Gordon Central’s Bryan Brookshire may not be the biggest or most imposing athlete, but for any team that’s played against the Warriors over the last few years in football or basketball, he’s probably made his presence felt by the end of game.
That’s what Brookshire, a senior, is for Gordon Central — a constant, consistent presence.
And for the coaches he’s played for during his time for the Warriors, he’s the kind of kid you love to coach. He cares more about the team than himself, he listens and does the things you say and he is never one you have to worry about away from the field or court.
Currently, Brookshire, who is also a solid student off the court, is in the midst of his final basketball season at Gordon Central where he is averaging close to double figures in scoring for a team that currently sits in second place in Region 5-AAA.
This past fall, he had his best season yet on the gridiron for a Gordon Central team that made their second straight playoff appearance. Brookshire, a receiver, finished with 33 receptions for 651 yards and nine TDs.
Recently the Calhoun Times caught up with Brookshire to discuss how the basketball season was going, his last season of football, the balance between sports and school and his memories as an athlete at Gordon Central, among several other things.
Here’s what he had to say:
CT: Talk about this year’s basketball team. What are your thoughts on the season so far and how good do you think this team can be?
Brookshire: Well, we started out really slow because we had a lot of injuries so it was a good chance for the younger kids to get some playing time and varsity experience. Now, in the last couple weeks, we’re starting to get back in the swing of things with everyone being healthy and playing well. Coach (Rodney) English always says we’re never playing against another team, we’re always playing against ourselves, and I think that’s true. Most of the time, our losses are because of things we didn’t do or things we did wrong. I think that when this team plays with energy, I don’t think anyone in this region can stop us.
CT: What’s it like transitioning from football to basketball? How tough of a transition is that?
Brookshire: It’s really hard because people think football is really fast, but it’s not near as fast as basketball. So it’s a lot more conditioning and running. Plus, in football you only play one game a week, and basketball, you could lose by thirty one night and have to play the next day so it’s a lot tougher, especially mentally.
CT: Talk about football a little. With the way things started for your class going 3-7 as freshmen to now finishing with back-to-back playoff appearances, how much pride do you and the other seniors take in that??
Brookshire: When we got here, we didn’t win very many games, but each year our goal was to get better and get to the playoffs. Then last year, when we got there, we were really excited about it. The whole school was really excited about it. We hadn’t had that much school spirit since I’ve been in middle school. This past year, we made it and were nearly a No. 2 seed if it wasn’t for that close loss to Adairsville. Then it was a hard loss in the playoffs (against Morgan County). It really hurt, but it was really good for this school and program to go to the playoffs two years in a row. And we hope everyone remembers the Class of 2013 for helping get there.
CT: Your team has already beaten Sonoraville once this season and last year beat Calhoun a couple times. What’s it like to play in a rivalry game like that?
Brookshire: When we play Sonoraville, I know Coach English doesn’t call it a rivalry, but as players, we definitely think of it as a rivalry. I, DJ (Prather) and Tyshaun (Clemmons) always talk about how we loving playing there or when they come here because the stands are packed, the kids come out and are painted up, screaming. It doesn’t matter if both teams are 0-20 or 20-0, it’s going to be a close game and everyone is going to give it their all. It’s really exciting to play in those games.
CT: What’s your favorite memory as an athlete at Gordon Central?
Brookshire: I have a lot. Scoring touchdowns on Friday night, there’s nothing that beats that. Getting a big win in basketball and having the school behind you, reminding you that you can go as far as you want. I think when we get to state this year, that will be one of best memories because I know this team can do it.
CT: How tough is it to balance school and multiple sports?
Brookshire: It’s really hard because practice and games wear you out, then you have to wake up and come to school the next day. Some days you just want to fall asleep in class, but you can’t because you’ve got to pay attention or study for a test or help with a project. It takes a lot of mental work telling yourself you can do it. And it takes a lot of support from your coaches, parents and friends that don’t let you slip or fall behind, and when you do, they pick you up and tell you to get to work. It’s tough, but you know you’ve got to do it.
CT: Which one of your coaches at Gordon Central has been the most influential to you personally?
Brookshire: When Coach English first got here, I was a rebel and kind of a wild kid that didn’t like to do the right things, but he’s one of those guys that just looks at you and you know you’re doing something wrong. Even when I do mess up or do something stupid, he’s always there to defend me and back me up. He’s almost like a father figure to me because he’s so honest with me. And Coach (Barry) Hall in football is the same way.
CT: What are your plans for after high school?
Brookshire: Coach (Chad) Fisher told me I could go play football somewhere, and I have a couple schools looking at me for football. Coach English thinks I can go play basketball somewhere. Schools have been coming to watch me here and there. Hopefully, I’ll get to go play something, anything to make school cheaper.
Fast Food: Taco Bell
Movie: Coach Carter
TV Show: That 70's Show
Band/Artist: Zac Brown Band
College: Georgia Tech
Female Celebrity: Carrie Underwood