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​​Bradley Football 

Bears Receive Larry Sells Sportsmanship Award

JOE CANNON Banner Assistant Sports Editor

THE BRADLEY CENTRAL football team took a timeout from spring practice Tuesday for head coach Damon Floyd (center, right) to accept the Larry Sells Sportsmanship Award from Tri-County Football Officials Association assignor Craig Phillips (center, left).

“Among the 12 schools we serve, Bradley showed the best sportsmanship in the way they treated the officials,” related Phillips, who said this is the first time in his association with the group that Bradley has been so honored. “Bradley has made great strides in the past few years to make sure the officials are well taken care of, from the time we arrive at a game to the time we leave.”

Phillips also stated the TCFOA is seeking “some new officials for the upcoming season. We are in need of anyone interested in officiating the games.” Call Phillips at 423-715-9471 if interested. The Bears will wrap up spring drills with a scrimmage against Soddy-Daisy at 6 p.m. Thursday evening at Bear Stadium.

Trevon Ware Participates in Border Bowl

TYLER WICKMAN Banner Sports Writer

Only one player from the area schools was selected to make an appearance in the 2016 Kentucky-Tennessee National Guard Border Bowl that took place on Saturday at the University of the Cumberlands.

That special invitee was Trevon Ware of Bradley Central, who is known around the state for being a top-notch cornerback.

Ware was an integral part of the Black-and-Gold’s success this season as they reached seven wins for the first time since 2011. Their run was cut short when they faced Riverdale on Nov. 5 in what ended up being a heartbreaking 38-34 loss in the first round of the playoffs.

“Trevon is one of the hardest workers we have ever had. He has been very coachable and obviously very successful, so we are proud of him being able to represent Tennessee. Bradley has a rich tradition of athletics, and he goes right along in there with it,” pointed out Bradley Central head coach Damon Floyd.

At 6’1, 185 pounds, Ware made a lot of opposing coaches change their minds about throwing in his direction.

“It’s funny; people really didn’t even try and test him on whatever side (of the field) he was on at corner. Really, he just shut down one side of the field for majority of our games,” Floyd explained.

Not only does Ware excel on the field, but he also has shown that he conducts himself as a leader off the field.

“Trevon did what he was supposed to do day in and day out. He worked hard, he was coachable, and we didn’t have to worry about him in the classroom,” Floyd added.

Boyd-Buchanan head coach Grant Reynolds led the Tennessee team of all-star seniors as they got the 29-14 win over the Kentucky squad on Saturday.

This now puts the all-time series in Tennessee’s favor, 5-4. Along with getting a chance to shine on the gridiron, players also receive jerseys and rings as memorabilia.

Ware was shocked and honored to even be invited to the Border Bowl, but he said it was bittersweet, considering it was his last high school football game.

“I felt special. It was just a great experience overall in meeting new players and having great coaches around me,” Ware said. “I’m glad I went out the way I did in my high school career.”

College plans are still undecided for Ware, but he has special interest in continuing his football career at Appalachian State, which he will decide upon in the near future.

Now it’s back to basketball season for the multi-talented athlete, who is a guard for the 12-5 Bears, who are currently 5-0 in district play.

“I’m ready to get back with my brothers and hopefully win regionals,” Ware stated.

Bradley Project Making Final Push

JOE CANNON Banner Assistant Sports Editor

When the call went out last fall for a dire need to upgrade the fitness facilties at Bradley Central High School, Bear Nation responded.

Now with the second of three phases nearing completion, a push to raise the remaining needed funds is underway.

Without the use of any money from the Bradley County Schools system, the “Bear Down and Give” effort has brought in nearly $300,000 from private donations and fundraisers.

Another $40,000 is needed immediately to partially furnish the new facility so that it can begin to be used.

“We have our new building up and near completion, but now we need to cover the floor and get enough of the (weight) equipment purchased so that we can move in and start using it,” related Bradley Central athletic director Turner Jackson.

“What we are looking to do is get the floor covered ($15,000) and go ahead and purchase about half ($25,000) of the (weight) equipment,” added Bear head football coach Damon Floyd. “We will work on getting the funds to purchase the rest of the equipment after we get into the building.”

The new 50x100 metal building was constructed on the south end of the football practice field, next the Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex.

The plans also called for an upgrade of the current weight room facilities at the rear of Jim Smiddy Arena, in which more than a thousand students a day were sharing a 40x50 weight room.

The first phase was a $50,000 update to the existing area (the old band room), including replacing the flooring as well as eight new workout stations, featuring a bench and free weights in the center of the room, plus other various fitness equipment around the outer edges.

The second phase was the construction of the new building, on which ground was broken a couple of weeks ago. A concrete slab was poured, and the walls and roof of the facility went up quickly, with the installation of the windows and framing of the office and restroom taking place this week.

“We have the turf picked out for the center (of the floor area), but we are still trying to decide on the flooring for around the outside walls where the (weight) equipment will be,” related Floyd.

“The people have responded generously. We’ve raised over $295,000 so far and now we need to be able to start using the facility,” he added. “We have a ‘GoFundMe’ page link ( that people can go to and give. I’m asking for 2,000 people to give $20 each.”

Those wishing to help out can also drop off donations at the school’s office or by contacting one of the football coaches.

“This new facility will bring a lot of pride to the school,” commented Bradley County Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash. “The coaches strive for what is best for the kids. The way the community has gotten behind this project and raised the funds has been tremendous. This is the strongest community I’ve ever worked with in stepping up when something is needed.”

Bradley’s “Bear Down and Give” fundraising effort got a big boost during last fall’s homecoming festivities when an anonymous donor agreed to match all contributions made during the game against Hardin Valley up to $15,000. The Black-and-Gold fans came through with more than $17,000 that evening, bringing the one-night effort to $32,753.

Don Ledford Automotive got into the spirit as well ,sponsoring an effort through the Buick Drive for Your Students program, which brought in another $10,000 when 552 people came to the school and test drove one of 15 new Buicks in one day. Each also received a certificate for a free oil change at the local dealership.

With a total projected cost of $384,500, the fundraising effort needs a strong push to finish things off.

“This is a project that is being completely funded by private donations and fundraisers, so there is no burden placed on school system funds,” remarked Floyd. “Our alumni and families have been amazing in the response to better our facilities, and we deeply appreciate it.”

Bears place Nine Players on All-Region

By Staff Reports:

Eight Bears were selected to the Region 1-6A All-Region team. Cole Copeland was selected as the Offensive Player of the Ye along with Seniors Tyler Carpenter (WR), Ryan Still (OLB) and Trevon Ware (Corner), junior Cason Still (S), and sophomores Jay Person (OLB), Lameric Tucker (WR), and Nick Howell WR/P) were honored with placement on the team. Jake Tolleson was selected to the All-Academic Team.

Cole Copeland, a Mr. Football Finalist, finished his junior season with 40 Touchdowns, 26 passing and 14 rushing bringing his career touchdowns to 82, with 26 rushing and 56 passing. Cole threw for 2,489 yards and rushed for 864 yards, bringing his career totals to 1,854 yards rushing and 5,105 yards passing. 

Tyler Carpenter, a first team best of preps, finished the season with 69 receptions for 1,184 yards and 14 touchdowns finishing his career with 132 receptions for 2,153 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Ryan Still, finished the season tied for first in tackles with 91; 46 solos, 46 assists, 8 sacks, 10 TFL, 1 INT, and 1 FUM REC. Ryan finishes his career with 169 tackles.

Trevon Ware, finished the season with 32 tackles; 24 solos, 8 assist, and 3 TFL. Trevon finishes his career with 76 tackles and 1 INT. 

Cason Still, finished the season with 61 tackles; 27 solos, 34 assists, 2 TFL and 1 INT. 

Jay Pearson, finished the season tied  for first in tackles with 91; 45 solos, 46 assits, 4 sacks 12 TFL, and 2 INT.

Lamerick Tucker, finished the season with 50 rec. for 551 yards and 6 TD's, 16 rushes for 98 yards and 1 TD.

Nick Howell, finished the season with 35 rec. for 455 yds and 2 TD's. 

Jake Tolleson, finished the season with 22 tackles; 8 solos, 14 assists, 1 sack and 2 TFL.

"We are very proud of these players who were selected by the other coaches in the region. Its an honor to be recognized by others for the hard work and dedication that these young men have put into the program," stated Coach Floyd.

     ​Copeland All-State Selection

RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor

Bradley Central Bears quarterback Cole Copeland received yet another accolade this week when he was named to the 6A All-State football team.

Copeland was a Tennessee Mr. Football semifinalist and was Offensive Player of the Year Region 1-6A. Cole was also a first team offensive selection to the Chattanooga Times Best of Preps.

While running the Bears' offense, Copeland completed 187 passes out of 281 attempts for 2,489 yards with a completion rate of 67 percent. The strong-armed QB found the end zone 26 times through the air and was picked off only six times.

The 6-foot-3 junior was also a serious threat on the ground when he tucked the ball and ran. Copeland carried 203 times for 862 yards averaging just over four yards per touch with 14 TDs. Bears head coach Damon Floyd has confidence enough in his field general to give him sole control of the offensive unit even to the point where he has the go to make checks at the line of scrimmage when he recognizes defensive formations.

“He, along with the rest of his family, are the ultimate competitors. I said before last season I wouldn't trade him for any quarterback in the nation,”said Floyd. “The sky is the limit for Cole. He has all the tools necessary to get him as far as he wants to go.”

The Bradley offensive star is being seriously recruited by Mississippi State, East Carolina, Temple and numerous Football Championship Subdivision schools.

Copeland comes by his skills honestly following brother Bryce — now at Lee University with the basketball Flames — and sister Brooke who stars for the Florida Lady Gators women's basketball team. The rest of the family including his father, mother and uncles have also made their names as Bradley Central sports stars.

“Cole comes by his skills naturally, said Floyd. “He is the only junior I have had in my 10 years of coaching voted team captain by his teammates. He leads by example most of all but became a more vocal leader this year. His leadership style has become different from his brother (who was also quarterback for the Bears). Bryce didn't say much at all he was a leader by his actions. Cole does a little more talking than Bryce did.”

 Alumni Honored .... Queen Crowned Money Raised


Homecoming for the 100th year of Bradley Central was filled with glamour and glitz, a victory over a Super 32 team, and a showing of support for Bear Pride. The night started with a presentation of helmets to three of the original member of the Loyal Bears Boosters club. Brian Copeland, the current Bear Boosters President presented an authentic Bear helmet to Lawrence Matthews, Ronald Rogers and Ralph Chase in appreciation for their dedication to Bear Athletics. The Bears appreciate their unwavering support throughout the years including a large investment they made in the early years of the Booster Club.

Throughout the game donations came in toward the new wellness center including a matching donation of $15,000. The Bears managed to raise over $32,000 over the course of the night.. There is still time to show your support for the Bears.

You can donate through the PEF and don’t forget you can participate in the Bear Down and Drive campaign by Don Ledford. Visit their site to pre-register for your test drive on Thursday October 22.

         Trevon Ware Signs with Bethel

JOE CANNON Banner Assistant Sports Editor

When he visited the Bethel University campus, Bradley Central defensive back Trevon Ware knew he had found the place for him.

“It felt like the place to be for me. It felt like home,” the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder stated Wednesday after signing a national letter of intent to play for the Wildcats.

“It seemed like the same culture as I have here at Bradley,” he added. “When I sat down with the coaches, they had a great plan for me.”

Ware will be shifting from cornerback to free safety to utilize his 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

“He will make the adjustment well. We considered doing that with him here, but we needed him more at the corner,” declared Bear defensive coordinator Courtney Braswell. “Trevon is a tremendous competitor. He’s long and athletic with speed. He can cover a lot of ground.

“His improvement from his junior to his senior year was unbelievable,” Coach Bradwell remarked. “They (Bethel) got a good one.”

Bradley head coach Damon Floyd echoed the sentiment. “He has a great passion for the game. He worked really hard in the offseason. I’m really proud that he has reached his goal of playing on the next level.”

During his senior season with the state-ranked Bears, Ware had 32 tackles, 17 assists, five pass deflections, a pair of fumble recoveries, plus he blocked a punt and scooped it up for a 40-yard return for a touchdown against Science Hill.

“Playing at Bradley has been a great experience fo me. I’ve loved every minute of it,” Ware proclaimed. “I’m truly thankful to all my coaches who helped me get to this point.”

Bradley went 7-4 this past season, falling in the opening round of the TSSAA playoffs.

Located in McKenzie, Bethel is an NAIA school and a member of the Mid-South Conference.

The Wildcats went 4-7 last year and open the fall campaign on Aug. 27 against Missouri Baptist.

Ware intends to study business while at the West Tennessee school.

Help Bradley Athletics by giving to the "Bear Down and Give" fundraising campaign. Follow the Bear Down and Give link to make your contribution today.

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Super 32

Tyler Carpenter Receives Accolades

By Staff Reports:

Tyler Carpenter has been selected to the Chattanooga TImes -Free Press Offensive Best of Preps  first team. This is Tyler's second accolade as he was selected All-Region 1 6A earlier this year.

Carpenter shredded opposing teams secondaries with 69 receptions for 1,184 yards and 14 touchdowns. He finishes his outstanding career with 132 receptions for 2,153 yards and 25 touchdowns. 

"Tyler has had an outstanding career here at Bradley. His leadership on and off the field has been a great example to our young players. We have had quite a few great receivers play here at Bradley, Tyler has proved he belongs in the category as one of the best." a proud Coach Floyd stated. 

"Carp"s hard work in the weight room paid huge dividends his last two years here at Bradley. He became such a strong receiver who could get off press coverage and create separation from a defender! This created some tough match-ups for defenses." said Coach Freeman, "He and Cole spent lots of Sundays on their own throwing and catching. Most of the credit goes to them for developing that quarterback to receiver combination."

"Tyler's size and strength gave us the  ability to move him around and line him up at different places whether at tight end or at wide out. This put a lot of pressure on defenses to defend him," Coach Floyd added.

Tyler has signed with Lee University to play baseball and continue his education. 

"What impresses me the most about Tyler is how he represents himself, his family, his school, and his team. He has been a pleasure to coach,"  responded Coach Floyd.

​Bears Spring Scimmages help find Depth

By Staff Reports

The Bradley Bears finished spring with positive showings in their scrimmages with Baylor and Soddy Daisy. The Bears came out on top in both scrimmages defeating the Red Raiders 4-2 on the road and the Trojans 8-3 in Bear Stadium. Offensively, the Bears looked strong and did not turn the ball over in either scrimmage while the defense shined getting two fumble recoveries and two goal line stands against each team, during the down and distance periods.

“Overall the coaching staff was really pleased with the effort and intensity from the players in both scrimmages. Defensively we were very physical and got a lot of guys to the football. We had a little trouble containing the quarterbacks at times, but Baylor and Soddy both have outstanding guys back there. Both Lorenzo White for Baylor and Justin Cook for Soddy can present problems for defenses when they break the pocket,” remarked Coach Floyd.

 “The positives were, we created some turnovers and bowed our neck a few times in the red zone. We were missing some guys defensively that are still in spring sports along with a few who are still recovering from injuries from last year, so we feel like we built some depth during this spring,” Coach Floyd added.

“Offensively we looked really good at times, but we have to keep working and improving to get to where we want to be. We have lots of playmakers on offense and we had seven different guys find the end zone during the scrimmages so that’s a big positive,” emphasized Coach Freeman.

“We really have some outstanding guys who play for each other and play unselfishly, that was good to see from a coaching staff perspective,” Coach Freeman added.

The Baylor scrimmage format was two rounds of 10 plays then down and distance the rest of the scrimmage. The defense held the Baylor offense to two touchdowns while recovering a fumble and getting a goal line stand during the down and distance portion of the scrimmage. Offensively, the Bears moved the ball consistently down the field scoring on four of its possessions.

The format for the Soddy scrimmage was one round of 10 plays then down and distance the rest of the scrimmage. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, scoring on each of its possessions. The defense slowed a very good Soddy Daisy offensive while holding them to three touchdowns on the day. The defense had a nice goal line stand during the first down and distance series to stall the Trojans at the eight yard line.

“The most import thing is we got through spring without any injuries and got to see a lot of guys on film to evaluate and make adjustments going into fall camp. We will give the guys a couple of days off, watch some film and get back to work for the summer next week, its go time, our first game will be here before you know it,” explained Coach Floyd.