Former Lakeside star Brian Bratton is putting together an All-American caliber season as a senior for Furman.
Bratton, who played mostly quarterback and running back for the Panthers, has become quite a wide receiver.
He first made a name for himself as a freshman when he was an All-American and the nation's premier kick returner. That season, he averaged an eye-popping 37 yards per return, including three returns for touchdowns.
Teams have learned to kick the ball away from the speedy Columbia County native, but they have not slowed him down.
Bratton has become one of the top pass-catchers in the country and one of quarterback Ingle Martin's favorite targets. Bratton is third in the Southern Conference with 30 receptions for 472 yards and six touchdowns. He is second in the conference on yardage, with an average of 15.7 yards per catch.
He has also carried the ball out of the backfield 11 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
When you include kickoff returns, Bratton has touched the ball 47 times for 749 yards.
That means he is averaging 16 yards every time he touches the ball. Also, his eight touchdowns have him tied for fourth in the conference.
For his career, Bratton is seventh in Furman history with 106 catches for 1,510 yards. He is also fourth on the career touchdown-reception list with 15.
This season, Furman is 5-2 (including an overtime loss at Pittsburgh) and ranked No. 7 in the country in Division I-AA.
The school also is ranked among the top 10 Division I-AA programs in the nation in attendance, averaging nearly 14,000 fans per home game.
Champions Retreat set to open next spring
Rumor has it that Columbia County's new 27-hole golf facility is planning to open in spring 2005.
Champion's Retreat will undoubtedly be one of the more well-manicured and desirable golf courses in the South.
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player each designed nine holes, making Champion's Retreat the only joint-design venture by the three men widely considered three of the most important figures in the history of the game.
I will have a lengthy column on Champion's Retreat sometime in November.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.