By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2018 Brighton Cardinal Football roster will have a lot of key spots to replace graduating 27 seniors.
The names include standouts like Cameron John, Aaron Alston, Lance West, DJ Barker, Spencer Cartwright, Imari Allen and Jordan John. All those players are going off to play college football. Out of all those names, the one Brighton Head Coach Robin Jacobs is working on finding his replacement is Lyon College signee Drew Twisdale.
“Drew was the main snapper for us because we had two get hurt in the same game,” Jacobs recalled. “We didn’t know who was going to be our snapper. Drew said he could do it. And he went out there and did a great job. I don’t think he missed any snaps. He did what he needed to do to get out there on the field and play football.”
Taking on a challenge that has very little recognition but all eyes on you if you screw up, Twisdale just saw it as an opportunity to help his team.
“I was thinking ‘You need a good long snapper to make sure you get the extra points, get the punts off,’” he recalled. “It’s pretty hard to play or be a good football team without a good one.
“We ran out of long snapper because everybody else got hurt,” Twisdale added. “I don’t know, I’ll try it. It just kind of came natural. I went and practiced to get better.”
Seeing additional time at slot receiver and linebacker garnered Twisdale the attention of the coaching staff at Lyon College in Batesville, Ark. There to celebrate the moment right by his side Feb. 26 in the Brighton High School Library were Twisdale’s mom Amanda Byrd, dad Bubba Twisdale, stepmom Courtney Twisdale, girlfriend Kali Oliver, brother Hunter Twisdale and sister Lilli-Ann Byrd.
“This is a dream come true for me to put all this work in and be able to play at the next level,” he said.
The day was a dream and nightmare for his mother Amanda.
“This is amazing, been waiting for this day for a long time and I’ve been dreading this day for a long time,” she said holding back tears. “It means my Baby is growing up.”
Bubba said the moment is very emotional but he earned his shot at the next level.
“Him signing that scholarship is very good,” he noted. “We’re both proud of him. He’s worked so hard. Hard work is starting to pay off. We want him to keep chasing his dream.”
Drew’s path to his dream started as a child growing up in Brighton playing basketball and baseball. Then in the seventh grade he followed in the family footsteps of playing football.
His uncle played on the 2003 Brighton Cardinals, the most decorated squad in school history entering the 2017 season. Those Cardinals reached the State Quarterfinals.
Drew’s Brighton team won the 2017 Region 8-5A title and reached the State Semifinals. The contribution of Twisdale and Cardinal winning attracted the staff of the Fighting Scots. Lyon College is a member of the American Midwest Conference of NAIA led by Head Coach Casey Creehan.
Creehan was hired as the third head football coach in program history and is known as a defense-minded coach with experience at both the professional and collegiate levels. Creehan comes to Lyon College after a two-year stint with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He recruited Twisdale to play linebacker in his system.
“It’s an excellent choice,” Amanda said. “We completely left it up to him. We prayed about it and this is where God is leading him.
Bubba noted the Lyon program is heading in the right direction going 6-5 last season and he was impressed with the campus as a good fit for his son.
Drew moved the Twisdale football bar to another level with his signing. His little brother Hunter is next in line learning from his brother.
“It makes you very proud,” Bubba said. “Drew has always had that leader mentality of getting the team together and praying before game. Proud doesn’t describe what we are of him. He’s our boy.’
The Twisdale boy joins his classmates as Class of 2018 signees; Imari Allen to Missouri Valley State, DJ Barker to Rhodes and the quartet of Aaron Alston, Spencer Cartwright, Jordan John and Cameron John to Southeast Missouri State.
“It makes you feel good to just show everybody we came here and did what we said we were going to do — be the best to come through,” Drew concluded. “We just tried to work our hardest and make sure all of our hard work paid off.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.