Evangel’s Chris Bradley is through with high school football, and as of Thursday, through with high school classes.
But Bradley has one more duty as an Eagle – throwing the discus and shot put in Saturday’s Class 3A state track meet.
This is Bradley’s first season as a thrower, and he’s transitioned to his new events with fellow defensive lineman Jerry Tillery.
“Football was over and I’m training anyway – I might as well throw (on the track team),” Bradley said. “It was rough at the start, but I got better as the season progressed, and now I’m going to state.
“This my last time to get a state championship … and it’s my last time to be around the guys.”
Bradley and Tillery are individual state titles threats in the discus and shot put.
Bradley is the No. 3 seed in the shot put and the No. 4 seed in the discus after winning a pair of regional titles.
Tillery, who captured both district titles over his teammate in Tillery’s first season as a thrower, is ranked as the the No. 5 seed in both the discus and shot put.
“(In track), there’s more pressure than in football when you don’t have Chris beside you if you don’t make the play,” Tillery said. “We’re competitive with each other … and we challenge each other and we’re both getting better because of it.
“Having someone out there throwing with you helps. And he’s someone who I can look to for help, techniques and tips.”
Bradley, who is a TCU football signee, said he relied on Tillery when he doesn’t have a good throwing day.
“We keep each other accountable,” Bradley said. “If he doesn’t make a great throw or I don’t make a great throw, we can go to each other and have each others’ backs.
“It was tough at first … and I had to adjust to being able to take a loss. I’m used to winning and I hate losing.”
And for Tillery, a junior Notre Dame commit, the skills learned in throwing translate to the football field.
“It’s definitely all in the hips,” said the 6-foot-5, 315-pound defensive tackle. “Whether I’m coming out into an offensive lineman or transferring power into a throw, it’s a lot of the same motions and movements.”
Either Bradley or Tillery might be fine finishing runner-up to the other, especially if it helps Evangel win its first-ever boys track title after the Eagles captured their first district and region title this season.
“This has been something special,” Tillery said of his first track season. “We’re close to the team. The runners cheer us on and the throwers are the loudest people in the stands during the running events.
“This is a close-knit team … and it would be a great experience to win the program’s first state championship.”
Simsboro, New Living Word boys win state titles
Lincoln Parish schools Simsboro and New Living Word swept the boys state track titles Thursday in classes B and C, respectively.
Simsboro edged Centerville by 3.5 points while New Living Word coasted to a 41-point win.
Rontavious Abney (110 and 300 hurdles) was the lone individual state title winner for the Simsboro boys.
New Living Word racked up titles, including Fredrion Evans (long jump, 100, 200), Rontravion Bryant (high jump, 400), Kwantavious Harris (triple jump), 4X200 (Justin Onwuzulike, Bryant, Harris and Alijwon Mason), 4X100 (Jeremy Patton, Mason, Evans, Harris) and 4X400 (Mason, Rashaan Proctor, Patton and Bryant).
Other Class B individual titles include Choudrant’s John Paul Hancock (javelin), Choudrant’s Cortlin Mardis (long jump), Castor’s Tristian Bryant (shot put), Doyline’s Shelby Waln (shot put), Saline’s Diamond Bradley (discus), Stanley’s Tykeisha Monroe (100), Saline’s 4X100 relay (Bradley, Reagan Williams, Karenthia Crosby and Makayla Jackson), Saline’s Jackson (200), Simsboro’s girls 4X200 (Amber Starks, Haley eard, Kelcie Sneed and Shanika Freeman) and Simsboro’s 4X400 (Starks, Jade Anderson, Jesse Anderson and Sneed), Simsboro’s Starks (300 hurdles) and Choudrant’s Nathan Anderson (3200).
Gibsland-Coleman’s DeSade Coleman (long jump) won the other Class C title.
The only other local team to finish in the top three in their respective class was the Simsboro girls at No. 3 in Class B.