The Pickren ZONE

You see it almost everyday in the paper.

Players accused of felonies, selling drugs in a school zone, pulling fire alarms, credit card fraud. Other players are struggling to make even a minimum SAT score or even graduate from high school. It is enough to make you a cynic and begin to question your loyalty to the great game of high school football.

Then you meet 2 young men like Corey Mitchell and Marcus Brisbone, both of Crestwood High School, and your faith is restored in our system and you feel a lot better about the young men of South Carolina who play High School Football.

In a day when South Carolina Public schools are continually under attack and when the nay Sayers say it can't be done anymore, Mitchell and Brisbone have proven that success can be achieved on the field and more importantly in the classroom. It does not matter where you live or what your background may be, if you are willing to do the work in the classroom and on the field, and then the rewards will be there for you.

Corey Mitchell is a Running Back in the Crestwood Knight Wing T Attack and rushed for 1757 yards and 16 TDs as a senior. Marcus Brisbone led the Knight offensive line with 124 knock down blocks and was selected as a Shrine Bowl Player. Playing whatever positions were asked of them, and doing the off-season work, has made Corey and Marcus excellent athletes.  However, athletics is not the only thing both of these young men have in common.  Corey is currently ranked #1 in his class and sports a GPA around 4.85.  Brisbone is not far behind with a 4.6 GPA. Both are in contention to earn the Valedictorian award at Crestwood. It is in the classroom where these two young men get the real job done.

It is their achievement in the classroom that has earned these fine young men a full scholarship to attend Presbyterian College and play for Coach Tommy Spangler.

Brisbone aspires to be a computer programmer, and Mitchell will pursue a career in sports medicine.  Presbyterian is a perfect fit for both of these students - athletes.  After visiting the PC campus last month, both were impressed with PC's graduation rate of its athletes (94%) and with PC's science and business schools, which are among the top rated in the country for liberal arts schools.  Corey and Marcus said that they felt at home with the other players and coaches.

The PC community is a tight knit family where the coaches and professors care about their athletes and work to help all students achieve their goals in the classroom. Corey and Marcus were just as impressed with the professors they spoke with as well as the coaching staff. They were also very impressed with the new football complex that is almost complete.  Mitchell will most likely remain in the backfield, and Brisbone said he may play some defensive line at PC. 

Although Corey has rushed for over 1000 yards in both his junior and senior years, his 5'7-5'8 height scared away some of the larger schools.  Brisbone was in the same situation, being told repeatedly that if he was 6'2 or above, he would be one of the most sought after players in the state. However neither let this sway their ultimate goal, and both were excited about the opportunity to represent Presbyterian on the field and in the classroom.

There was a day, when both of these seniors, thought that a scholarship may not happen.  Corey and Marcus came into the Knight program when it was just starting to take shape.  After struggling through two losing seasons, things began to turn around.  These two young men helped shape the way the Knight program is now. 

Both of these young men told their coaches when they were sophomores that they would do whatever was needed to take the Knight program to the next level.  Mitchell and Brisbone have been mainstays in the Knight Weight Room and in the off season conditioning program. They were leaders in the locker room, pushing all of the teammates to reach for the next level and to achieve their personal and TEAM goals.

During the 2001 season, Crestwood accomplished one of their team goals by winning a playoff game for the first time in school history. I was fortunate enough to see that game against Richland Northeast in Columbia and you could see the pride in the entire Crestwood community as the Knights won the game in convincing fashion.

Now Corey and Marcus will prepare for the next stage of their life and will enter Presbyterian this fall. The Blue Hose are fortunate to have outstanding young men represent their program and Corey and Marcus are fortunate to use their football skills to further their education.

It proves the system works.

Congratulations to Coach Crolley and the entire Knight coaching staff. Congratulations to all the staff and faculty at Crestwood for nurturing these young men to do their best on and off the field. Congratulations to the parents of Marcus and Corey. These young men are reflections of your desire to want the best for your sons and for instilling into them the love of education.

And finally thanks to Corey and Marcus. You have renewed our faith in High School football and we wish the best in all of your endeavors.

Dave Pickren


Writer's Note: Thanks to Coach Jackson for supplying some of the information for this write up and for the pictures of Corey and Marcus.

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