Pygmies of ’69 remain Brighton’s last undefeated football team

Pygmies of ’69 remain Brighton’s last undefeated football team

Democrat and Chronicle, 2 Nov, 1969, Sun, Metro edition

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.

Last year, quarterbacked by Austin Carr, the Barons had a solid season.


2015 with Austin pre-game see No Jills; no playoffs for the Bills


Refs gathering before the Homecoming game see Encore for the Roc City Steelers at Buckland Park 9/16/16


Cheerleading squads before the Homecoming game see No Jills, No Playoffs for the Bills

austin-2Converted 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.


Reifsteck Field 9/30/16

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.

Jenna Cottrell with WHAM news before the game; cameraman Toby Motyka from Pygmies of ’69 remain Brighton’s last undefeated football team


from “Athena Undefeated,” Democrat and Chronicle, 10/01/16

coach-deverSo now the 8- 0 1969 Barons, nicknamed the Pygmies or Pygmy remain Brighton’s last undefeated team. The 1999 squad went 8 – 0 in the regular season before losing in the sections.


1955, Democrat and Chronicle

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.


BHS 1955 yearbook, Crossroads


Democrat and Chronicle. 1 Nov, 1969, Sat, Metro edition


Democrat and Chronicle. 1 Nov, 1969, Sat, Metro edition

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.


2 Nov, 1969, Sun, Metro edition

A few people knew of the ’69 team coached by Barney tv-democrat-and-chronicle-1-nov-1969-sat-metro-editionSullivan, 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 jefff-crane-democrat-and-chronicle-2-nov-1969-sun-metro-editionFairport.  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.


2 Nov, 1969, Sun, Metro edition



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!”

from the 1970 BHS yearbook Crossroads. Scanned courtesy of the Brighton Memorial Library

from the 1970 BHS yearbook Crossroads. Scanned courtesy of the Brighton Memorial Library

ALSO ON THE GAME Working on the Chain Gang at Reifsteck Field


Congratulations Barons on a magical season.

Working on the Chain Gang at Reifsteck Field

No Jills; no playoffs for the Bills

New Team in Town: Roc City Steelers debut at Buckland Park

Encore for the Roc City Steelers at Buckland Park

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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