‘Connection’ with Delta Devils played a part in BHS signing day

By Steve Williams

Four members of the Bearden High football program signed college scholarship papers Wednesday and one took advantage of a “connection” that first-year BHS Head Coach Josh Jones had with Mississippi Valley State University.

Jones is a friend of Kendrick Wade, the Delta Devils’ new head coach, and Tyson Pirtle, a 6-2, 280-pound defensive lineman, signed with MVSU.

Mississippi Valley State is a four-year school in the SWAC, the same conference Deion Sanders coached in last year at Jackson State. MVSU also is where NFL all-time great Jerry Rice played.

“We’re looking for big things out of Pirtle there,” said Jones, who attended a mini coaching clinic at MVSU with their coaching staff fairly recently.

Pirtle just played his first full season of high school football this past year, so “his upside is literally through the roof,” said Jones.

“He’s always been a basketball kid and is the starting center on our basketball team at Bearden.

“Coach Wade said to me, ‘Coach, we stole one with him,’” said Jones. “Tyson will go down and buy-in and work down there. I can see him in a couple of years being an all-conference type player.”

An estimated 250 people, including the football team, attended Bearden’s signing ceremony. The other signees were running back Presean Brown (Maryville College), cornerback Adarion Patton (UT-Martin) and offensive lineman Brenden Releford (University of Virginia at Wise).

“All of these young men were wanting to play at the next level, so it was awesome just to play a small part and get to see them reach a major milestone and to achieve their dreams,” said Coach Jones.

“Our coaching staff worked really hard assisting these young men in the recruiting process. It was a really neat deal to see the smiles on their faces and their families’ faces and how proud their family members are of them. I’m not a real emotional guy, but it got me a little emotional I’ve got to admit.”

Brown, who previously played at Carter, “is the first in his immediate family to go to college,” said Jones. “Maryville College has got a great young man and a good football player as well.”

Patton played his first three years in high school at Karns. “I coached against him when I was at Powell and he wasn’t real fun to coach against,” said Jones.

UT-Martin, incidentally, plays its first game this coming season against Georgia, the national champions.

“We look for Adarion to go there and do really well,” said Jones.

As the season went on, more and more coaches got interested in Releford (6-2, 265). “He had three full offers,” said Jones. “It went down into the wee hours of signing day until we knew which way it was going to go.”

Mike Compton, a 12-year NFL player, is the OL coach at UVA-Wise, pointed out Jones. “He will do a great job of developing Brenden.”

Jones also noted that Compton was the starting center on Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl team at New England.

“Our administration has been great in supporting us, so we can support the young men and help them achieve their dreams,” summed up Coach Jones. “I appreciate the Bearden community in helping with all facets of our team. It was a group effort and these kids and their families carried the biggest burden of it. When you have guys signing it’s always a great thing for your program.”