner and Malcolm Terry setting up a short TD run from Dickerson. The offensive showcase feataured 259 receiving yards from Harris on nine catches.