Interview: Brice Brown hoping for chance at fifth straight state title, thankful for mentorship received at Karr
It is hard to imagine anyone more accomplished than Brice Brown in recent prep football history.
The former Karr and Grambling player has been simply brilliant at his alma mater, leading the Cougars to four consecutive Class 4A state championships.
If the prep football season occurs in 2020, Karr will attempt to become only the second school in Louisiana prep football history to win five consecutive state championships.
John Curtis Christian (2004-08) is the only school to have done so previously.
Five schools have won four straight state championships.
They include Evangel Christian (1996-99), Ferriday (1953-56), Haynesville (1993-96), John Curtis Christian (1996-99) and Karr (2016-19).
Speaking on The Three Tailgaters Show on 106.1 FM Saturday morning, Brown addressed a number of topics.
How worried is Brown that Karr may see the 2020 season delayed, shortened or even canceled?
“As the cases rise, it’s starting to be a little bit more concerning,” Brown said. “As the cases rise, it’s going to push back our season more and more. I think it’s creating a lot of anxiety with the kids. Are they going to play or are they not going to play? There’s no right or wrong answer with it. The kids are asking about it every day. You just can’t give them a straight answer. We just don’t know yet.”
Does Brown think playing football as late as in the spring is possible?
“I’m guessing that’s their last resort,” Brown said. “If it did come to that, I wouldn’t be opposed to it as long as these seniors get a chance to play. If they did push it to the spring,
I wouldn’t be opposed to it as long as the guys get a chance to play some form or fashion of football.”
To play football as safely as possible, many suggestions have been made, including all helmets including visor covers, all players wearing gloves and having humidifiers on the sidelines for cleansing the air. Brown has heard those and has a few ideas of his own.
“Getting dressed in the gym, where it’s open and it’s widespread,” Brown said. “On the sideline, we’re going to have to think about traveling a smaller number of guys. We dress 80 to 85 guys for the games so I’m guessing that mandate (smaller dress squad) is going to come out soon. We will try to keep them as spread out as possible.”
Of course, players are already mandated to have mouthpieces.
With regard to fans being able to attend games, Brown has already been privy to some information which is problematic?
“We’ve been told maybe no fans or only kids with only two parents at the game,” Brown said. “How do you regulate that? With all of the regulations, you have to have monitors monitoring the regulations. That adds people to the amount at the stadium. Can people afford that? Is it affordable to put a visor on every facemask? The cost of everything will be the next issue. Is it going to be affordable?”
Would Brown support no fans in the stands for games?
“Is it worth playing without fans or is it worth doing it for the kids?” Brown asked. “A lot of people I’ve talked to have different opinions. There’s not a right or wrong answer. It’s going to be different. This is a new norm that we have now. I don’t think this stuff is going away anytime soon. You have to just adapt if it’s playing with a smaller or half the crowd.”
Brown feels his sport is very important to young men.
“Football provides these kids with something more than just football,” Brown said. “It gives them discipline, it gives them accountability. It gives them everything. It teaches them life lessons. We saw a big difference in the kids when we were away from them for three months and getting them back. How they miss being around their teammates and learning. It’s about safety. It’s about everything associated with football that people are advocating for.”
If Karr gets to pursue a fifth straight state championship, the Cougars will do so with a very experienced, talented team, perhaps even better than last year’s state title squad.
“This is really a veteran team,” Brown said. “There was talk that we were practicing illegally. We did not. There was no reason to so with a veteran team. We return almost every starter on offense. We return seven on defense. This would be one of our better teams playing a tough schedule again, including adding American Heritage (FL) to the schedule.”
Brown believes in scheduling tough, including facing Catholic High and Warren Easton once again.
“This team is used to playing in tough games,” Brown said. “I think the better the opponent, the better your team is going to be in the playoffs and making that run to a state title again. We took our time getting back to work. It’s going to be fun to watch this team play, especially offensively.”
Brown played for Don Wattigny, who recently passed away, and Jabbar Juluke at Karr.
“It is a changing world that we are in,” Brown said. “It changes every day. It’s not black and white or white and black. It’s not something we can control with somebody else but it’s something we can control within ourselves, how we treat people and how we treat others.”
Brown reflected on his time as a player at Karr.
“I would also add that as far as black and white, I was coached by a white coach,” Brown said. “I was coached by a black coach. I would tell you totally that both men had the same values, had the same beliefs, had the same love for players. It didn’t matter what color their skin was. It was about the character of a person and not the color of their skin and that was what we had and have at Karr. We’ve been on both sides of the aisle.”
Brown is continuing that tradition.
“We don’t judge the color of our skin,” Brown said. “It’s all about how we treat people, what’s our values and what is our principles. That’s what we teach our kids today, to treat each other with more respect, to treat each other with more dignity and to have more pride in ourselves and to look at people for who they truly are.”
Brown will truly miss seeing Wattigny at Karr games.
“At every home game, he sat right there on the track,” Brown said. “His daughter would bring him to the game and he would be there with Coach Dennis, Coach Roch Weilbaecher. We’d have our interaction before the game. It was a blessing to have him involved in our lives. Most of our staff played for Coach Wattigny. He cared about us and it showed how many people really cared about him. He is going to be missed.”
When all is said and done, Brown is like most everyone.
“I just hope these kids get a chance to play, even if it’s just a six or seven game season and then go to the playoffs,” Brown said. “If it’s in the spring, either route would be fine with me as long as the guys get to go out and compete. In the NCAA, if they don’t get to play, they get another year. In high school, that’s not going to happen.”
Let us all hope and pray that it happens.
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