February 12, 2013 9:32:50 AM
Brandon Brown has seen a lot of progress in seven seasons at Columbus High School.
Now that he is moving on, Brown can look to the Columbus High powerlifting team's most recent meet and know he has played a part in the program's move into the upper echelon of Class 6A. That success also has played a key role in the ability of the school's football team to compete in one of the state's toughest regions and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
On Saturday, Columbus posted five top-three finishes and went on to finish third as a team in the Class 6A, Region 1 meet. The performances of Corey Brown (third, 275-pound weight class), Jarquarius Clark (third, 220), Kenny Miller (third, super heavyweight), Jeremiah Cain (fourth, 308), Jeremy Morgan (second, 275), and Syboris Pippins (third, 132) helped the team celebrate Brown's last meet with the squad. Brown, who has spent the past seven years at Columbus High, took a job as head football coach and athletic director at Saint Helena Central High in Greensburg, La.
For their accomplishment, the Columbus High powerlifting team is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"They did really well" said Brown, whose last day at Columbus High was Monday. "The guys who competed last year kind of knew what was going on and really, really competed well considering the short amount of time (three or four weeks) we had to prepare."
Brown said Caine was an alternate for senior Jake Thomas, who didn't compete due to the fact he recently returned from competing in the fourth annual International Bowl last week in Austin, Texas. He said the sophomore did well for his first meet and helped bolster the Falcons' lineup.
Brown praised the work of coach James Richardson for taking his place in his absence as he finalized details on his transition to a new job.
Columbus will advance to Charleston to compete next month in the Class 6A North State meet. The state meet will be in April in Jackson. The higher classifications typically compete on Saturday, so Brown said he may try to come back to see the Falcons compete for top honors. He said he doesn't want to be in the way if he returns for the overall Class 6A meet, and said he was especially proud of the boys for their effort in a "send-off" meet for him.
"The boys really responded well," Brown said. "After the meet, they told me it was for me and that they were really sad I was leaving and that they did it for me."
Brown feels the "family" mind-set between the powerlifting and football teams has been key to helping both programs move forward. He said the entire coaching staff from head coach Tony Stanford all the way down works together and ensures everyone does the same routine to see the benefits. He hopes that hard work will continue in his absence. He said he hates leaving Columbus High, which was his first job out of college, but he knows the move, which will put him about an hour away from family, is a great step for his family.
"This is a big blessing for me and my family," Brown said. "I am recently married, so this is a new opportunity for me and wife to start a whole new life."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.