In each game story, reporters are given a finite amount of words to explain the highlights of the game to readers.
They’re told to start with the most exciting or important occurrence, and then work backward.
But what happens if a team scores 59 points on its way to the first N.C. 4AA state championship in school history?
The answer is that much often doesn’t make it to print.
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Tyheim Bremby’s story is a good example.
Bremby started the season at middle linebacker for Mallard Creek High’s football team.
The 5-foot-9-inches, 200-pound junior led the nationally ranked and undefeated Mavericks with more than 100 tackles this season.
He also helped make one of the plays that set the tone for Mallard Creek’s emphatic 38-point win over Wake Forest Dec. 14 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
A quick background on the Mavericks:
For years now, the program has been a national powerhouse. But it has never been able to get over that championship hump.
In the past three seasons, Mallard Creek has lost twice in the state semifinals to the eventual 4AA champs and once in the quarterfinals.
So even though it was the favorite entering the Dec. 14 title game, no one from Charlotte was taking anything for granted.
Back to Bremby:
After the Mavericks’ first touchdown of the game, the Wake Forest Cougars took the field, hoping to respond with a score. On their very first play from scrimmage, however, Bremby remembered something his coach had told him.
“Coach P (Mike Palmieri) told me that when Wake Forest has its guard pull to the weak side, it’s always a pass,” Bremby said. “Coach also told me that their strong-side tight end would run a 10-and-in, and that that’s the spot I should get to.”
Wake Forest snapped the ball and ran a play action in which Cougars quarterback Mack Moore faked a handoff, but Bremby wasn’t fooled.
“I just dropped back, got depth, and when he threw it, I was right there in the right spot,” he said.
The interception was the first in Bremby’s high school career, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It gave us momentum, because we had just gotten off a scoring drive. And then on their first play I got the pick, and it really set the tone,” Bremby said. “It was very exciting. It felt good.”
The Mavericks took over on the Wake Forest 25-yard line and eventually kicked a field goal to go up 10-0.
Early in the second quarter, Bremby – who finished the game with nine tackles (more than that, if you ask Palmieri) – again was involved in a big play: He brought down a Cougars running back for a loss on a third-down play.
“If I didn’t make that tackle, they could have had a big gain,” said Bremby, who finished the game with four tackles for a loss. “I just got up field and made sure I wrapped him up.”
As time ran out in the first half, the Mavericks entered the locker room leading 38-7 and without a shred of doubt that this was finally their year.
“(Bremby has) played great for us,” Palmieri said. “He’s been a leader inside for us for the whole season. His play was consistent the whole game, and he made a lot of plays to get their offense off the field.”
Mallard Creek has had a football program for only seven years, but that hasn’t stopped people around the school from giving the coach a hard time every now and then.
“People are funny,” Palmieri said. “They say, ‘It’s been awhile’ and ‘It’s about time.’ It’s almost hilarious. But it just shows that hard work pays off. I’m proud of these kids.”
With Bremby coming back for his senior season, it stands to reason he could find his way into another state title game story yet.