In the history of Brighton sports, the recent year and a half stretch has been a memorable one.
In June 2015, we cheered at the Otter as baseball Baron Ernie Clement played second base for his national champions, the Virginia Cavaliers.
Last February we marched from the fire house to the High School to celebrate the first Boys state team sports title in school history.
Then in May, my chess Barons won the regular season title before falling to Wilson in the playoff finals.
And this season, the football Barons started 4 – 0 for the first time since 1999.
Converted to safety, Austin now plays at the University of Rochester. Austin plays almost every special teams down and is second on the safety depth chart, Having only made two tackles his senior year, Austin loves the physical experience of playing defense.
Building on the success of last season, the Barons broke out with a 4 – 0 start, including a rare Homecoming victory and a nail biter against Canandaigua.
Last night, the undefeated Greece Athena Trojans were at Reifsteck Field. As reported by James Johnson, the Trojans prevailed in a taut contest 28 – 21. The Barons final drive made the Athena 24, but the Trojans defense held.
Brighton’s other and first undefeated season was 1955. Led by Coach Jim Dever, the squad went 7-0 including a 14 -13 win over Irondequoit in the season finale.
At the game, no one I spoke with remembered the 1955 team. John Parinello had graduated from Aquinas in ’56, but didn’t recall Brighton’s title run.
A few people knew of the ’69 team coached by Barney Sullivan, including one of the women at the concessions stands who was a freshman. Those who remembered all mentioned the team’s nickname, the Pygmies.
Led by 152-pound halfback John Lambrix, the Barons were talented but small. Fans and D & C sportswriters took to “Pgymy Power,” and the nickname endures in Baron lore.
The season highlight was the highly anticipated November 1st match up against against undefeated Fairport. WXXI’s Chanel 21 broadcast the game. The Red Raiders were led by Jeff Crane, now the West Irondequoit CSD Superintendent.
And before 8,000 fans, in the biggest game in the history of Brighton sports, the little Pygmies won the Big One.
Still, the debate continued as to who was the best Section V. In 1969, there were no sectionals. So Brighton never played Aquinas. The Aquinas coach claimed his team would win easily. Barney Sullivan thought otherwise.
TEASE: for next week’s game, Brighton AD Nate Merritt invited me to the Press Box (we’ve visited the East Press Box for a baseball game) for perhaps a cameo call. “Touchdown, Barons!”
ALSO ON THE GAME Working on the Chain Gang at Reifsteck Field
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