Welcome back to the 2015 Who’s Who from The Genuine Article. This will also conclude the look back at the 2014-15 TSSAA Sports year. The Millington Star’s coverage area of Millington Central, Munford and Brighton high schools and Tipton-Rosemark Academy have enjoyed a lot of success. And some of the senior student/athletes have left an amazing impression on this sports reporter.
Jordyn Thornell & Dante Pitts
The Most Involved decree goes to TRA’s Kathryn Thornell, better known as Air Jordyn and Dante Pitts of Millington. Most Involved winners display positive characteristics on the field, in the classroom and the community.
Pitts took advantage of his student/athlete pass because he was at every game supporting his fellow Trojans. Pitts received his share of support in his sport, football. The No. 6 jersey played linebacker and was a key defensive leader for the Trojans.
Then on one night in Memphis is Melrose Stadium, the Trojans were searching for some offense battling injuries to the entire backfield. Pitts was inserted into his old position of running back and powered the Trojans to victory.
Pitts had an Hall of Fame performance and he was named a member of the MCHS Hall of Fame for the Class of 2015.
Thornell was honored at TRA speaking at the Class of 2015 Commencement. She was a pillar in a her class through her leadership and activities at Rosemark. But the two-sport athlete earned her moments in the spotlight.
In volleyball Thornell was a leader through performance. She did things the right way and executed timely points to keep the Lady Rebels atop their league.
Softball she seemed to come up with the big hit or big play. Her junior year, Thornell made the diving catch that helped TRA capture the State championship.
Thornell and Pitts proved getting involved give a student/athlete a chance to help their team win.
Kolton Childress & Cecily Gable
There’s always a few student/athletes when you watch them, you are amazed at their minds, physical abilities and knowledge of the games. Brighton’s Kolton Childress and Munford’s Cecily Gable are prime example for this year’s senior class.
Gable comes from a strong volleyball pedigree following sisters Scarlet and Savannah. All the Gables left Munford as accomplished champions. Cecily place an exclamation point on the Book of Gables.
With her effortless attacks and graceful tips, the youngest Gable earned MVP awards and kept the Lady Cougar Sectional streak going.
Over the years Gable matured with her interviews which will come in handy at Austin Peay University. She has earned the right to play big time Division I volleyball with her work on the court and No. 9 ranking in the Class of 2015 at Munford.
Childress has used his mind to shine over the years at Brighton in three sports. His year senior year didn’t involve football. Just like his big brother John, Childress was a top-flight wide receiver that could catch anything thrown his way.
He did continue to display his talent in baseball, the sport he will play at Freed-Hardeman University. Childress can hit the ball and can cover the entire outfield with his speed. But his bread and butter on the diamond is his arm from the mound. Childress was used as a closer in 2015.
Childress’ third sport basketball surprised many this past season. New Brighton Head Coach Stan Gatlin was pleased with Childress’ production in the post becoming an establish threat on the low block.
Spencer Percer & Ashlee Bone
Working in such a close-knit community is a blessing. I seem to gain a friendship that will last for years. I feel this year Millington’s Spencer Percer and Ashlee Bone will be two people I stay in touch with for a long time.
Maybe because my friendships with Percer and Bone started years ago. Bone was a fresh face on the Lady Trojan Softball team when I met her. With her catcher’s gear on, she beautiful smile greeted me saying, ‘Hey, I’m Ashlee. You know my Grandma.’
That was a weird greeting. After I introduced myself I asked, ‘Who is your Grandma?’ The amazing Cheryl Bone is her grandma. So I quickly figured out way Ashlee wasn’t shy at all. Her grandmother is a strong woman of faith who goes to bat for those in need. She feeds the hungry and she’s not afraid to be their voice.
Ashlee displayed some of those characteristics through her teams. She matured into a wonderful leader on this year’s team catching a young staff. She placed her arms around her young pitchers to keep them confident. She batted near the top of the lineup giving them run support in victories.
The 2014 Homecoming Queen was the ideal face to be MCHS first winner under Millington Municipal Schools. Through all the honors like All-District, awards and recognitions, Bone remain humble and the sweet spirit I met four years ago.
Now Spencer ‘Spin’ Percer and I go back even further. I remember him as the ball boy during his middle school days at Trojan Football games. This past season, he was kind of busy as a wide receiver and special teams player. I still had to do a double take at the kid who grew into a young man playing for the black and gold.
Spin also was a key contributor for the Trojan Soccer team on defense. An expert at grounds keeping, Percer and I had one of our many conversations while he was lining the new soccer field. He outlined his plans for the future and Millington was a part of that.
I’m glad to know he’ll be nearby not only to contribute to his hometown, but we’ll continue to trade insight on area sports.
Percer’s expertise on the game is amazing. With a Southern kick in his voice, Percer can break down the game like he should have my job. I’ve been saying that since the first day I meet him.
Maddison Welch & Demarius Curry
Most Dependable is a superlative close to my heart. Although I didn’t win this honor in high school, I try to conduct my life in a way others can pretty much count on me once I give you my word. Two athletes who seem to operate by that creed are Munford’s Maddison Welch and Millington’s Demarius Curry.
Curry was a three-sport standout for the Trojans in football, basketball and track. Interviewing the speedster over the years, Curry wasn’t afraid to declare what he would do on the field, court or track. Curry was an athletic point guard who used his leaping ability to play great defense. Jumping helped Curry earn two medals in the High Jump at State. The confident Curry called his shot twice saying he would get to the medal stand in Murfreesboro.
But the sport that made Curry a familiar name in the pages of The Millington Star was football. Despite his height and size, Curry became Eldon Tyms favorite target in 2013. Curry would tell his young quarterback he will make him look good and he could count on him. Tyms will tell you Curry is a man of his word.
Welch is a young woman who backs up her statements. For the Lady Cougar Volleyball and Softball programs, Welch made trips to Sub-State every year. She was a key driving force as a setter and defensive specialist on the court. Welch was the glue of the softball team as a table setter at the plate and defensive specialist.
Welch didn’t speak often choosing instead to let her play do the talking. Those time she did spark her team verbally, the Lady Cougars played inspired.
The 2015 Millington Star Female Athlete of the Year was the type of player her coaches could depend on at any time or in any position. She was selfless and put team first. Those characteristics will carry her far on the college softball level.
Phenicia Howard & Patrick Macon/Brett Armour
The trio of Munford’s Phenicia Howard, Millington’s Patrick Macon and Brighton’s Brett Armour made things look easy in their sports. Howard seemed to be the natural point guard for Steve Poindexter’s squad the past two seasons. Macon would swallow up opposing ball carriers in the chest of his massive No. 44 jersey at least 10 times a game. And Armour was the “grown man” using his power of the body and mind to dominant on the gridiron and soccer field.
Armour comes from a family gifted in the brain and body. Brett was the latest to shine at Brighton in academics and athletes. He was power on the Cardinal defensive line. And in soccer, the Dyer County team identified him as the breaded adult pushing them around the field.
Winner of numerous academic honors, Armour devoted time in his studies and sports to continue the strong Armour name in Tipton County while making the black and red shine.
Like Armour, both Howard and Macon hit the gym hard to build their bodies. Just like Brett, the duo studied their opponents to get better. Howard and Macon followed instructions by their coaches to improve. And they both earned leadership rank through their play. Howard saw more time on the court in her junior year after Munford lost senior Kierra Webb for the season. Once she know she would be on the court more often, Howard worked on her court awareness to set up her teammates. She even developed a more consistent three-pointer to help Munford stay atop of District 13-3A.
Macon transformed his time in the gym into power to shut down running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks. Macon led the Trojans in tackles and had a huge impact on the mindset of the Millington defense.
Macon was clearing the muscle and heartbeat of that unit. He will be missed as he prepares to play college football out West. Howard is heading to the Midwest to continue her playing career. Both Howard and Macon still have a hard work ahead of them.
Tori Ray & Deadrick Payton
Book smarts can carry you a long way in sports. Sometimes a bright student applies those skills to his or her field of play. Munford’s Tori Ray and Millington Deadrick Payton were prime example of intelligence in action.
Payton was a two-sport stud for the Trojans in football and wrestling. He missed action last summer with his National Guard duties. Payton was busy building his body and mind through the program.
The Trojans benefited quickly once he returned in August.
As an undersized defensive end, Payton used his speed, quick hands and foot-work to make several tackles for loss. Payton applied the lessons he learned in wrestling to beat larger offensive lineman to make big plays.
This past year Payton’s study of the art of wrestling paid off with a spot in the Regional championship match for 220 pounds. All season Payton took to the mat 170 pounds and kept beating the competition. He earned a spot in the State Tournament.
Ray’s final season with the Lady Cougar Softball team didn’t result in a State appearance. But the previous three years Ray was the leadoff hitter to help Munford reach the final tournament of the year.
Ray displayed power at times cranking out home runs. She was a speedster who could hit for average.
During her tenure as a Lady Cougar Ray saw time all over the field playing defense where Head Coach Glenn Goulder needed her.
Meanwhile, Ray was successful in the classroom earning the No. 5 in her class. An amazing accomplishment for an All-District caliber player. Ray proved once she is involved in something, it will end up a success.
Mr. and Ms. Millington Star
Logan Stewart & Bethany Berger
This year’s Mr. Millington Star is Logan Stewart of TRA. And the honor of Ms. Millington Star goes to Bethany Berger of Rosemark. The Rebel duo have been a part of a special era of winning at TRA. Just a quick list includes 2014 State Softball title, 2014 State Baseball runner-up, numerous team honors like Region titles and district championships.
In the middle of all that success were Berger and Stewart. Maybe because they both played three sports with Stewart playing football, basketball and baseball. Meanwhile Berger kept busy with volleyball, basketball and softball.
Stewart has attended TRA his entire school career. Berger arrived on campus three years ago. But both seem to display the same athletic ability, team-first attitude and intelligence to help their teams.
Stewart and Berger joined TRA legend Roxy Kimes as Best of the Preps winners this past June. Stewart added his name to the list of Millington Star Athlete of the Year winners along former TRA standouts Julanne McCommon and Connor Alexander.
Berger became the first Journal West 10 Media Female Athlete of the Year. Now these accomplished student/athletes prepare for college. Stewart will enter Christian Brothers University to study medicine and play some baseball. Berger’s next step is The University of Memphis for nursing.
These two seem to by traveling down a road together toward greatness. With their formulas to success, I pray both continue in the right direction and achieve more new heights, win more awards and continue to make those around them better.