October 1, 2013 11:14:29 AM
REFORM, Ala. -- Jermarcus Brown doesn't know when enough is enough.
For Patrick Plott and the Pickens County High School football team, Brown's drive to do more every day is wonderful thing to have in the locker room. Not only does the senior's never-enough attitude inspire him to out-do himself each week, but it also motivates the Tornadoes to stay hungry in their quest to win a Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 1A State title.
Brown will have to do some serious work if he intends to improve on his performance last week.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder rushed for 116 yards, had six touchdowns, and intercepted three passes Friday night in a 53-18 victory against Aliceville. Brown caught 24- and 74-yard touchdown passes from Devonte Simon, returned a kick 80 yards for another score, had a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown, and scored on runs of 25 and 6 yards in the fourth quarter to help push the Tornadoes, the top-ranked team in the latest AHSAA Class 1A poll, to 5-0.
For Brown's accomplishments, he is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"I did what I could do," Brown said. "I wanted to do more, but I got injured when I first started, so I just did what I could."
Brown said he was injured on a horse-collar tackle. The injury only kept him out of a handful of defensive plays, but Brown returned with a vengeance as if he had missed two or three quarters. He said he didn't want to let his teammates down because Aliceville is a big rivalry game and he wanted to do his part.
"I just know when the ball is in my hands I have to make a big play," Brown said. "I just know the season I had last year was great. When I came in this year, I thought I could be better than I was last year."
Brown said he has watched highlights of Pickens County games to remember what he and his teammates achieved. He said every day he thinks about what he is going to do in practice and how he is going to use that to improve on Friday nights. If coaches tell him the team needs a first down, he thinks he is going to get a touchdown. When he gets tired, he thinks back to the offseason and all of the running he did to prepare himself and the fatigue vanishes.
Brown admits he prefers playing offense better than defense. He said making interceptions is his favorite thing to do on defense, so he had a ball against the Yellow Jackets. He said he has had high school games with two interceptions and Pee Wee football games with four or five picks. Growing up in the leagues in Reform, he played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, linebacker, and defensive end, which makes it easier to understand why Brown is always into something. This season is the most time Brown has spent on defense.
"I know I am going to have to see a lot more playing time on defense because this is my last year and we are trying to make it to State, so I know I am going to have to play on both sides of the ball," Brown said.
Brown played his freshman football season at Gordo High. When Plott returned to Pickens County High, Brown transferred and has spent the past three seasons assaulting scoreboards and defenses. Last season, he rushed for more than 2,800 yards and helped Pickens County finish 11-3. But a 42-41 loss to Marion County in the state semifinals left Brown and the Tornadoes wanting more, so he spent the offseason pushing himself to make sure he was in the best possible shape.
"He comes out every day at practice and works hard," Plott said. "The things we see him do in the game, we see him do it every day in practice. To us, it is Jermarcus being Jermarcus. He just plays hard at all times."
Plott hopes Brown's role will get bigger on defense. He considers his secondary to be one of the strengths of the team and feels Brown seeing more time at that position group can strengthen an already talented area. Plott said Brown's athleticism and ability "to attack the football" make him a solid defensive player. He said Brown has that same mentality when he is on offense.
"Once he gets the ball in hand, he will make you miss or he will run you over," Plott said. "He is not very big, but he runs so hard that you watch him and wonder, 'Dang, where is that coming from?' "
Brown's work has paid off. Plott said his senior standout has offers from South Alabama, Jacksonville State, and West Alabama. He knows Brown can play at the next level. He also believes Brown can play at another level if he takes care of his work off the field. Plott agrees Brown has loftier visions for himself and that he won't stop working until he realizes those goals.
Brown said he wants to play at Tennessee and that his favorite school is Oregon. He realizes major-Division I schools in Tennessee and Oregon might not know about him in West Alabama, but that isn't going to stop him from doing things on the football field to attract attention.
"I am trying to push myself to get to the next goal," Brown said. "I am trying to put my team on my back to get them to the next goal. If they see me doing great, I know they will want to do great."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.