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BROWN BAG: Community kicks off football season

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL Brown Bag on The Square kicked off the 2015 football season Thursday with Tonya Terry, WSFA-TV personality, and Troy University head football coach Neal Brown. Charles Henderson High School head coach Brad McCoy and Pike Liberal Arts head coach Gene Allen were also there. Pictured above are Terry and Brown.

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL
Brown Bag on The Square kicked off the 2015 football season Thursday with Tonya Terry, WSFA-TV personality, and Troy University head football coach Neal Brown. Charles Henderson High School head coach Brad McCoy and Pike Liberal Arts head coach Gene Allen were also there. Pictured above are Terry and Brown.

The reception for Troy University head football coach Neal Brown at Brown Bag on The Square Thursday was akin to that of a rock star.

That’s the way Tonya Terry described the crowd’s response to the introduction of Troy University’s new head football coach.

The Brown Bag event was the kickoff to the 2015 football season for Troy University, Charles Henderson High School and Pike Liberal Arts School. The response was no less enthusiastic for CHHS head coach Brad McCoy and PLAS head coach Gene Allen.

“Are we ready for football or what?” exclaimed WSFA-TV personality Terry, who was emcee for the event.

And, if the crowd’s response was any indication, then Troy and Pike County are ready for football.

Terry, a Troy native, said Troy is the sweetest and best little hometown and “I’m so happy to be a part of this celebration.”

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL Terry speaks with guests at Brown Bag

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL
Terry speaks with guests at Brown Bag

Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves welcomed the crowd, which was perhaps one of the largest ever for the Brown Bag lunches. In thanking everyone for coming, Reeves said events like Brown Bag are “what community is all about.”

“This is a great event, and today is a great day for Troy,” he said.

Allen said Thursday was a great day and thanked the city for the invitation to participate. “And, it’s a great time for football,” he said. “I expect good things from the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots this season. We had a good year last year and hope to have an even better season this year.

“Four of our five first games are at home, and we expect to have good support from our fans. The kids have worked hard all summer to get ready for the season, all the kids have worked hard so whether you’re a fan of PLAS, Charles Henderson, Troy University or another team, go out and support them.”

McCoy also thanked the City of Troy for the opportunity to be a part of the football kickoff on The Square.

“This is awesome,” he said. “We appreciate the community’s support of high school football. We have a good working relationship with Troy University and we also appreciate that.”

As for the upcoming season, McCoy said the Trojans have 13 seniors, but they lost some good players from last year and those shoes will have to be filled.

“We’re young but we’ve worked hard and we’re coming along,” he said. “Our first game will be on the road and we’re ready to get the season underway.”

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL Brown signs a poster for Mary Sexton.

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL
Brown signs a poster for Mary Sexton.

Brown expressed his appreciation to the fans for coming out and to the City of Troy the way the downtown square has come alive with restaurants and places to shop. Then, his remarks were all about football.

“It is here,” he said of the football season. “The buy-in factor of our players has been extremely high. As a new coach, I worried how I would be received. Whether the seniors would be open minded and accept the changes. But to a man, they have been accepted the changes and with a great attitude.”

Brown said he has been asked how many games the Trojans can be expected to win.

“I don’t know how many games we’ll win but we’ll be exciting to watch and we’ll play the right way.”

Brown said his challenge to the players is “to own our home stadium.”

“When the Trojans were winning five conference championship, they were dominate at home and we’ve got to be dominant in our stadium.”

And, Brown said the dominance should not just be on the field. It should be in the stands as well.

“We need to fill the stands and we should be intimidating,” he said. “We have great fans. We have best band, the greatest band anywhere. We should be intimidating from the stands. But now it’s the end of the talking. It’s time to play football.”

Shelia Jackson, Troy director of public relations, said Thursday’s Brown Bag event was what community is all about.

“We came together as a community to support our local schools and our university,” she said. “I think everyone there was a fan of every school there. So, on Friday night, go out and support our football teams, our bands, and our cheerleaders. Let them know they are appreciated and you’ll have a great time as you do. There’s nothing like a football Friday night or a Saturday at the stadium so ‘Go, team! Go! Fight! Win!’”