Brown a stalwart on Flashes’ line

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, November 25, 2014

St. Aloysius center Bash Brown, a four-year starter, will lead the Flashes into Friday’s Class 1A North State championship game against Coffeeville. (Paul Ingram/For The Vicksburg Post)

St. Aloysius center Bash Brown, a four-year starter, will lead the Flashes into Friday’s Class 1A North State championship game against Coffeeville. (Paul Ingram/For The Vicksburg Post)

Long before he was even born, Bash Brown seemed destined to become a football player.

His uncle and father played at Ole Miss. So did his grandfather, Allen Brown, who went on to win two Super Bowl rings with the Green Bay Packers. Even his name — yes, Bash is his real name, or at least his middle one — implies a certain level of aptitude for the game.

“I never was much good at soccer, baseball or anything else. I guess it was a predestined way of telling me to play football,” Brown laughed. “I could accept not being good at baseball or soccer. I never could accept not being the best I could be at football.”

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For the past four years, Brown has embraced his destiny. The 6-foot, 245-pounder has held down the starting center position for St. Aloysius since his freshman season, helping its offensive line become one of the most dominant in the state as the team plowed its way to back-to-back appearances in the Class 1A semifinals.

St. Al will host Coffeeville Friday at 7 p.m. with a berth in next week’s state championship game on the line.

“This is the summation of the last four years for me,” Brown said. “Football is year-round for us. We show up two weeks after the season ends and work all summer. This is really the culmination of everything we’ve done.”

Brown’s first name is Robinson, but Bash is a family middle name. His great-grandfather’s name was Sebastian, which eventually morphed into Bash over the next two generations.

Although he’s proud to carry on that family tradition, there’s another that Brown is about to end. Instead of attending Ole Miss next year, he’s on track to receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

Getting into one of the U.S. service academies requires a nomination from an applicant’s Congressional representative, and then a lengthy interview and selection process. Brown started six months ago and recently had an interview with Rep. Bennie Thompson that he said “went well.”

“I started in June and just finished up the last application two weeks ago. And that’s been almost every night. I can’t count the number of 500-word essays I’ve written,” said Brown, who has a 4.33 GPA.

One of the requirements for appointment is leadership, and that’s something Brown’s coaches and teammates say he has in spades.

Besides being a powerful blocker, Brown is responsible for recognizing defensive fronts and alerting his linemates so they can make the proper adjustments. It’s a position of trust and leadership that St. Al coach BJ Smithhart said Brown has earned.

“He’s a guy we have make the calls and do things. He’s one of the more vocal guys on the team, and that comes with the position. He’s done a good job evolving into a great leader. He wants to be out there and he gives you everything he’s got,” Smithhart said. “The offensive line isn’t always appreciated in the papers because they don’t score touchdowns, but everybody on this team knows what an important piece he is.”

Brown said his style came from learning what didn’t work as much as what did. He’s happy to do the grunt work and let others get the credit as long as the team succeeds.

“I’m not here for the spotlight. Whatever I can do to help us win,” he said. “I’ve seen us go 2-9, 3-8, 9-5 and now 12-1. I picked up a lot, leadership-wise, from the lack of it in some years, and I came to figure out that the best way to lead is by example.”

No matter the outcome of Friday’s game against Coffeeville, Brown’s high school career will be over by the end of next week. His skill and attitude will be sorely missed once he moves on, Smithhart said.

“I heard a kid named Bash was moving into town, and I was excited to get him,” Smithhart said. “He definitely didn’t disappoint.”

On the radio

Friday, 7 p.m., 101.3 FM

Coffeeville at St. Aloysius

Class 1A North State championship

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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