Categorized | Sports

Thomas@TEN: Look Back at Brighton

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Leanna Coultson

Leanna Coultson

Antonio Dickerson

Antonio Dickerson

Brighton Cover

This August will mark 10 years for me at The Millington Star.
My entire tenure at Millington’s newspaper I have been involved in covering sports. My introduction to the paper and the community was through our annual football preview Gridiron Glory. It was then I learn I have the coverage area of Millington, Munford and Brighton. I also had the responsibility of covering TSSAA private school sports from Tipton-Rosemark Academy. At the time the sport coverage included Lighthouse Christian Academy.
Since 2003 many coaches, players and figures involved in Trojan, Cougar, Cardinal and Rebel sports have made a lasting impact on my career and life. So for the next four weeks, I will take a look back at the four schools I’ve covered for a decade.
I will feature the top 10 male and female athletes from each school. I will list the best teams in that stretch and shine a light on those outstanding one-sport superstars. And I will list a Top 10 for the position that has put the school on the map. So my look back will start up Highway 51 with the Brighton Cardinals.
My coverage area extends from Northaven to Brighton. And thank God for the Cardinals being in The Star’s range.
The Home of the Cardinals has welcomed State qualifying teams and State champions like Kimi Jennings in the Pole Vault and Demetrius Johnson in Wrestling.
Young programs like boys’ and girls’ soccer have won district titles. And Brian Oswalt’s baseball teams had a run of titles in the late 00’s. While his pitching dominated the league for a stretch, Robin Jacobs’ enjoyed similar success on the softball diamond.
Softball might be the face of the school’s sports. Banners line the outfield wall with All-State players. Since 1999 the program has racked up more than 500 wins.
But in the South, we love football. And when I arrived in 2003, Tim Stallings guided the Cardinals to a Quarterfinal appearance in the State Football Playoffs behind a young mobile quarterback Johnny Douglas. Brighton used the Wing-T with Tim Stark to punish opponents.
Although the Cardinals had success on the gridiron, a win over rival Covington was elusive until Will Wolfe took over. It was the power running of Deundre Williams that finally gave Brighton a win over the Chargers. But the departure of Williams gave berth to a new-offense at Brighton. Wolfe instructed quarterbacks like Danny Potter and Brady Stewart to record setting aerial numbers using weapons like John Osborne and Ricky Foster.
Foster and fellow Cardinal Joe Glass have won the honor of Star Male Athlete of the Year. Brighton has featured top athletes like Whitney Robison, Britt Sanford and Amber Gatewood who won the Star Female Athlete of the Year Award.
Names like Amber Hayes, Caroline Jacobs, Kelsey Tramel, Bailey Hansen, Haley Craig, Morgan Shaver, McCallie Ruffin and Lulu Smith made headlines in multiple Lady Cardinal sports.
Lady Cardinals are not scared to play more than one sport in a year. And male athletes like Bryan Glover, Caleb Armour and Jay Jennings are just a few of the multiple sport Cardinal standouts. Jennings, like his sister Kimi, were Division I signees with Jay inking a scholarship to Sacramento State for baseball. The Jennings siblings were one of many I covered over the years. There was Emily and Neil Smith behind the plates at Brighton. Max and Britt Sanford dominated the links. Megan and Adam Blackburn were the ideal student/athletes. The Hansen sisters with Charlie and Bailey, the Ruffin duo with Jack and McCallie and Bryan paved the way for his little sister Kara in golf. The list goes on and on.
Softball standout Caroline was coached by her father Robin and sister Emily. Family is big at Brighton. Joe Glass was a good quarterback but even bigger star in baseball. His little brother Rujonn made football his feature sport.
And Joe displayed how much family ment to him one night in Munford on a basketball court. That game took his love and heart to finish to play tribute to his older brother who died in a car accident hours before a game against rival Munford. Glass played like a sixth-man was guiding him jumper, dribble and all-around effort. With tears in his eyes, Glass willed his team to victory.
Then Head Coach Eric Harris cried as he talked about his guard needing that escape on the court to deal with tragedy. And like the standup person he is today, Glass was willing to be interviewed by me to pay tribute to his brother.
Glass was the starting point guard the year Brighton won a basketball district title. Cetrice Bounds was the man in charge that year. He applied a simple philosophy for success — play hard, play together and play for each other.
That can be the theme for Brighton Cardinal sports overall. Harrison Simonton and the No. 44 have served as motivation for the Cardinals over the years. And many Brighton student/athletes have reached greatness since 2003 including Kimi Jennings winning Pole Vault gold her sophomore and junior years. And Demetrius Johnson made his blood and wrestling family proud with State titles in 112 and 119 weight classes.
Jennifer Wildes or Malcolm Terry reached State in track and I’ve witnessed Hunter Scott crushing a 450-foot homer. Cardinal Power has been felt across Tennessee. From Scott Doby and Travis Burns dunks to an Amber Hayes blast, covering Brighton Sports has been a joy.
Around those parts I’m known as T-Man thanks to Bailey Hansen. And I’m no stranger to the Red House between the softball and baseball fields.  Brighton is home for this reporter and I’m glad to start my look back with the Home of the Cardinals. Thanks you all for the great memories from Brighton and hears to more in the future.

Top 1o Female Athletes

10. Bailey Hansen
9. Lisa Sellers
8. Kelsey Tramel
7. Amber Hayes
6. Jennifer Wildes
5. Shack Griffith
4. Amber Gatewood
3. Caroline Jacobs
2. Britt Sanford
1. Whitney Robison

Top 10 Male Athletes

10. Herman Wakefield
9. Scott Doby
8. Jay Jennings
7 Caleb Armour
6. Cataurius Taylor
5. Malcolm Terry
4. Joe Glass
3. Johnny Douglas
2. Ricky Foster
1. Hunter Scott

Top 10 Teams

10. 2008 Lady Cardinal Volleyball
(District champs)
9. 2006 Cardinal Baseball
(District champs)
8. 2006-07 Cardinal Basketball
(District Champs)
7. 2010 Lady Cardinal Soccer
(Sub-State Appearance)
6. 2004 Lady Cardinals Softball
(Griffith and Smith led team to State)
5. 2005 Lady Cardinal Softball
(Craig and Lyles led team to State)
4. 2003 Cardinal Football
(State Quarterfinals)
3. 2007 Cardinal Baseball
(Sub-State Appearance)
2. 2011 Cardinal Football
(10-win season)
1. 2009 Lady Cardinal Softball
(First trip to Class 3A State Tournament)

Top 10 One-Sport Athletes

10. Theron Kadri
9. Ciera Boyce
8. Demetrius Dyson/Jonathan Stark
7. Kevin Johnson
6. Ashten Johnson
5. Danny Potter
4. London Hill
3. Deundre Williams
2. Kimi Jennings
1. Demetrius Johnson

 

Top 10 Cardinal Pitchers

10. David Billingsley
9. Garrett Perry
8. Adam Blackburn
7. Haley Lyles
6. Staci Craig
5. Colter Millican
4. Shack Griffith
3. Jeremy White
2. Whitni Smith
1. Leanna Coulston

 

  • Becky McBride

    What an awesome article and tribute! Looks like BHS loves you, Thomas!

  • Adam

    Great article as usual. Keep up the good work, Thomas.

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