Tucker embodies true 'Bear' spirit


By JOE CANNON

The 45 championship banners that adorn the walls of Jim Smiddy Arena reminds Bradley Central athletes of the standard of excellence that has gone before them.

But more than adding to the TSSAA public school’s top state championships total, the goal of the Bradley coaches goes well beyond the playing field.

One current Bear state championship-winning coach was overheard recently explaining to his team the importance of not just winning in athletic contests, but winning in life as well.

“These days especially, college coaches are looking for more than just your win/loss record. They want players of character — ones that are going to do the right thing and make right decisions in life.”

Those were the exact words a pair of Bear coaches used to describe senior Lameric Tucker, who recently wrapped up the most productive receiving numbers in the school’s 101-year football history and is currently enjoying his final season on the hardwood, as well.

“He is everything a coach could want in a player,” proclaimed head Bradley football coach Damon Floyd. “He works hard in practice, in the weight room, in the games. He’s a great teammate. He’s unselfish. He has all the intangibles.”

Bear head basketball coach Chuck Clark echoed the sentiment. “He’s a natural leader, an outstanding young man. His peers are drawn to him. The younger kids gravitate toward him because he does the right thing.”

Both coaches stated Tucker “is quiet, but leads by example.”

“He is able to be blunt with a teammate when it’s needed, but he’s earned that right. He doesn’t go over the edge,” related Clark.

“He has a lot of God-given ability, and has worked hard to develop his skills. He’s not cocky. He’s very humble,” assessed Floyd.

“He never missed a workout in his four years. Even when he was in basketball or track, he’d still come early in the morning for offseason workouts with the football team.”

“When I think about who I want to be like, it’s Lameric,” commented sophomore teammate Saylor Clark, who is also a starting receiver on the football team and a fellow starting guard for the Bear basketball squad.

“When I see what he does and the success he’s had being two-time, all-state (football), it makes me want to do the same things.

“He’s always been willing to help me improve and is there to talk to,” Saylor continued. “As well as being a great teammate, he’s also a good friend.

“He has never made me feel like I wasn’t important because I was younger. He doesn’t treat you like that.

“He has helped me a lot in basketball and football. He’s a lot to look up to.”

“My teammates are my brothers,” Lameric related. “Being a member of the teams here at Bradley is like being family.

“Now that I’m a senior, I try to be a big brother for the younger guys,” he added. “I’d do anything to help them.”

“Lameric talks and communicates with the younger players,” Coach Clark stated. “He gives them words of encouragement. That’s part of his Christian faith.

“He works as unto the Lord. He is one of the special ones that puts his faith into practice.

“He has shown a lot of growth and maturity over the last few years. He realizes his ability comes from the Lord. He practices and plays with a lot of heart,” the hoop coach added.

Moving from southern Illinois to Cleveland as a sixth-grader, he didn’t start playing sports at Lake Forest Middle School until his seventh-grade year.

“I had played baseball in Illinois, but I got into other sports once I got down here,” Tucker explained. “It helped make the adjustment easier.

“I was living with my grandparents and my aunt wanted us to move here so she could take care of them,” Tucker related.

“My mother (Lameric’s grandmother Lorene Jeter) suffered a major stroke in October of 2011. I moved my parents and Lameric to Cleveland to care for them,” explained Sharon Brevard. 

“I have always told Lameric, if anything ever happened to my parents (Lorene and Herman Jeter), that I would be there for him.

“I don't think he was too happy to come stay with me at the time, because I am a disciplinarian. As time went on, we developed a great relationship and bond. Lameric has been such a joy for me to raise.

“He is the blessing of a son, that God has given me, since I have 2 daughters,” Sharon declares. “My husband, Broderick, helped him early with his football techniques. “We have raised him to be a person of integrity, (to) trust in God, and to always stay humble. We are so excited to see what the future has in store for ‘Baby.’”

“I didn’t really want to be here at first and wanted to move back (to Illinois), but now I love it here and don’t want to leave,” Lameric related.

He won’t have to go far to play college ball as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga earlier this week.

The three-sport athlete has played basketball and football all four years at Bradley and this spring will be a part of the Bear track team for the third time, using his 4.5 speed to run the 100 and 4x100 relay races.

On the girdiron this past season, the 6-foot, 170-pounder pulled in 78 catches for 1,604 yards (20.1 average per catch) and found the end zone 12 times.

He also carried the ball 35 times for 137 yards (3.9 ypc), scoring four more touchdowns on his way to 2,199 all-purpose.

“He’s a great football player — he’s physical, fast, has a great 40-inch vertical leap and is a very strong blocker when we didn’t throw the ball to him,” Floyd assessed.

For his career, Tucker is in the Top 10 in state history in four receiving categories to go along with his Bradley records.

A three-year starter, he finished with career record marks of 5,154 total offensive yards, which is No. 1 in TSSAASports.com records.

His 266 catches are second on the same listing, while his 28 receiving TDs near the Top 10.

Tucker also holds the eighth (1,604) and 10th (1,452) best single season receiving marks on the current TSSAA list.

He is also seventh (91) and 11th (78) in total receptions in a season.

“It didn’t matter if he was double- or triple-teamed, he could still make the catch,” related Coach Floyd.

A two-time All-Region performer as well, Tucker helped led the Bears to a 10-3 record, their best season since 1980, and a spot in the TSSAA playoff quarterfinals this past season.  

“I’m proud that we were able to give Coach Floyd his best season,” Lameric stated.

“All the coaches here show you they care about you, more than just a players. Not many coaches would do what our coaches do for us, on and off the field. They care about what kind of person we are.

“Looking back on my time here (at Bradley), it’s the relationships with my coaches and teammates that I’m going to remember the most.”

On the hardwood, Tucker is a two-year starter and was the team’s “sixth man” his sophomore season.

“He has a mental toughness and a competitive nature as close to Cole’s (Copeland) as I’ve seen,” Coach Clark remarked.

“He goes all out, whether it’s practice, a game, in his school work. He gives it everything he’s got.”

“We have a very young team, with him as the only returning starter, and he is helping these guys develop into what is going to be a very good team by the time the season is done,” the Bear mentor proclaimed.

“The responsibility is completely on me to show these (younger) guys the Bradley tradition,” Tucker responded.

“High school has been a difficult balance, going straight from one sport to another, but it has helped get me ready for college and what’s next in my life.”

“Lameric is what being a Bear is all about,” declared Floyd. “He’s not only one of the greatest players in our school’s history, he’s a great person.”  



Standifer and Tucker named TFCA All-State


By JOE CANNON

A pair of dangerous dynamic duos were selected as members of the Tennessee Football Coaches Association’s All-State teams. The names of honorees were released this week.

Setting numerous school records, along with impressive state and national numbers, Bradley Central’s Dylan Standifer and Lameric Tucker, plus Walker Valley’s Kolten Gibson and Zeke Westfield, were on the group’s Class 6A and 5A honor lists respectively.

Tucker, Gibson and Westfield received similar honors from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association a couple of weeks ago.

Standifer and Tucker led the Bears to a 10-3 record, their best since 1980, and a spot in the TSSAA playoff quarterfinals.

After playing wide receiver and serving as backup quarterback to Mr. Tennessee Football finalist Cole Copeland the previous two years, Standifer made the most of his first season as the top Bear signal caller.

Surpassing Copeland’s single-season school records, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior completed 189-of-268 passes, making him second in the state among QBs with more than 40 attempted passes with a 70.5 completion percentage.

His single-season school records of 3,146 completion yards and 28 TD passes also saw him throw just seven interceptions, only three of which came in the final 12 games.

A quick-footed runner, Standifer also ran the ball 90 times for 202 yards, finding the end zone 10 times himself.

He also scored a 2-point conversion to directly account for 230 of Bradley’s 419 total points.

Standifer had four games that are in the Top 10 in school history for combined yards — 366 against Ooltewah, 356 versus Soddy-Daisy, 315 against Walker Valley and 298 vs. William Blount.

He also posted three of the top dozen single-game passing performances with 355 vs. S-D (No. 6), 318 against Ooltewah (No. 9) and 303 vs. WV (No. 12).

In the Bear victory over McMinn County this season he tied for the third place in Bradley history for the most touchdown passes in a game with five.

“Dylan is very deserving. He had one of the best seasons in the 100-year history of our program,” declared Bear head coach Damon Floyd.

“He played incredibly. He is one of the most poised quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. He makes good decisions and he doesn’t force things.”

Tucker is the third Bradley player in the last five years, along with Copeland and James Stovall, to be a two-time all-stater, being named to the TSWA both of the last two seasons.

Tucker wrapped up his Black-and-Gold career owning most of the program’s receiving records.

“Lameric is very deserving of everything he’s gotten,” proclaimed Coach Floyd. “He’s everything a coach could want in a player, both on and off the field.

The past campaign, the 6-foot, 170-pounder pulled in 78 catches for 1,604 yards (20.1 average per catch) and found the end zone 12 times.

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga commit also carried the ball 35 times for 137 yards (3.9 ypc), scoring four more touchdowns.

The 4.5 speedster also averaged 26 yards on 16 kick returns, with a long return of 65 yards, allowing him to finish with 2,199 all-purpose yards and 16 TDs.

“He’s a great football player — he’s physical, fast, has a great, 40-inch vertical leap and is a very unselfish player,” Coach Floyd assessed.

For his career, Tucker is in the Top 10 in state history in four receiving categories to go along with his Bradley records.

A three-year starter, he finished with career record marks of 5,154 total offensive yards, which is No. 1 in TSSAASports.com records.

His 266 catches are second on the same listing, while his 28 receiving TDs near the Top 10.

Tucker also holds the eighth (1,604)  and 10th (1,452) best single season receiving marks on the current TSSAA list.

He is also seventh (91) and 11th (78) in total receptions in a season.

Tucker also has eight of the Top 15 single-game receiving performance in Bear history, including four he set this past season — 191 at Soddy-Daisy, 176 vs. WV, 170 against McMinn County and 165 at Ooltewah.

He holds the mark for the top two receiving seasons in Bear history with 1,452 yards on 91 catches in 2016 to go with this past year’s numbers.


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2018 Honored Tradition; Relentless Pride


By: Staff Reports


The Bradley Bears 2018 football banquet held at First Baptist Church was a huge success. The senior class, along with their underclassmen teammates celebrated another outstanding season that has produced many accolades and awards for numerous players.


Bear Award: Lameric Tucker

Rex Dockery: Lameric Tucker

David Weir: Adam Mullis

Robbie Tyler: Stephan Muhonen

MVP Offense: Dylan Standifer

MVP Defense: Jay Person

Special Teams: Cole Reyer

Iron Man: Jake Pressley

Bust Face: Hayden Owenby

Coaches Award Defense: Henley Headrick

Coaches Award Offense: Tucker Bentley

Hog Award Defense: Kevin Gentry

Hog Award Offense: Chris Cash

Play Maker Defense: Jeffery Brewer

Play Maker Offense: Nick Howell

Most Improved Defense: Damon Floyd

Most Improved Offense: Bailey Timmons

Newcomer Defeense: Parker Johnson

Newcomer Offense: Saylor Clark




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.

 Latest News

Region 2 6A

Presley Signs with Pioneers


By JOE CANNON

Although National Signing Day was a week ago, one Bradley Central gridiron standout decided to take a little more time to consider his options.

“'JP’ has had several offers for a while, but he wanted to make sure he was making the right decision for him,” explained Bear head coach Damon Floyd on Wedesday, after senior Jake Presley joined a long list of Bradley Countians who are going to play for Tusculum College.

“They have a great program with a newer coaching staff (head coach Jerry Odom completed his second season this past fall) that I had an instant bond with,” related Presley, who became the ninth Bradley player to accept a collegiate offer in the past three months.

“The coaches are really concerned about what is best for the players, and that really impressed me.”

Presley chose the Pioneers over offers from the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.), Cumberland University (Tenn.) and Shorter University.

“It’s just far enough to feel like I’ve moved away from home, but close enough to visit whenever I want to,” he said of the 2½-hour drive to Greeneville.

A 4.0 GPA student, Presley plans “to study biology/pre-med”  at Tennessee's oldest college and the 28th-oldest operating college in the United States.

“‘JP’ is one of the hardest workers and strongest players we’ve had here,” Coach Floyd said of the 5-foot-10, 200-pound defensive back.

“With his speed (he holds the school record in the 400-meter dash at 50.05 seconds), power and tackling ability, he was a great safety for us.

“He added 20 pounds of muscle during the last offseason. He’s a ball hawk and loves to hit,” the Bear coach said of the three-year starter.

Presley made 107 solo tackles and was in on another 96, plus had 10 tackles for loss and five takeaways the past three seasons.

During that span, the Bears went 26-10, including a 10-3 mark this past fall, advancing to the TSSAA State quarterfinal for the first time since 1980.

“These seniors, including 'JP,’ have set the bar awfully high for future Bear teams to follow,” Coach Floyd praised. “This has been a great group that truly care about each other on and off the field. They have represented, and will continue to represent, Bradley very well.” 

A three-sport athlete, Presley is a standout for the Bear baseball and track teams in the spring, the latter of which Tusculum has said he has the opportunity to do for them as well if he wants to.

An NCAA Division II school, Tusculum competes in the South Atlantic Conference, along with Carson-Newman, Catawba, Wingate, Newberry, Limestone, Lenoir-Rhyne and Mars Hill.


 2018 Football Schedule


Aug.  17   Farragut                 Away
Aug.  24   Walker Valley         Home  Aug.  31   Ooltewah*              Home
Sept.   7   Bye
Sept   14  Cleveland*              Away
Sept.  21   Rhea County         Away
Sept.  28   McMinn County*    Home
Oct.     4    Soddy Daisy          Home
Oct    12    Heritage*               Away
Oct.   19    William Blount*      Away
Oct.   26    Maryville*              Home


Bears Receive All-County Honors


By PATRICK MacCOON

From hard hitters to record-setting quarterbacks and even nationally ranked receivers, this past high school football season had no shortage of high-quality talent on Bradley County's trio of teams.

To honor those achievements, the Cleveland Daily Banner has put together the first All Bradley County Team since the early 1980s. 

Comprising the list are 27 standout players, a coach and several honorable mentions.

Bradley Central head man Damon Floyd was named Coach of the Year, while Walker Valley quarterback Kolten Gibson and  Bear linebacker Jay Person took the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards.

After taking over a program that had gone 9-41 in its previous five seasons, including 1-19 the two before he took over, Floyd has rebuilt the proud Bear program and led it to the TSSAA playoffs each of the last eight seasons.

His 12th season at the helm proved to be his best. The team's  10-win total was its first since 1980, as the state-ranked squad advanced to the state quarterfinals.

“I am very fortunate,” said Coach Floyd, who is 73-59 as the "Papa Bear" and became the second-winningest coach in the 102-year-old storied program. “I have been blessed to coach a very talented, hardworking and tough team. They were very unselfish and enjoyed Friday nights together.”

Despite having his top three wide receivers graduate from the year before, Gibson didn’t seem to pay any mind.

The four-year starter completed 256-of-426 passes for 3,341 yards and 36 touchdowns, while carrying the ball 134 times for 681 yards (5.1 ypc) and seven scores.

Gibson’s 626 total yards (526 passing, 100 rushing) against Stone Memorial ranks second in state history and was the second game of his career with eight touchdowns.

“It means a lot to be given this honor, considering how much talent is in Bradley County right now,” said Gibson, who finished his career with a Southeast Tennessee record 117 touchdowns (89 passing, 28 rushing). “I was lucky to have the receivers and offensive line I had this year. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

Meanwhile, bringing the big hits into opponents' backfields was Person.

 The three-year Bear starter and Appalachian State commit had four double-digit tackle performances to go with a four-sack game against Rhea County, which helped put together a career mark  of 107 tackles, 14 sacks and 25 tackles for loss.

“To win DPOY is a huge honor,” said the Bradley outside linebacker, who finished his career with 270 tackles (54 TFL), 24 sacks and 11 takeaways. “This means a lot to not only me, but my team and my family. I wouldn’t be where I am without my teammates and all of my coaching staff.”

ALL-COUNTY OFFENSE

Quarterback

The post-Cole Copeland era at Bradley began with a bang as Dylan Standifer stepped in and set new single season passing records.

With spot-on accuracy, Standifer completed 189-of-268 (.705) passes for 3,156 yards and 28 touchdowns. After a four-interception debut, the junior gunslinger went on to throw 27 touchdowns with only three pickoffs over his last 12 games.

Sneakily, the 5-foot-10 signal caller ran for just 184 yards on 94 carries, 10 of which found paydirt.

Running backs

Cleveland’s Keegan Jones and Bradley’s Adam Mullis put forth quite a show this season combining for 10 games with 100-plus total yards.

The Blue Raider senior speedster (4.44 in the 40-yard dash) led all area backs with 1,209 rushing yards and 9.4 yards per carry average. Jones finished with 1,718 all-purpose yards (132 receiving, 377 kick return) and 17 touchdowns.

He had 326 all-purpose yards and four scores in a 67-47 win over Walker Valley.

Lowering his shoulder pads, Mullis rumbled for 862 yards (5.7 ypc), five scores and three 100-plus rushing performances.

The senior's career best outing was a 171-yard, two-score effort to help top Dobyns-Bennett in the playoffs.

Wide receivers

Between Walker Valley’s Zeke Westfield, Bradley’s Lameric Tucker and Cleveland’s Micaleous Elder, a total of 39 receiving scores were hauled in this season.

Westfield’s leaping ability at 6-foot-5 helped the first-year senior starter amaze for a state best 105 catches for 1,624 yards (14 TD). Those totals ranked 8th and 13th in the nation, respectively.

His 310-yard, three-score performance helped the Mustangs take down a Red Bank team that advanced to the state semifinals this season.

Bradley’s UT-Chattanooga commit broke the 5,000-yard career receiving barrier with 77 catches for 1,604 yards (20th in country) and 12 scores. Tucker also found the end zone four times on the ground to finish his career with 38 career touchdowns.

The Blue Raiders junior slot receiver darted his way past opposing defensive backs to the tune of 41 catches for 785 yards (19.1 ypc).

Elder scored 13 times through the air and seven times on the ground, while totaling 1,288 yards from scrimmage.

Offensive line

Selected to the all-county team were Christopher Cash (6-foot-6, 300) and Tucker Bentley (6-foot-3, 225) from Bradley, Caleb Flickner (6-foot-3, 270) and Kevin Martinez (6-foot-2, 260) for Cleveland and Walker Valley's Koby Hooker (5-foot-11, 280).

Cash, an Air Force Academy commit, and Bentley led the way up front for a Bear offense that scored 419 points (32.2 per game) and averaged 248 passing and 156 rushing yards per game for 5,093 total yards.

Martinez and Flickner were a part of the Blue Raider front paving the way for 421 points (38.3 per game) along with 215 rushing and 194 passing yards per contest (4,500 total).

Hooker was stout up front for the Mustangs, who averaged 33 points per game and the state’s second best mark of 334.4 passing yards per game. WV had 4,407 total offensive yards this season.

Athlete

Bradley Central do-it-all athlete Nick Howell fought his way to a stellar season, as he caught 36 passes for 537 yards and seven touchdowns while carrying the ball 81 times for 423 yards and eight scores.

The senior totaled 204 yards  (140 rushing, 64 receiving) and a score in a 27-21 victory against Cleveland. His powerful touchdown run against the Blue Raiders was posted on MaxPreps’ Twitter page.

All COUNTY DEFENSE

Defensive line

Bradley seniors Kevin Gentry and Henley Headrick make up the front line along with Walker Valley’s Hunter Duggan, also a senior.

Gentry finished with 56 tackles (11 TFL) and seven sacks, while Headrick had 48 stops (9 TFL) and five sacks for a defense that brought down opposing quarterbacks 37 times behind the line of scrimmage.

Duggan led a young Mustang defense with 112 total tackles (72 solo), 12 tackles for loss and four sacks.

Linebackers

A Blue Raider trio of Logan Stutzman, Chase Oliver and Clark Lockerby combined for 236 tackles, 16 sacks, 26 TFLS and created 10 turnovers.

Oliver’s pressured resulted in 12 sacks, while Stutzman caused seven turnovers and Lockerby finished with 88 tackles.

Also selected to the team was Bradley’s Mason Mitchell. The sure-tackler finished with 66 stops (8 TFL) and forced two turnovers.

The Bear senior also blocked a kick and recovered a blocked punt (by teammate Parker Johnson) for a touchdown.

Cornerbacks

The cornerback combination of Bradley’s Jeffery Brewer and Cleveland’s David Dorsey gave opposing receivers fits this past season.

Brewer was one of only two defensive backs to hold WV’s Westfield under 100 yards this season. BC’s top corner finished with 54 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and nine pass break ups.

Dorsey also had four interceptions and led all defensive backs with 68 tackles.

Safety

With great trust to not let anything past them, Bradley’s Jake Presley and Cleveland’s Romeo Wykle were game-changing forces at safety.

Presley finished with 62 tackles (4 TFL) and one takeaway.

On top of leading the greater Chattanooga area in yards per catch (28.2), as Wykle caught 19 passes for 536 yards and eight scores, he also came away with 51 stops (5 TFL), two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Special teamer

One of the most overlooked, but very valuable areas of the game is a standout special teams player.

Bradley linebacker and long snapper Cole Reyher was key in stopping kick returners in their tracks, as he came away with 37 tackles on the season and also had one takeaway.

Place kicker

With a game-winning 26-yard field goal in the final seconds on the road to upset state-ranked Red Bank, Walker Valley's Charlie Swafford earned the kicking honor with his accuracy.

He was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts this season, with a long of 31, and converted 36-of-38 PAT’s.

Honorable mention

Bradley: WR Stephen Muhonen (47-645, 3 TD), LB Hayden Owenby (71 total tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks), DB Damon "Deuce" Floyd (56 tackles, 2 TFL, 4 PD, INT), OL Tyler Collier (6-foot-4, 285) K Clay Shoemaker (4 FG, 45 XP).

Cleveland: LB Logan Strickland (85 tackles, 2 TFL), QB Kellye Cawood (28 total TDs), DL Victor Dodd (40 tackles, 3 sacks). K Harshil Patel (41 yd FG long, 42 XP)


Walker Valley: WR Brock Gibson (35-622 10 TD), LB Kole Hall (86 tackles, 5 TFL).


Bears Have Big National Signing Day


By JOE CANNON

Bradley Central is no stranger to excitement on National Signing Day, but having eight Bear football players confirm their college choices Wednesday is a school record.

“This is a really good group, the most I’ve ever been a part of at one time to get to continue playing,” remarked longtime Bradley head coach Damon Floyd, who also revealed two more Bear players are still contemplating offers as well.

“The thing as a coach is the fact they want to keep playing makes you proud. They obviously enjoyed their time here. They worked hard and had great success.

“To be a part of having this many to go on to play college ball at one time is something special,” he added.

A trio of Black-and-Gold standouts — Lameric Tucker (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), Jay Person (Appalachian State) and Chris Cash (Air Force) — took care of signing their National Letters of Intent during the NCAA’s early signing period in December, but joined five of their teammates’ for the celebration.

A pair of  “Black Hole Defense” stars — Jeffrey Brewer and Jordan McIllwain — are heading to Georgia to play for Shorter University in the NCAA D-II Gulf South Conference, while three other Bears — Kevin Gentry (Maryville College), Adam Mullis (Maryville College) and Tyler Collier (Thomas More College) — are heading the NCAA D-III route.

Jake Presley and Stephen Muhonen are the Bradley players expected to make their decisions soon.

“JP (Presley) is trying to decide between signing for football or track, while Muhonen has an offer from Cumberland, but may decide to try to go somewhere and walk on,” related Coach Floyd.

“These guys, as a collective group, were great not only on the field, but off as well.

“They did a great job of getting their grades in order and being able to continue playing football and getting their education at the next level,” the “Papa Bear” commented.

Having been the top Bear since 2006, Floyd stated, “This group is special to me. They are the same age as my son (Damon “Deuce” Floyd). I’ve watched them grow up and have gotten really close to them.

“They are a really close group and have had a huge impact on our program,” he said in reference to them going 26-10 the past three seasons, including a 10-3 mark this past fall and advancing to the TSSAA State Quarterfinals for the first time since 1980.

“The younger guys look at this group as the ones to be the measuring stick.

“They have a lot of perseverance. They had a goal and they worked very hard for it not only in the field, but in the classroom as well,” stated Coach Floyd.

“I think having been in the Super 32 and playing at the 6A level has helped our program and these guys to get the offers they have gotten. Playing that type of competition and doing well gets college coaches’ attention.”

A dynamic, speedy receiver with a tremendous 40-inch vertical leaping ability, Tucker got plenty of attention as he set the 101-year-old program’s records in almost every receiving category.

Joining Cole Copeland and James Stovall as the third Bradley player in the last five years to become a two-time all-stater, Tucker wrapped up his Black-and-Gold career also owning Top 10 state marks in four receiving categories.

A three-year starter, he finished with career with 5,154 total offensive yards, which is No. 1 in TSSAASports.com records.

His 266 catches are second on the same list, while his 28 receiving TDs are near the Top 10.

Tucker also holds the eighth (1,604) and 10th (1,452) best single season receiving marks in  TSSAA history.

He is also seventh (91) and 11th (78) in total receptions in a season.

This past campaign, the 6-foot, 170-pounder pulled in 78 catches for 1,604 yards (20th in the country) and found the end zone 12 times.

The UTC signee also carried the ball 35 times for 137 yards (3.9 ypc), scoring four more touchdowns.

The 4.5 speedster also averaged 26 yards on 16 kick returns, with a long return of 65 yards, allowing him to finish with 2,199 all-purpose yards and 16 TDs.

A three-year Bear starter, Person had four double-digit tackle performances this past season, including a four-sack game against Rhea County.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound outside linebacker put together a career best of 107 tackles, 14 sacks and 25 tackles for loss to be named the Region 2 Defensive Player of the Year this past fall.

Person finished his career with 270 tackles (54 TFL), 24 sacks and 11 takeaways.

Choosing to go play for Appy State, Person will be coached by former Bradley and Tennessee All-American linebacker Dale Jones.

With Cash (6-foot-6, 300) at right tackle and Collier (6-foot-4, 285) at left guard leading the way up front, the potent Bear offense scored 419 points (32.2 per game) and averaged 248 passing and 156 rushing yards per game for 5,093 total yards this past season.

With the pair providing the protection for the past three seasons, Bradley quarterbacks have completed 69.5 percent through the air and scored 111 total touchdowns (Cole Copeland 73, Dylan Standifer 37, Tucker Pope 1).

Mullis benefitted from the duo’s blocking, rushing for 860 yards on 153 carries (5.6 ypc) in 2017.

The 5-foot-8, 185-pound bulldog gained 2,082 career yards and scored 16 times on 414 rushes and four receptions, three of which found the end zone.

Brewer and McIllwain, both cornerbacks, had very similar numbers this past season.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Brewer made 33 solo tackles, plus was in on 21 others, broke up nine passes, had two forced fumbles and an interception, which he returned for 32 yards.

After being in on 16 tackles his junior season, plus having a takeaway, the 6-foot, 180-pound McIllwain posted 28 solo tackles and 31 assists, with five tackles for loss and a QB sack, plus pair of pass break ups in 2017.

An undersized defensive lineman at 5-foot-11, 195, Gentry powered his way to 59 tackles, including 20 solos, 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and posted 6.5 sacks after switching over from the offensive line last season. He also had a pair of QB hurries, a forced fumble and a recovery.

“These young men are going to continue to be a success where they are going and beyond,” proclaimed a proud Coach Floyd.


Tucker Named All-State


By: Joe Cannon


Joining Cole Copeland and James Stovall as the third Bradley player in the last five years to become a two-time all-stater, Tucker wrapped up his Black-and-Gold career owning most of the receiving records in the program’s 101-year history.

“Lameric is very deserving of everything he’s gotten,” proclaimed Bear head coach Damon Floyd. “He’s everything a coach could want in a player both on and off the field.

“He has worked very hard in the weight room and the offseason, as well as giving great performances during the season.”

The past campaign, the 6-foot, 170-pounder pulled in 78 catches for 1,604 yards (20.1 average per catch) and found the end zone 12 times.

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga commit also carried the ball 35 times for 137 yards (3.9 ypc), scoring four more touchdowns.

The 4.5 speedster also averaged 26 yards on 16 kick returns, with a long return of 65 yards, allowing him to finish with 2,199 all-purpose yards and 16 TDs.

“He’s a great football player — he’s physical, fast, has a great 40-inch vertical leap and is a very unselfish player,” Coach Floyd assessed. “He and Stovall are the two best blocking receivers I’ve had since I’ve been here (15 years).”

For his career, Tucker is in the Top 10 in state history in four receiving categories to go along with his Bradley records.

A three-year starter, he finished with career record marks of 5,154 total offensive yards, which is No. 1 in TSSAASports.com records.

His 266 catches are second on the same listing, while his 28 receiving TDs near the Top 10.

Tucker also holds the eighth (1,604)  and 10th (1,452) best single season receiving marks on the current TSSAA list.

He is also seventh (91) and 11th (78) in total receptions in a season.

“It didn’t matter if he was double- or triple-teamed, he could still make the catch,” related Coach Floyd. “He has all the intangibles."

A two-time All-Region performer as well, Tucker helped led the Bears to a 10-3 record, their best ​season since 1980, and a spot in the TSSAA playoff quarterfinals this past season.  

 Muhonen inks with Cumberlands


By PATRICK MACCOON


Doing the “dirty” work and considered the “complete” team player, Bradley Central senior Stephen Muhonen produced a blue-collar and successful gridiron career that he will now take to the next level.


 
“Freshman year in a 7-on-7 in warmups, Stephen broke his collarbone,” BCHS head football coach Damon Floyd said. “Now, he’s signing a scholarship to play college football. He’s been just the player we asked for, and we are definitely going to miss him next year.”
 
Completing the program's first-ever 10-for-10 in wins and total football signees from this year’s senior Bear class, the sure-handed Muhonen signed a scholarship to play for University of the Cumberlands, in Kentucky, Thursday afternoon.
 
“To be a part of history like this is definitely an honor,” Muhonen said. “To have such a big signing class really shows how much work we put in to the game. We had a lot of wins and a lot of high-character guys as well.”
 
Whether stretching out for the pylon, reaching for a first down, taking on a block to spring loose another receiver or making the gutsy over-the-middle-catch, the 6-foot-1 wide receiver made sure he made every second on the field count.
 
“Anytime you threw Stephen the ball it was almost a guarantee he would come down with it,” said BCHS head coach Damon Floyd. “Just like a lot of the guys who have come through here, he worked his way into his role with hard work. He believed he would make every catch. It’s guys like him who have made this program successful.”  
 
In a crosstown rivalry clash with Cleveland, Muhonen helped set up what would later go on to be a decisive score in a 27-21 victory at home on Sept. 15.
 
After penalties pushed Bradley into a third-and-goal from the CHS 32 yard-line, Muhonen came down with a 31-yard catch high above a defender. With 1.5 seconds left before the half, he gave his quarterback Dylan Standifer a chance to leap over his line in for a score and 21-7 lead.
 
“When the ball is up in the air, it’s second nature for me and I am going to do whatever I can to grab it,” Muhonen said. “That catch against Cleveland was one of my proudest moments.
 
“My other favorite moment was when we recovered Dylan’s onside kick against Dobyns-Bennett to help us win. It was a huge win for this program.”
 
With only one dropped pass going through his hands all season, Muhonen was a key to one of the state’s most consistent air attacks.
 
In fact, Bradley’s first ever 3,000-yard passer, as Standifer completed 189-of-271 (.697) for 3,146 yards to go with 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
 
Muhonen was the second leading receiver, behind two-time all-state UTC signee Lameric Tucker. His senior season consisted of 47 catches for 647 yards (13.8 YPC) and three touchdowns.
 
He finished with 108 yards receiving on seven catches against the Blue Raiders, while he set career bests with eight grabs for 145 yards in a victory over Heritage on Oct. 13 at home.
 
Muhonen finished his three-year varsity career with 87 catches for 1,002 yards and four touchdowns.
 
“I really learned a lot from being around all the other great receivers on my team,” Muhonen said. “I would see something Tyler Carpenter or Lameric Tucker would do and I would instill it somehow into my game. It really helps a lot to be a part of a talented unit. It made us all better.”
 
Muhonen, Tucker and fellow senior teammate Nick Howell combined for 163 catches, 2,802 yards and 22 touchdowns to help BC reach double digit wins for the first time since 1980.
 
Moving on to the University of the Cumberlands (NAIA- Mid South Conference), Muhonen will look to major in business and show his toughness on the gridiron in hopes of quickly paving a role with the Patriots.
 
“All of our signees are great competitors,” Floyd said. “To play college football is a tough job. It’s a grind, and not just showing up at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s a yearlong process. Nothing is given to you and our guys will try and fight for their spots. Everyone [playing college football at any level] was a good high school football player where they are going now.”
 
Playing a position where one can work their way up the chart by doing the little things right, while also making the big catch, Muhonen is excited about the future.
 
“We want to make our school proud,” Muhonen said. “It’s sad we are all parting ways, but we made a difference being around each other. I want to be the best I can at the next level.”

With 10 signees out of a senior class that came in with 23 athletes, including Howell and Tucker Bentley, who had offers to play college football but chose other routes, this 2018 class will have its spot in the history books.