Adamsville High head football coach Brandon Gray has seen many successes as a football coach, and he’s proud of the job he and his wife Emily have done so far raising their 6-year-old son John Canton – known to his friends and close relatives as J.C.
Gray had one of his proudest moments last year before he took his son to school one morning.
“I usually feed him breakfast while he watches cartoons, and then one day he said, ‘Daddy I don’t want to watch cartoons,’” Gray said. “He said, ‘I want to watch SportsCenter.’”
The young Gray got the chance to stay up late to watch SportsCenter Friday night with good reason. He was on it.
A video began circulating on social media last week of Brandon kneeling in the gym at Adamsville High holding a football for John Canton to kick toward the basket from just beyond the top of the key. The kicks would sail to the backboard and hit. Some kicks (or should we call them shots?) banked into the goal.
“What it was was he got a kicking tee and holder for Christmas, and we went out one day and was kicking with it,” Brandon said. “Then he and one of his friends were kicking field goals on a goal post we have in our yard, then we went to the school and kicked there in the gym.
“We gave each kid five kicks to try to get it in the basket, and he made it in his last kick.”
The video was shared to the right people that it made its way to a couple of producers at SportsCenter who asked if they could use it for their daily feature “Top 10 Plays.” The No. 10 play of the day was a fraction of the video as J.C. hits the kick (shot) while honoring one of his favorite players, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who’s the quarterback of the team with his favorite player – Giants fullback and Adamsville resident Peyton Hillis.
“We got a ton of texts and calls [Friday] night and today just saying they saw it and stuff,” Brandon said Saturday.
J.C. was one of the few people in Adamsville who didn’t see it when it first aired.
“We said he could stay up, but he fell asleep,” Brandon said. “He was pretty excited to see himself on TV, but he doesn’t know exactly what happened.”
Brandon said seeing his son improve as much as he has at kicking makes him feel like he can coach and teach well.
“My assistant coaches do the teaching and coaching with the team,” Brandon said. “So seeing J.C. kick as well as he can for his age and size makes me feel like I got some coaching ability.”
Brandon Shields is the sports editor of The Jackson Sun. Contact him at 425-9751 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or on Instagram at jacksonsunsports.