Bearden’s Top 10 Sports Moments of 2014

Wyeth Wilson, Staff Writer

2014 was another outstanding year for former and current Bearden athletes: A Super Bowl appearance, incredible single-game performances, and the dedication of a new ballpark were all parts of the school’s accomplishments this year. Here are Bearden’s top 10 sports moments of 2014:

  1. Griffin DeLong has historic game in win over William Blount – In his final game as a Bearden Bulldog, Griffin DeLong did it all. On his Senior Night, DeLong totaled an incredible stat line of 19 total tackles, one interception, 77 rushing yards (on only eight carries), and one rushing touchdown. Trailing 14-0, DeLong anchored the Bearden comeback as the Bulldogs went on to beat William Blount 34-14 on Oct. 31.
  1. Britton Colquitt plays in Super Bowl XLVIII – Denver Broncos punter Britton Colquitt (Class of 2003) became the first Bearden alum to play in the biggest game in sports, by playing in Super Bowl 48 on Feb. 2. Colquitt punted two times for 60 yards in the Broncos 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
  1. Dedication of Phil Garner Ballpark – On April 16, 47 years after graduating from Bearden, Major League Baseball great Phil Garner came back to his alma mater for the dedication of Phil Garner Ballpark. As well as playing baseball at Bearden, Garner played football and basketball. The former Bulldog and University of Tennessee star played for five teams in his 14 years in the Major Leagues, and won the 1979 World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Garner also managed in the Major Leagues for 14 years.
  1. Greene and USC Upstate turn into ACC and SEC giant killers – USC Upstate basketball player Ty Greene (Class of 2011) led the Spartans in scoring with 16 points, including three three-pointers, and had three steals to help USC Upstate in a 59-54 upset win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Dec. 6. Two weeks later, the former Bulldog led the Spartans upset of another major program and, this time, did it in dramatic fashion. He buried the game-winning jumper with 5.6 seconds left to lift Upstate to a 53-51 win over Mississippi State.
  1. Coach Turner retires, leaving unmatched legacy on Bearden soccer – This one’s bittersweet, but in the end, we have to celebrate the career of one of the Bearden’s all-time greats. Soccer icon Eric Turner, who posted an astounding record of 534-151-68 combined between the boys and girls teams, retired on May 14, leaving a lasting legacy on Bearden soccer. Coach Turner won five state titles between the two programs, and led the boys team to a national championship in 2002. Coach Turner had coached at Bearden since 1996.
  1. Jason Smith posts remarkable double-double against Campbell County – On Nov. 20 against Campbell County, junior Jason Smith recorded an incredible stat line of 38 points and 23 rebounds in a 70-48 win over the Cougars. Bearden head coach Mark Blevins called Smith’s game “one of the best we have ever had in the history of the program”. A few weeks later, Smith put up 40 against HVA.
  1. Chase Hilton wins state, signs to run at the University of Tennessee – Chase Hilton finished off a great career at Bearden with a state championship in the 800-meter run at the Class AAA track and field championships in Murfreesboro on June 7. Hilton ran a 1:52.87 to claim the title. Hilton also signed to run track and cross country at the University of Tennessee in 2014.
  1. Lane Thomas drafted by Toronto Blue Jays – After finishing a storied career at Bearden in 2014, Lane Thomas was drafted in the fifth round of the MLB Draft on June 6. In his first season in the minor leagues, Thomas totaled 55 hits and a .281 batting average with the Bluefield Blue Jays.
  1. Dance team places third at nationals – After two more state titles to start the 2013-14 season, the Bearden dance team took a step up in 2014.  At the 2014 National Dance Team Championship in February in Orlando, the Lady Bulldogs finished third in the large varsity pom category, as well as finishing eighth in the large varsity jazz competition.
  1. Davis Tull wins SoCon defensive player of the year award … again – Davis Tull (Class of 2010) won the SoCon defensive player of the year award for the third straight season. Tull and the Chattanooga Mocs also played against Tennessee in Neyland Stadium on Oct. 11, where Tull had seven tackles and one sack against his hometown team. The outside linebacker/defensive end who watched his potential scholarship offers vanish after he broke his leg early in his senior year at Bearden is now an NFL draft prospect.