It wasn't an easy week for Brantley head coach David Lowery or his oldest son, quarterback Andrew Lowery. Andrew's younger brother, Trey, was rushed to the hospital in near Luverne and later taken to UAB Hospital in Birmingham after his platelet level dropped to zero on Sunday afternoon.
With his younger brother undergoing a battery of tests in a to determine the problem, Andrew was forced to remain behind in Brantley and concentrate on the 1A state championship game.
"It was tough, but I tried to stay focused," Andrew said. "I checked up on him while he was in the hospital."
Trey, a Bulldog manager, was released from the hospital in time for the game and watched the Bulldog victory from the stands.
Brantley wanted the ball: Andrew Lowery was emphatic after the Bulldogs won the coin toss to open the game. Brantley wanted the ball.
"Actually, after watching the film, we didn't want them to have the ball at all," Brantley coach David Lowery joked. "We figured we would try to get it first, for sure.
"But we thought we could move it on them early, we thought we had some plays that would work early. And we thought if we got them playing from behind, it might change their thought process a little on offense."
Brantley sets school record for shutouts: The Bulldogs set a new school record with their 10th shutout on Thursday night, breaking the record set by the 1993 state championship team.
That team posted eight shutouts during the regular season, then saved their best performance for last, shutting out the vaunted rushing attack of West Jefferson 36-0 to win the school's first state championship in football.
This season, the Bulldogs posted six shutouts during the regular season. What was most impressive is this group of Dogs posted four shutouts in five playoff games, with Linden's 14 points in a 20-14 victory doubling the amount of touchdowns the starters had surrendered in the first 12 games.
"We just got better as the year went on," David Lowery said. "As the playoffs started, we had a real tough night in Linden, barely getting out of there alive."
Lowery says 2009 title more surprising: David Lowery was asked to compare the 2009 state championship win over Hackleburg and the 2012 championship.
"In 2009, it was really a surprise, coming out of nowhere," Lowery said. "We weren't picked to be very good and those guys had an awesome run in the playoffs. This year, we knew we had a lot of experience back and really expected to go deep in the playoffs. But you still have to close the deal and these guys did that."
His son Andrew was one of six freshmen on the 2009 team that did not play but got to experience the thrill of being on a state championship team. On Thursday, each of those six players played an active role in winning the blue trophy symbolic of being the best team in 1A.
"It's very special," Andrew Lowery said. "We've been playing together since kindergarten, so we just have a brotherhood that a lot of teams don't have."