My 10th year anniversary at The Millington Star is fast approaching.
Later this month it will officially be a decade and the past month of looking back has been fun, for the most part. In my trip down memory lane, I’ve forgotten a few names and managed to overlook a few honors. Please charge it to my head and not my heart.
The Star’s coverage area has blessed me with the opportunity to cover Millington Central High School, Tipton-Rosemark Academy, Munford High School and Brighton High School.
And I took this moment as a chance to celebrate some of the great moments, superb athletes and heart-warming occasions from August 2003 to now. As I wrapped up things with a look back at my Millington highlights, I realized my retrospective was not complete.
I cannot have a full Thomas@TEN without mentioning names like Jessica Stapleton, Stephen Sisk, the McElravery Twins, Ervin Herron, Beth Turner or “Mr. LCA” himself Tim VanDouser Jr.
It’s time to look back at the short-lived TSSAA tenure of the Lighthouse Christian Academy Warriors. Let’s put on the purple and gold one more time.
Just down Shelby Road, you can find LCA still teaching and instructing. But in the mid 2000s, the school decided not stop its TSSAA sport programs.
But before the last football was caught, final jumper taken and closing pitch from the mound, the Warriors and Lady Warriors made their impact on the Millington area and this reporter.
I can remember like it was yesterday the debut of the new football field and the Warriors taking their crosstown rivals TRA Rebels.
Volleyball and basketball games were played at Crosspointe Baptist Church and Warrior Baseball was showcased on the legendary USA Stadium field.
Baseball was the marquee sport of Warriors like Ben and Luke McElravery. The twins were muscular, fast and good overall athletes.
They brought humor to the dugout and solid pitching. But the best pitcher at LCA was Gabe Rivera. His no-hitter at USA Stadium in 5 innings validated that claim.
Rivera was one of three notable Rivera children. His sisters Havlia and Lidia held their own in sports like basketball and volleyball. Lidia went on to start at Millington after her departure from LCA.
But before Lidia was a Lady Trojan, she was the standout eighth grader in purple and gold. She had freaky leaping ability and great hand-and-eye coordination.
Havlia was the brains of any operation she was a part of. She was like a coach on the floor and on the sideline. She looked our for her little sister and other teammates like Ebone’ Crutcher, Jada Toney, Carlie Hill, Kayla Flockhart and the Moore sisters.
I still have problems telling the girls a part. When you add in their mother and baby sister Virginia, good luck at getting the names right. But Tidia and Savannah wore No. 11 and 21, giving me hope on getting their names right in the paper.
And both Moore sisters ran point on the basketball court. Their best attributes are on display with Virginia at TRA these days, with a solid shooting touch, good defense, court awareness and hustle.
Lady Warrior Basketball was fun to watch because of the effort of girls like Tidia and Savannah. Once the girls left the court, it was time for the best squad in LCA history to take the hardwood.
In 2005, the Warriors were a competitive basketball team thanks to players like Tim VanDouser, Pierre Harris, Derrick Tubbs, Stephen Sisk, the twins, and the great Ervin Herron.
Herron went on to be the first college sports signee in school history inking a letter of intent to play at Southwest Tennessee. Now Herron is playing professional basketball.
The “It Factor” was all over Herron. With his trademark headband, Herron was a quick guard with handles in a 6’4 frame. He would light up the scoreboard with his jumper or go to the hole with a shake-and-back move.
Herron and the Warriors put on a great show every night they took the court. Crosspointe was the place to be on winter nights in Millington.
And it seemed like one face their and at all important LCA sporting events was VanDouser. The son of the pastor at Lighthouse Fellowship Church, VanDouser was dear to the hearts of the faculty and staff at the school.
But with his all-out effort in basketball, baseball and football, VanDouser won a spot in the hearts of several around the city. He was a great spokesman for the school and ideal example from his duties as an infielder, power forward or quarterback.
VanDouser kept the football team together. Most of the time the Warriors took the field with just 11 players. Having to play both sides of the ball, all game, VanDouser was one of the leading tacklers on the team.
Right by his side taking on all comers was Stephen Sisk. With a charm that could make a mother smile, Sisk was a beast on the field.
He was so talented he could play at any school. But Sisk made LCA his home and personal playgroud. Coming into games, Sisk knew the opposition would be hunting him all game, but he never avoided a challenge. Sisk was all heart like his female counterpart Beth Turner.
Turner was a cool customer with skills. She adopted to her sports quickly. She joined Carlie Hill and Rivera on the volleyball court to contribute points.
Then in the winter she played her showcase sport of basketball. She was the go-to player for her teammates. And she even played a little softball with players like Jessica Daigle.
And the entire time, Turner made it look so cool.
The entire gang at LCA was cool, calm and enjoying the moment like Joe Toney, Kyle Simmons, PJ Simmons, David Turberville and Andrew Flockhart. They were the underdogs most of the time but that didn’t stop them from making their school, community and family proud.
From the cold night the Twins helped this reporter in desperate need of car help to the Warriors coming up one point short in their final football game of win No. 1, it was easy to root for the Warriors.
I’m glad to take some time and some space in the paper to remember the LCA Warriors.
It’s been a wonderful 10 years with all the teams, players, coaches and administrators I’ve come across from all the schools. And with the next crop of great ones already on the varsity stage and in middle schools preparing, the next 10 years will be even better.
To close this portion of my look back, I must thank all the athletes over the years for making my job a joy. And finally I thank all the coaches, mentors, older siblings, friends, family members and parents. It takes a village to raise a wonderful student/athlete. And you guys’ effort and investments in them has made my job a blessing.
Tim VanDouser Jr.
Best Male Athlete
Best Female Athlete
Best One-Sport Standout
LCA Fantastic Five (Girls)
LCA Fantastic Five (Boys)