By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Hats off to the Class of 2021.
The seniors from Millington Central High School, Munford High School, Tipton-Rosemark Academy and Brighton High School have navigated a school year like no other. From all-virtual to hybrid schedules, each member of the 12th grade had to battle new challenges, deal with new regulations and still try to maintain as many traditions as possible.
Yearbooks of 2020-21 still have the superlative section recognizing the Who Who’s of each school. The Millington Star will be no different and over the next two weeks The Genuine Article will honor 12 categories.
These seniors from our four coverage schools who play sports are eligible. This is my chance to shine a spotlight on 24 student/athletes one more time before they head off to college, the military or the working world.
Colby Goode & Sarah Allyn Thornell
Each year a handsome guy and a beautiful young lady seems to win this category. 2021 keeps the trend going with Colby Goode of Millington and Sarah Allyn Thornell of TRA.
S.A. or “The Test” can do modeling as a college job. But she’ll be busy Itawamba playing volleyball. One of the best overall players to hit the court at TRA, Thornell matured in each phase of her game from setting, to blocking, to hitting.
Whatever she needed to do to make the team successful Thornell did it with grace and class. Her spikes were vicious and sharp. Then she could score on an elegant tip the next play. Her jump serve was a work of art that handcuffed the competition.
Thornell was a key part of TRA reaching Sub-State this past year. She was a major contributor in basketball as well. To see her grow into her body and potential was enjoyable.
Precocious was the “P” word to describe the hype surrounding Colby Goode once he arrived on the Millington campus four years ago. Gifted in soccer, he scored double digits setting a boys soccer record for the Trojans.
Over time his game developed along with his physical stature. Now Goode can be easily confused with a Hollywood leading man. And he could play the starring role in a movie about a soccer superstar.
Goode kept getting better each season and along for the ride were the Trojans. Millington Soccer kept making history including hosting Sub-State in 2021. Goode was the driving force along with his 9 fellow seniors.
There have been other great scorers in Millington Soccer history but Goode has a strong argument for the best of all time because he was the star on the best team of all time.
Most Likely to be a Stand-Up Comic
Devin Knight & Ally Marona
When you have a chance to sit down with student/athletes you can see the wide range of their personality. At Millington two of the most charismatic, charming people are Devin Knight and Ally Marona.
Both kept busy playing multiple sports during their time with the Trojans. Marona became a star during her freshman year of volleyball. She was solid in softball as well.
Meanwhile Knight earned team awards for Trojan Football after his sophomore season. He brought that toughness to the basketball court for multiple seasons.
Marona was capable of scoring a bunch of points in volleyball in a short amount of time. She had a cannon arm at third base. She is full of athletic talent.
Away from athletics Marona is an instant laugh with her quick wit on a variety of topics. She is great at observational humor.
Meanwhile Knight’s method of humor is physical comedy and the sharp one-liner. From Kroger, his school job, to his mother’s birthday party, he can be the life of the party.
Knight was the life of Millington’s defense the past two years. He is one of the all-time leaders in tackles joining impressive list of Trojan greats.
Knight even got a chance to run the ball in 2020. So he running the ball, running over ball carriers joined running his mouth as his talents.
Most Likely to Succeed
Alex Anderson & Ali Naumann
Now we head back to the campus of Tipton-Rosemark Academy for this category. Basketball star Alex Anderson has the potential to be a professional basketball player like his big brother CJ. And Ali Naumann has a chance for post prep greatness like her father Kimo, who was a football standout at Munford.
Naumann hit nearly .500 in helping the Lady Rebels reach the Division II-A State Softball championship. Anderson was the leading scorer for the Rebels helping TRA reach the Division II-A State Basketball Tournament.
Anderson is the all-time leading scorer in TRA Basketball history. Naumann is top 5 in several offensive categories for TRA Softball all time.
Both careers parallel with Naumann and Anderson heading off to the college ranks. Naumann will be at Dyersburg and her talents will land her a D-I scholarship soon. Then I can see her coaching the sport one day because she is a five-tool player. And she quietly goes about her business on the field but brings the energy in the dugout and practice.
Anderson is taking his talents to South Alabama and I can see him reaching an NCAA Tournament alongside his brother Andrew. Then his 6’6 frame can be in the NBA one day. And like his father Cedric, Alex could be a coach after his playing days are done.
Most School Spirit
Logan Rushing & Jordan Moore
Let’s head up to Tipton County to visit Brighton High School for Logan Rushing and Munford High School for Jordan Moore.
The two main reasons Rushing and Moore won this category is because they always showed up for games in sports they didn’t play. As they rooted on their peers, the duo also were classy representations for their schools.
The bright smile of Moore can light up a gymnasium. Then her powerful kills in volleyball could cause a power outage to a city.
Her male counterpart Rushing is full of energy in the dugout and is electric on the mound. Lethal with his bat as well, Rushing was a driving force to the Brighton Cardinal Baseball team making history.
The 2021 Cardinals were the first Brighton Baseball team to reach State. Rushing was the undisputed MVP of that run. He made himself a Brighton Baseball legend shutting down Bartlett and Houston in the postseason.
Moore is one of the best hitters in Munford Volleyball history. Dedicated to the game, Moore improved her serving and backrow defense. That attention to detail earned her a scholarship to Walters State. Rushing will be playing at the next level as well at The University of Memphis.
But I will miss seeing Rushing in the student section at Brighton Basketball game and coming over to the softball field to root on the Lady Cardinals.
Moore was a special guest at multiple signings as her peers truly appreciate her friendship. And she was no stranger at big games in baseball, basketball and football. These two fully enjoyed the high school experience. I pray the college experience is just as great as they are as student/athletes.
Adrian “Bug” Dowell & Mary Catherine Turner
Two student/athletes who seem to play sports forever were Millington’s Adrian Dowell and TRA’s Mary Catherine Turner. Another thing they have in common is animal nicknames. For the rest of this entry, Turner will be referred to as “Cat” and Dowell will be mention as “Bug.”
Cat was a multiple sport athlete in basketball and volleyball. She was groomed for two leadership roles as a setter in volleyball and point guard in basketball. Cat emerged as a key figure in both sports helping the Lady Rebels win and have banner seasons.
Dowell was an All-Region defensive back as a sophomore. Then he became All-Region in offense and special teams as a junior. He will take his talents to Tennessee Prep next year.
Off the field both Cat and Bug are as sharp as tacks. Cat has a natural glow that she compliments with simple style and elegance. She doesn’t have to try hard. Nice jeans and some heels with a shirt to match, Cat has created her own runway.
Dowell has swag with his array of designer jeans and signature T-shirts. His shoes are to be admired by a shoe collector. But his swag is effortless. That is what makes him so cool.
In the end both Cat and Bug made it look easy in sports. But the pair worked hard in practice and dedicate extra time to improve and be a go-to player for their teams. And that looks good on them too.
Milton Yarbrough & Maiya Reed
We wrap up Week One with the Most Athletic. The Genuine Article has always focused on sports, so the recognition of Millington’s Milton Yarbrough and Munford’s Maiya Reed is very special to me. Both were three sport athletes in 2020-21.
That along makes them worthy but both were leaders, fought pain to contribute and were loved by their coaches.
Yarbrough went to State in wrestling. Reed reached State in track. Yarbrough was a driving force of the Millington secondary in football. Reed was the engine that drove the Munford Soccer offense.
Yarbrough’s defense in soccer helped Millington reach new heights. Reed was the point guard and defensive leader of Munford Basketball.
Reed nursed little bumps and bruises all year to fulfill her duties as a Lady Cougar from August to May. Yarbrough battled shoulder pain to create highlight after highlight from the gridiron to the pitch.
I has been an honor to cover Yarbrough and Reed. They have left their legacies at their respective schools. Yarbrough is going off to serve our country in the military and Reed is taking her skills to Walters State for basketball. I have a feeling they will make more headlines in The Millington Star in the near future.