Category Archives: High School Sports

Texas Northeast First Jurisdiction to descend upon Garland for this year’s AIM Crusade

Lead photo taken and submitted by Tiana Boyd 


GARLAND, Texas — Superintendent Andrew Jackson Jr.’s clergy track record is such that he customarily exemplifies displaying heart for people.

Especially young people.

Such was the case in a recent Facebook post when Jackson Jr., the Senior Pastor of West Irving Church of God In Christ, offered a modern-day term often uttered by today’s millennials.
Said Jackson in a post before his nearly 2,300 social media followers:
“AIM Crusade 2019 is going to be LIT!”
Jackson was alluding to the AIM Crusade, an annual three-night event that’s hosted by the Texas Northeast First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.
Powered by Texas Northeast First, this year’s AIM Crusade will take place May 22-24 at Greater El Bethel Church of God In Christ, located at 517 Helen Street in Garland.

An acronym that stands for Auxiliaries In Ministry, last year’s AIM Crusade took place in nearby Corsicana, Texas, and holding the event in various Church of God In Christ-affiliate institutions throughout Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex essentially aligns with part of Texas Northeast First’s mission, Jackson Jr. told Making Headline News on Monday.


“It is a vision of our Jurisdictional Bishop (James E. Hornsby) to service churches in our jurisdiction,” said Jackson, who’s now in his second full year as Texas Northeast First AIM Chairman. “There are several churches in the Garland area, and basically, this is an effort to galvanize ministries in the jurisdiction, impact communities, and win souls for Christ.”


Just like last year’s AIM Crusade, when Texas Northeast First officials honored representatives of the Corsicana Independent School District, Jackson Jr. said a number of whom he refers to as “high achievers” through Garland ISD will be recognized during this three-night event.

“We recognized about 25 students, at least a dozen counselors, as well as Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow and Mayor Pro-Tem Ruby Williams,” said Jackson, acknowledging that this year’s recipients will include students, educators, and administrators.

As usual, the AIM Crusade will be comprised of three nights of power-packed praise and worship services, each of which will begin at 7:30 CST and will highlighted by a featured speaker.

Texas Northeast First Youth Department President Elder Mark Harry will bring forth the unadulterated word during the opening night of what is customarily dubbed, “Youth and Music Night.”

Superintendent Anthony McCrary, the President of Texas Northeast First Evangelist Department, will be the featured speaker on the second night of the crusade.

Jurisdictional Prelate Bishop Hornsby will close out the three-night crusade as the featured speaker.

STRAIGHT FROM THE CHAIRMAN — “It is a vision of our Jurisdictional Bishop (James E. Hornsby) to service churches in our jurisdiction,” said Jackson, who’s now in his second full year as Texas Northeast First AIM Chairman. “There are several churches in the Garland area, and basically, this is an effort to galvanize ministries in the jurisdiction, impact communities, and win souls for Christ.”

One-hour classes will take place at 6:30 prior to the start of services.

A Pentecostal Holiness Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership, the Church of God In Christ is comprised of nearly six million members throughout the United States and roughly 12,000 congregations.

Established in 1996 behind the influence of the late Bishop C. D. Owens, AIM is a part of what is known as COGIC’s umbrella format.

Widely regarded as the largest Pentecostal church and the fifth largest Christian church in the U. S., Church of God In Christ-based institutions can be found in more than 100 countries. Interestingly, its worldwide membership is comprised of somewhere in the neighborhood of six-to-eight million members.

Also, there are more than 15,000 Church of God In Christ congregations globally.


TEXAS NORTHEAST FIRST ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION AIM OFFICIALS

 

Jurisdictional Prelate — Bishop J. E. Hornsby

AIM Chairman — Supt. Andrew Jackson, Jr.

Youth Department — President Elder Mark Harry

Chairlady — Erica Milton

Mission Department — President Pastor John Delley; Elect Lady Evangelist Sharon Williams

Evangelist Department — President, Supt. Anthony McCrayElect Lady Evangelist Cathy Green

Sunday School Department — Superintendent, Pastor Larry Polk; Field Representative, Evangelist Cynthia Guyton


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Mid-South AAU hoops player Christian Brown following in foosteps of his mom and dad

BEAST MODE 

REMEMBER THE NAME — To his credit, AAU basketball standout Christian Brown went into beast mode during what was a memorable AAU game between Brown’s Murfreesboro, Tennessee-area Storm squad versus Eagleville. In a game that will go down as arguably the most memorable one to date for Brown, his Storm team faced a 12-point deficit with inside of two minutes remaining. That is when spectators witnessed flashes of greatness surrounding a kid who’s nearing 6-foot as a preteen.

He’s only 12 years of age.

But for a youth basketball player, Christian Brown is a beast on the court.

To his credit, he certainly went into full beast mode during what was a memorable AAU game between Brown’s Murfreesboro, Tennessee-area Storm squad versus Eagleville.

In a game that will go down as arguably the most memorable one to date for Brown, his Storm team faced a 12-point deficit with inside of two minutes remaining.
That is when spectators witnessed flashes of greatness surrounding a kid who’s nearing 6-foot as a preteen.
Brown was the catalyst for a Storm team that stormed back in the waning moments, erasing a double-digit deficit and miraculously coming away with a 50-49 victory, having outscored the opposition, 18-3, the rest of the way.
In manufacturing 17 points in what was an AAU game for the ages, Brown managed some late heroics when he stole an in-bounds pass and was fouled as a result.

His two clutch free throws helped the Storm ease out to the final margin and, most importantly, his immeasurable display proved to be a microcosm of his resiliency for which he customarily exemplifies in close-game situations.

So remember the name, much sooner than later: Christian Brown.

Because if there’s one thing he’s proven, it’s that his best and brightest days are well ahead of him.

“I always tell him he’s destined for greatness and to always make the most of each day,” said Chelsea Brown, Christians’s mother, during interview with Making Headline News this week. “That day will be confirmation of what we speak into his life on a daily basis.”

If anyone can appropriately assess — and critique — Christian’s progress on and off the court, it’s his mother.

Chelsea Brown was a basketball standout in her own right, most notably in high school, where she starred for perennial power Memphis Whitehaven (from 1990 to 1992), which boasted a number of Division 1 recruits. Brown went on to star at SWAC member Southern University from 1992 to 1995, capping off what was stellar basketball tenure for the native Memphian.


RESPECT DA HAVEN

IN RETROSPECT — Christian Brown’s mother, Chelsea Brown, was a basketball standout in her own right, most notably in high school, where she starred for perennial power Whitehaven (from 1990 to 1992), which boasted a number of Division 1 recruits.

Given that her son seems on path to following in the footsteps of his parents – both his mother and father are former athletes — it’s safe to assume that, well, the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree (with all due respect).

“Of course, I will be overjoyed to see his dreams and aspirations come to fruition,” said Chelsea Brown how special would it be if her son is fortunate to sign a National Letter of Intent to play college basketball. “But most of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity for him to continue to grow as an athlete.”

Chances are, the 5-foot-10 Christian Brown will grow — literally and figuratively — in the foreseeable future as he looks ahead to next season as one of the marquee players for Rocky Fork Middle School in Smyrna, Tennessee.

A slim 113-pounder — yet with so much growing to do and weight to put on — Christian often rotates between playing the small forward and shooting guard positions.

In addition to his attractive length for a 12-year-old, he’s proven to hold his own and make his presence felt, particularly against bigger and more experienced players, a trend that shouldn’t merely come as a surprise, considering Christian began playing competitive basketball at five years of age for the Rutherford County basketball league.

“He beat everyone down the court and played good defense,” Chelsea Brown said. “And he was the tallest kid on the court most of the time.”

The possibility exist that will surely be the case when he transitions to the prep basketball ranks, an attribute that figures to garner the attention of scouts and recruiters.


“He never ceases to amaze me,” Chelsea said her son’s continuous progress. “I love watching him exceed my expectations through growth and development. He always plays to the end.”

He sure does.

Remember that recent game against Eagleville?

His mother sure does. There’s a good chance she won’t be forgetting it, either.

FULL RIDE — Brown (in powder blue) went on to star at SWAC member Southern University from 1992 to 1995, capping off what was stellar basketball tenure for the native Memphian.

“I actually witnessed him lead his team to victory with two minutes on the clock and they were down by 12,” said Chelsea in pure wonderment. “I saw it in his eyes. He reads his opponents and went into (attack mode) and came out victorious.”

That, to his credit, figures to be a sign of things to come — much sooner than later.


“My parents always tell me that as long as I work hard, developing as a student-athlete, they will always provide an avenue for me to succeed,” said Christian, who recently was the beneficiary of the Athlete Academic Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average (he manufactured a 3.6 GPA), as well as being named Offensive Player of the Year in both football and basketball.

In addition to his attractive length for a 12-year-old, he’s proven to hold his own and make his presence felt, particularly against bigger and more experienced players, a trend that shouldn’t merely come as a surprise, considering Christian began playing competitive basketball at five years of age for the Rutherford County basketball league.

“My dad is always there to support me, and his presence always motivates me to play hard.”

Interestingly, although he has plenty of basketball left to play before bolting the high prep ranks, Christian doesn’t shy away from the notion that’s he’s presently auditioning for a full-ride athletic scholarship.

As far as he’s concerned, there’s no time to waste, not when he’s closing in on 6-feet in height as a preteen and making his presence felt against more experienced players.

“I would like (scouts and recruiters) to know that I am a hard worker and coachable,” said Christian, who will attend a hoops camp at Duke University over the summer. “I am a team player and have experience, playing every position on the floor. Most of all, I’m always open to learning and using skills learned from camps and other resources.”


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Dallas entrepreneur JerTerria Dawson’s VySion Events comes full circle, just as her late mother said


And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain on tables, that he may run that reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2 KJV)


VYSION UNFOLDING 

DOING IT BIG IN TEXAS — Dallas/Fort Worth-area Businesswoman JerTerria Dawson is owner and chief executive officer of VySion Events. Located at 360 E. Beltline Road in the heart of Desoto, Texas. VySion (pronounced Vision) is a 6,000 square feet venue that is suitable for hosting an array of events

DESOTO, Texas — As a longtime Texas entrepreneur, amongst JerTerria Dawson’s strategic objectives is striving to view virtually every business-related transaction from a broader perspective — to steadfastly devise ways to demonstrate a team-oriented concept, if you will.

“I honestly believe that everyone can win if we work together,” Dawson, 37, told Making Headline News this week. “There is enough business and clients in DFW that everyone can be successful. With that being said, I believe in assisting others and referring my potential clients to other venues if I am booked and other business owners have done the same.”

SEE THE VYSION : https://www.vysionevents.com/

It is due in large part to Dawson’s passion for displaying a heart for people that has contributed mightily to her sustaining entrepreneurship success as owner and chief executive officer of VySion Events.

Located at 360 East Beltline Road in the heart of Desoto, Texas, VySion (pronounced Vision) is a 6,000 square feet venue that is suitable for hosting an array of events, most notably (but not limited to:

  • Weddings and Receptions

  • Parties

  • Celebrations

  • Social Dances

  • Quinceaneras

  • Baby Showers

  • Video Shoots

  • Photo Shoots

  • ​Repass (Funeral Reception)

  • Sweet 16

  • Banquets

  • Reunions

  • Graduations

  • Corporate Events

  • Fashion Shows and,

  • Art Galleries

CATCH THE VYSION 

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME — Because this venue has emerged as one of the finest of its kind, particularly in North Texas, Dawson is convinced that her latest endeavor’s best and brightest days are well ahead of it.

In essence, this spaciously luxurious establishment is widely deemed a fixture throughout Dallas/Fort Worth’s Metroplex, in large part because its staff specializes in providing elegant social and corporate events to residents throughout the area.

“One major difference between VySion Events and other event facilities is that we not only provide our clients with a rental facility for their events, but we provide exceptional customer service while offering decor, linens, and vendor packages,” Dawson, a native of Dallas,  said.

Having credited her mother for fueling her desire to delve off into entrepreneurship, Dawson’s quest to owning an event venue essentially commenced during her undergraduate days.

A business that is nearly its first full of year of existence, Dawson and her staff are overwhelmingly appreciative of the instant — and continuous — success  VySion Events has enjoyed since its inception.

Most importantly, because this venue has emerged as one of the finest of its kind, particularly in North Texas, Dawson is convinced that her latest endeavor’s best and brightest days are well ahead of it.

“I like how my staff and I make my clients feel from start to finish,” Dawson said. “I believe in delivering exceptional service to my clients and that is what we strive to do with each event. We just love making each event a memorable one.”

Interestingly, when it comes to going above and beyond to ensure that each event is indeed an unforgettable one, there is virtually no limit on ages of individuals and groups to whom Dawson and Co. cater.

In other words, when pitching a call to VySion Events, rest assured that Dawson and staff will accommodate your every need and will provide the kind of service that undoubtedly will be nothing short of remarkable.

For Dawson, it wasn’t until after she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (with a minor in Film Studies) from the University of Houston that she began to become more diligent in the purpose for which she was created.

“We do not have a particular age group that we cater to,” Dawson emphasized. “Our youngest client has been one years old and our most seasoned client has been 70 years young. We welcome and cater to all age groups.”

Having credited her mother for fueling her fervent desire to delve off into entrepreneurship, Dawson’s quest to owning an event venue essentially commenced during her undergraduate days.

“While in college I would help people and different organizations plan events,” Dawson said. “However, the love for planning and having nice events grew when I became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.”

A business that is nearly its first full of year of existence, Dawson and her staff are overwhelmingly appreciative of the instant — and continuous — success  VySion Events has enjoyed since its inception.

For Dawson, it wasn’t until after she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (with a minor in Film Studies) from the University of Houston that she began to become more diligent in the purpose for which she was created.

Much to her delight, that is when the concept that is entrepreneurship had become more and more inevitable.

“After graduation I knew that I wanted to have my own event venue,” said Dawson, who also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Phoenix. “I would often talk to my mom about my desire to pursue this business venture.”

MOM CALLED IT — Interestingly, it wasn’t until after the sudden passing of Dawson’s mother on May 7, 2016 that such a prophesy had come full circle.

Without question, mom knew best, as Dawson had ultimately found out for probably the umpteenth time.

“She would always say, ‘You are going to open up your own event facility, just wait and see,’” Dawson recalled. “I always believed in my mom’s words, but fear, procrastination, doubt, and the No. 1 deterrent of not having money got in the way.”

Interestingly, it wasn’t until after the sudden passing of Dawson’s mother on May 7, 2016 that such a prophesy had come full circle.

“One major difference between VySion Events and other event facilities is that we not only provide our clients with a rental facility for their events, but we provide exceptional customer service while offering decor, linens, and vendor packages,” Dawson, a native of Dallas,  said.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

“We talked for about an hour and she imparted all of her knowledge about the business and, because of her and my mom pushing and guiding me, that is how VySion Events is her today.”

Talk about writing the VySion down and making it plain only to run with it.

 


In a related development:

 

Dawson announced that VySion Events will be hosting its inaugural Entrepreneur Pop-Up Shop/Back To School Bash on August 3 from 2 to 7 p.m., an event during which vendors and attendees will be able to donate school supplies.

There is a $100 vendor fee and the deadline to lock in an allotted space is May 24, Dawson said.

For vendor information or to make a donation, call 469.920.1363, or send email to: vysion.events@ gmail.com.


For more information about Dallas/Fort Worth-area Businesswoman JerTerria Dawson of VySion Events, connect with her via Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/VySion-Events-1819333784945429/. Also, send email to: jerterria.rodney@yahoo.com.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Detroit business couple Roderick and Mablene Gillison advancing the kingdom as resourceful recovery coaches


Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV)


STANDING IN AGREEMENT 

GOD-ORDERED STEPS — Together, the inseparable union between Roderick and Mablene Gillison is so superabundant and close-knit that this godly couple deemed it essential to collectively established a business venture that would not only benefit them mightily, but, most importantly, it would help enrich and advance the kingdom.

Roderick loves his wife to the moon and back.

Mablene undoubtedly shares the same sentiments.

Together, the inseparable union between Roderick and Mablene Gillison is so superabundant and close-knit that this godly couple deemed it essential to collectively established a business venture that would not only benefit them mightily, but, most importantly, it would help enrich and advance the kingdom.
A native of Detroit, Roderick Gillison is a longtime real estate broker whom, along with his wife of 27 years, is state licensed recovery coach, whereby they are routinely afforded the golden opportunity to offer strategic support and assistance, particularly through helping people make the necessary recoveries that will ultimately prove beneficial to them.
Aside from functioning as a dedicated business couple to complement their longstanding union, Gillison is the Founder of the Recovery Today Television Network, an awe-inspiring milestone that is a far cry from his season in the wilderness, during which he was once saddled by drug and alcohol additions.

“A recovery coach is a person who has lived experiences and can identify with the peers he or she is serving,” Roderick Gillison told Making Headline News this week.

A venture that is powered by Roderick’s wealth of experience as a licensed minister of the gospel, the Gillisons’ recovery coaching endeavor is centered largely on aiding others to press and navigate toward a rewarding, successful future, not to recall and dwell on their turbulent, discomforting past, the couple acknowledged.

“Recovery means to gain back what was lost,” Roderick Gillison said. We offer support, assistance in helping persons to make a recovery that will work for them.”

AND THE BIBLE SAYS…

Interestingly and to their distinctly unique credit, the Gillisons’ Christian-based venture has become a fixture for attracting and accommodating today’s youth — or these millennial.

“We are trying to show the young generation it’s not what you do, it’s why you do what you do,” said Roderick Gillison, who accepted his calling to engaging in ministerial work in 1995.

Beloved members of Detroit’s historic After Christ Christian Center — under the leadership of Apostle Rudolph and Kingdom Recovery Ministries founder, Pastor Lois Ellis — Roderick Gillison credit these notable clergymen for greatly steering him on the right path in ministry, as well as in the business sector.

SOLID SUPPORTING CAST — Beloved members of Detroit’s historic After Christ Christian Center — under the leadership of Apostle Rudolph and Kingdom Recovery Ministries founder, Pastor Lois Ellis — Roderick Gillison credit these notable clergymen for greatly steering him on the right path in ministry, as well as in the business sector.

“These are my pastors, whom I love dearly,” Roderick Gillison said. “They accepted me and my family in 1995 at the lowest times in my life when I was struggling and hurt, and with their love and prayers, they raised us up to be who we are today — overcomers in Christ.”

Aside from functioning as a dedicated business couple to complement their longstanding union, Gillison is the Founder of the Recovery Today Television Network, an awe-inspiring milestone that is a far cry from his season in the dreaded wilderness, during which he was once saddled by drug and alcohol addictions.

RODERICK’S COVERING 

POWERFUL WORDS —– “Having my husband for 27 years as a business partner gives me the ability to grow, not only as a friend, partner, and lover,” Mablene Gillison said. “We encourage each other in the good and bad times. Things I can’t see and hear, I have the man I trust to help me navigate through life’s situations. In this partnership, it teaches us to pray, love, forgive, and celebrate life daily.”

But God…Whom this devout man of faith had ultimately discovered would emerge as the Author and Finisher of his faith.

Talk about a dramatic comeback from after having endured a major and potentially life-threatening setback.

“I’m working in the field that I once fell victim to,” said Roderick Gillison, recalling his life-changing testimony for probably the umpteenth time, yet for all the right reasons.

Aside for the valiant support of his spiritually coverings, he has his wife to thank more than anything.

“My wife’s impact as a business partner is very special,” Roderick Gillison said. ‘Not only is she a wife, but first and foremost, she’s my friend. (The fact) we can achieve and love each other at the same time is mind blowing to me. Our marriage of 27 years is based upon (the Biblical passage) Amos 3:3, which reads: How can two walk together except they be agreed? She knows everything about me…how I think, how I’m feeling…man, she is definitely a gift from God. None of this would be possible without her.”

WE ALL IN — A venture that is powered by his wealth of experience as a licensed minister of the gospel, the Gillisons’ recovery coaching endeavor is centered largely on aiding others to press and navigate toward a rewarding, successful future, not to recall and dwell on their turbulent, discomforting past, the couple acknowledged.

Of course, Mablene Gillison likewise has a few favorable pleasantries to pass along while assessing her husband’s immeasurable impact as a business partner.

“Having my husband for 27 years as a business partner gives me the ability to grow, not only as a friend, partner, and lover,” Mablene Gillison said. “We encourage each other in the good and bad times. Things I can’t see and hear, I have the man I trust to help me navigate through life’s situations. In this partnership, it teaches us to pray, love, forgive, and celebrate life daily.”

With God, their Helper, steering the way.


For more information about Detroit-area business couple Roderick and Mablene Gillison, connect with them via Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/roderickmablene.gillison. Also, send email to: rodg71@yahoo.com.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

SALUTE TO GRADUATE TRIBUTES: Louisiana prep student athlete Ca’lib Watts proven to be an all-around champion

BAYOU CHAMPION

ON CENTER STAGE — As if his 3.4 grade point average wasn’t enough to emerge as the center of conversation in the family, Ca’lib Watts helped propelled Lafayette Christian football team to an impressive 14-0 record that was culminated with a LHSAA Division IV state championship, courtesy of a 56-7 rout of Ascension Catholic.

DALLAS — Call him Ca’lib The Champ.

That’s because Louisiana high school student athlete Ca’lib Watts has proven to be a champion in every stretch of the imagination, especially during what undoubtedly has been a remarkably memorable tenure for the 18-year-old senior at Lafayette Christian Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana.

“I am still in awe that God allowed this handsome, young man of mine to make me a mommy 18 years ago,” Shameka Sampson said of her son to kick off Making Headline News’ annual Salute To Graduate Tributes for 2019.

“To say that I am proud of him would be an understatement.”

To grasp a thorough concept of why Sampson essentially couldn’t offer enough superlatives when recalling the legacy her beloved son continues to create even at this stage in his young life, look no further than the flurry of accolades and achievements he’s garnered as he prepares to earn his diploma on May 17.

KLEENEX FORTHCOMING — Come May 17, chances are Sampson and the rest the family will be crying tears of joy when Watts’ name is called to receive his diploma.“When I hear his name called on graduation night, I will feel like I’m in a dream,” Sampson said. “This time in his life has come way too fast for me and I will probably cry as I have been doing since the first day of his senior year, but they will be happy tears and maybe a few sad ones, too.”

For starters, Watts boasts a cumulative grade point average of 3.4.

As if that isn’t enough to emerge as the center of conversation in the family, Watts helped propelled the Lafayette Christian football team to an impressive 14-0 record that was culminated with an LHSAA Division IV state championship, courtesy of a 56-7 rout of Ascension Catholic.

Not to be outdone, Watts is a member of LCA’s varsity track squad, which recently won the regionals, thus advancing to state championships at LSU, where he will compete as part of the Knights’ relay team.

HER BEGOTTEN SON — To grasp a thorough concept of why Shameka Sampson essentially couldn’t offer enough words when recalling the legacy her beloved son continues to create even at stage in his young life, look no further than the flurry of accolades and achievements he’s garnered as he prepares to earn his diploma on May 17.

While he is just days away from earning his diploma, Watts has already devised a strategic plan for life after high school.

According to his mother, Watts will attend Basic Training for the U.S. Army National Guard before enrolling in Spring 2020 at nearby McNeese University, where he plans to major in Pediatric Nursing.

Though Auburn, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University- Commerce capped off Watts’ short list of colleges, Sampson admittedly was convinced all along that her son wanted to stay within close proximity of the family’s residence.

Not to be outdone, Watts is a member of LCA’s varsity track squad, which recently the won the regionals, thus advancing to state championships at LSU, where he will compete as part of the Knights’ relay team.

“(There were) a couple more colleges, but I believe they were a little too far away from his mom and sister,” Sampson jokingly said.

All things considered, Sampson doesn’t shy away from the notion that she’s overwhelmingly in awe of the favor God has bestowed upon the life of her son, whose best and brightest days are well ahead of him, she said.

“My son has inspired me to be a better me,” Sampson said. “He has never judged me for my shortcomings as a parent and he has told and showed me how much he admires me and how hard I’ve worked to take care of him and his younger sister.”

Once Watts enters the next chapter of his life, he will be missed considerably, his mother acknowledged.

“My daughter, Jaeda, will miss him a lot as well,” Sampson said. “Her ‘bubby,’ as she so fondly calls him, has looked up to him and trusted him to never lead her wrong. Ca’lib calls himself his ‘Sister’s Keeper.’”

Though Auburn, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University- Commerce capped off Watts’ short list of colleges, Sampson admittedly was convinced all along that her son wanted to stay within close proximity of the family’s residence.

As for going away in the coming months, that will certainly take some getting used to.

“Ca‘lib has never been away from me or his sister this long…ever…and it will definitely be a challenge, because I will be praying for him, wondering if he’s okay and if his superiors are treating him right, but I have to give him to God and have to let him become a man,” Sampson said.

Come May 17, chances are Sampson and the rest the family will be crying tears of joy when Watts’ name is called to receive his diploma.

“When I hear his name called on graduation night, I will feel like I’m in a dream,” Sampson said. “This time in his life has come way too fast for me and I will probably cry as I have been doing since the first day of his senior year, but they will be happy tears and maybe a few sad ones, too.”

Much to his delight, it has been one heckuva ride the past few years for Watts, whom Sampson said has held fast to a rare sense of integrity in ways many of his peers haven’t.

WELL ON HIS WAY 

THE LORD’S DOING — “I am still in awe that God allowed this handsome, young man of mine to make me a mommy 18 years ago,” Sampson said of her son to kick off Making Headline News’ annual Salute To Graduates Tributes for 2019.

“I am proud of my son for keeping himself pure and in waiting for the young woman that God has for him,” Sampson said. “A lot of young men don’t make it to the age of 18 without several sexual partners or children, but I thank God that he listened to me and he and his girlfriend, Londyn, have made a pact between themselves and God to keep themselves pure, because God said so. There is no limit for him. The boundaries are limitless because he serves a limitless God.”

Talk about demonstrating the attributes of a true champion.

“The favor on his life comes not just from being who he is, but because of his obedience,” Sampson said. “And, as long as he honors the Lord, he will not fall, break, or bend.”

That’s because this Louisiana high school student athlete has proven to be a champion in every stretch of the imagination.

Big ups to Ca’lib The Champ.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether your child has already graduated or not, if you would like to pay homage to his/her accomplishments with a unique Salute To Graduates Tribute that will feature a story like the one above with multiple photos, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Thanks to a former NFL player, Duncanville’s Barak Gurnell has found his niche and passion in football


TEXAS CLASS 6A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW


DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Tamara Gurnell was going on and on Wednesday morning about how her son, Barak Gurnell, doesn’t routinely watch football.

“He doesn’t watch a whole lot of football,” Tamara Gurnell told Making Headline News. “I could turn it on a game and he’ll go in another room. He’s just not into watching football like that.”


EYE OF THE PANTHER 

HEART OF A CHAMPION — A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p.m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

That certainly isn’t the case for her son on the field.

A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0, ranked No. 8 nationally by MaxPreps.com) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0, ranked No. 10 nationally by MaxPreps.com) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p. m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

Led by former Dallas Skyline coach Reggie Sample, Duncanville is ranked No. 1 in Texas Class 6A, according to MaxPreps. North Shore is ranked No. 2.

A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win in the state semifinals.


“Football has become a very important part of my life in a very short period of time and I honestly can’t see going to college without it. It pushes me to be a better version of myself every day.” — Duncanville senior defensive tackle Barak Gurnell 


STOCK IS RISING — What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

Football alone isn’t the only factor that has greatly inspired Gurnell to maximize his potential as he continues to lobbies for a full ride scholarship as a member of a nationally-ranked Duncanville team that’s loaded with Division 1-caliber players and is back in the state championship for the first time in two decades.

Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis.

A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

PIVOTAL EXTRA POINT — Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis. A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

As Tamara Gurnell recalled, Lewis was rather direct when suggesting that her son — who already exhibits the size of an NFL defensive lineman — should serious consider giving football a try.

“My friend, Rod Lewis, hadn’t seen Barak for some time until his daughter’s 17th birthday party,” Tamara Gurnell explained. “Rod’s face lit up with excitement and he began to pat Barak on the back and chest, commenting on how big he had gotten.”

As it turns out, it seemed that divine intervention essentially couldn’t keep Barak Gurnell off of Lewis’ mind days after the two had crossed paths.

MOM KNOWS BEST –— Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

“A few days later, Rod called me to discuss Barak’s future, highly encouraging (him) to consider football as a viable option to add to his high school portfolio,” Tamara Gurnell recalled.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

That’s because not only did Barak Gurnell heed the pertinent advice of Lewis but, much to his delight, it’s safe to assume that competitive football, by all accounts, has become an integral part of his life.

Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace some wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

Yep. What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

“I have spoken to Lyon College over the phone and Texas State University (scouts) in person,” said Gurnell, adding that Oklahoma State and SMU have expressed interests in his services.

REMEMBER THE NAME — A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win.

Surely, Gurnell’s short list of schools, in all likelihood, will expand, considering just this past summer, he attended camps at SMU, OSU, Baylor, TCU, the University of Houston, Rice University, and Texas A&M Commerce, among others.

“There will be no problems off the field,” said Gurnell, when asked what direct message he’d like to send to college scouts and recruiters. “I always make sure to conduct myself in a respectable fashion and that my grades are never a problem. Right now, I’m preparing for the state final game against North Shore, and I plan to continue to lift weights through the winter and do some conditioning once it gets warmer.”

If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential for landing an athletic scholarship.

“The coaches give honest feedback,” Tamara Gurnell said of her son’s constant progression to the sport. “Essentially, Barak is a diamond in the rough. Because he is so new to the sport, the learning curve is massive.”

All things considered, one would be hard-pressed to discover just how “massive” of a curve it is, given the sustained success Gurnell has enjoyed in such a brief timeframe.

“He is a quick study, and in football, intellect is key,” said Tamara Gurnell, sounding very much like a prep football insider. “(The Duncanville coaching staff) believe he will be offered a (partial) scholarship, if not a full one, mainly because there is limited film due to his late start in the sport. They believe he will surely be an asset, because of his character and great grades.”

PUTTING IN WORK — If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential to landing an athletic scholarship.

Something even a former NFL player had recognized at a birthday party.

Speaking of party, expect the Gurnells to host one if the Panthers upend North Shore Saturday night in Arlington, which is roughly two towns over from Duncanville.

Heck, expect them to throw an even bigger party if Barak Gurnell pulls off the unthinkable by signing a National Letter of Intent in the foreseeable future , which undoubtedly would be a massive, remarkable feat for a relatively newcomer to the sport.

“I will be proud (if he earns a football scholarship), because he is one step closer to his independence,” Tamara Gurnell said. “I am enjoying the man he is becoming.”

A youngster who already exhibits the frame of an NFL defensive lineman.

Talk about impressive.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Collierville offensive lineman Kendarius Malone’s mother writes him an open letter as he lobbies for football scholarship

MEMPHIS — Kendarius Malone can be appropriately described as an opportunistic student athlete.

STOCK RISING — Aside from helping steer the Collierville High to a third place finish in the always rugged 6A Region 7 district, Kendarius Malone enjoyed a resourceful, yet crucial senior season which, to his credit, had given way to at least one college thrusting him under its radar. According to the 17-year-old Collierville native, Mid-South Conference member Kentucky Christian University has expressed interest in Malone, who earned All-Region Honorable Mention for his valiant contributions.

Consider, for instance, how Malone, who recently wrapped up his prep football tenure for Collierville High, had gone about doing the necessary things to enhance his stock as he continues to lobby for a full ride scholarship.

A 6-foot, 260-pound left tackle, Malone made appearances — thus made his presence felt — this past spring and summer during camps at the University of Memphis, Belhaven College, Austin Peay State, not to mention the Team USA Camp.

“In the Team USA Camp, I made it to the final round to be able to play for the United States,” an enthused Malone told Making Headline News this week. “However, I had to withdraw so that I would not lose my eligibility to play for my senior year because of TSSAA rules.”

Although Malone didn’t savor the chance to showcase his football mechanics for his country, his immeasurable body of work, nevertheless, undoubtedly was nothing short of impressive.

For starters, he was the catalyst his senior campaign for a Collierville team that finished the season with a 5-6 overall record, but still managed to advance to the opening round of the TSSAA state playoffs.


EYE OF THE DRAGON

SOMEONE SIGN THIS KID — Malone, who recently wrapped up his prep football tenure for Collierville High, had gone about doing the necessary things to enhance his stock as he continues to lobby for a full ride scholarship.

Aside from helping steer the Dragons to a third place finish in the always rugged 6A Region 7 district, Malone enjoyed a resourceful, yet crucial senior season which, to his credit, had given way to at least one college thrusting him under its radar.

According to the 17-year-old Collierville native, Mid-South Conference member Kentucky Christian University has expressed interest in Malone, who earned All-Region Honorable Mention for his valiant contributions.

“I would say that I had an excellent season,” Malone said.

Much to Malone’s delight, no can attest to how great a season he enjoyed more than his mother, Jennifer Bogan.

ALL AMERICAN IN HIS OWN RIGHT — A 6-foot, 260-pound left tackle, Malone made it appearance — thus made his presence felt — this past spring and summer during camps at the University of Memphis, Belhaven College, Austin Peay State, not to mention the Team USA Camp.

Hours after the Collierville’s team banquet Monday night, Bogan took to her Facebook page, where she assembled an open letter to her son in relatively loving, emotional fashion.

Said Bogan in a spirited, tear-jerking, early morning post that was made public before her nearly-400 social media followers:


Congratulations to Kendarius on a wonderful time at the CHS football banquet. You didn’t receive the top award that you wanted, but baby, the champion lies within your heart. You fought a great battle, and to even see last night happen and for that, there is no trophy, certificate, banner, or plaque worthy enough to symbolize how blessed you are after all that you have been through. You didn’t lose sight of your dreams and didn’t lose your faith in seeing your senior football season happen! Your story is still unfinished. The reason of this path is still unknown, but what we do know is there is purpose behind every situation! The thing I love about you is no matter what, you have not gotten discouraged and still hours later, you looked on to what’s getting ready to happen in the next chapter and the next doors that’s opening, and for that I’m sooo proud of you! Again, congratulations on the award you did receive…keep going and keep having the heart of a champion in all the things you do…with God, ALL things are possible!!! Mama loves you! 


Talk about an encouraging, open letter for the ages — this from a mother whom, years ago, didn’t sense her son would become engaged in athletics.

“I never thought that Kendarius would play football, because he was never interested in sports growing up,” Bogan, a Pharmacy Technician Supervisor at Baptist Memorial Hospital, said. “He was in the shadows of his older brother’s basketball teams, being the water boy. I never thought he would play football until he started his eighth year at First Assembly Christian School and the coaches kept begging him to play and told me that they see so much potential in him.

HOLDING IT DOWN — Malone was the catalyst his senior campaign for a Collierville team that finished the season with a 5-6 overall record, but still managed to advance to the opening round of the TSSAA state playoffs.

“However, I didn’t think anything of it and had said ‘No’ to him playing football until one day he came home with pads, and a consent form.”

Malone, as Bogan recalled, was 14 years old at the time.

A little more than three years removed from having come home with a consent form to play competitive football, Bogan’s son now finds himself just one National Letter of Intent signing away from attending college free of charge.

What a difference having initially assumed the role as a water boy has made.

When asked what kind of player will a college be inheriting if he’s offered a football scholarship, Malone said, “A player that is passionate about the game of football… (one who is) ready to learn and be taught how to excel at the college level, a player that is open to all possibilities, and one the will give 110 percent on every snap and every down.

That, after all, practically sums up why he can be appropriately described as an opportunistic student athlete.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

 

Lewisville High football standout Tahj Martin: ‘It is a dream for me to play college football’

LEWISVILLE, Texas — Tahj Martin is just a tender 15-year-old student athlete.

A great, big gigantic one, that is.

Consider, for instance, Martin’s massive frame that is comprised of his standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 261 pounds which, to his credit, is practically equivalent of an NFL lineup.


FRESHMAN SENSATION

UNDER THE RADAR — Assuming roles on both sides of the ball as a left tackle and defensive end for Lewisville coach Michael Odle’s squad, Tahj Martin enjoyed a significant amount of action this past season for the Farmers as his stock amongst college scouts and recruiters increased mightily in the process.

Speaking of the NFL, Martin doesn’t shy away from the notion that playing football on Sundays undoubtedly is amongst his major long-term ambitions.

But first thing’s first: blossoming as a rising prep footballer.

“I am a hard working athlete, who has come from very humble surroundings,” Martin told Making Headline News during a weekend interview. “I am a magnet and people gravitate to me, because of my winning personality and attitude.”

A triumphant mentality certainly highlights Martin’s assortment of key attributes as a true freshman for Lewisville (Texas) High’s football team.

 

STOCK IS RISING — With so much high school football ahead of him, Martin has already garnered interests from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas.

Martin, in fact, is coming off of a productive and breakthrough season for an upstart Lewisville team that finished the 2018 campaign with a 9-3 mark, including an impressive 6-1 record in 6A Region I District 6, second only to conference rival Flower Mound.

Assuming roles on both sides of the ball as a left tackle and defensive end for coach Michael Odle’s squad, Martin enjoyed a significant amount of action for the Farmers as his stock amongst college scouts and recruiters increased mightily in the process.

No one, it seems, can attest to his notion more than his father, Geoffrey Grant Martin, who’s thoroughly convinced that his son is making a strong case that his prep football career will culminate with him signing a National Letter of Intent.

TEXAS-SIZED IMPACT — Martin is coming off of a productive and breakthrough season for an upstart Lewisville team that finished the 2018 campaign with a 9-3 mark, including an impressive 6-1 record in 6A Region I District 6, second only to conference rival Flower Mound.

“Tahj has grown tremendously both on the field and off,” Geoffrey Grant said. “He’s gained a level of confidence and passion for not only his role on the team, but for the entire team itself, all while maintaining his grades academically.”

All things considered, Martin’s favorable display as a true freshmen for the Farmers has, in fact, given way to a few college scouts deeming it essential to thrust him under their radar.

With so much high school football ahead of him, Martin has already garnered interests from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas.

DOING IT BIG IN TEXAS — Martin’s massive frame that is comprised of his standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 261 pounds which, to his credit, is practically equivalent of an NFL lineup.

Given the immeasurable impact he’s had thus far in his prep career, expect that list to expand much sooner than later.

“It is a dream for me (to play college football), because I am made and built for the sport of football,” Martin said. “I know that all the years I have been playing will pay off and a college scholarship would be the ultimate satisfaction of all.”

Although he did not attend any camps this past summer because of unforeseen circumstances, Martin was especially active, particularly as it relates to conditioning regularly and monitoring his weight.

“(I would typically workout) Monday and Wednesday mornings and in the afternoons, (and would take part in) cardio training on Saturdays and Sundays,” Martin said. “I also work on healthy eating habits that include making smoothies and protein snacks to build a strong muscle mass.”

DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING — A triumphant mentality certainly highlights Martin’s assortment of key attributes as a true freshman for Lewisville High’s football team.

Despite his overall body of work on and off the field, coupled with the impressive resume he’s established to this point, Martin also doesn’t shy away from the notion that no one has to persuade him not to hit the cruise control button at this point.

Not with so much prep football ahead of him.


“I performed exceptionally well (during the 2018 season), but I still have more work to do. I’ve got to work more on dropping into coverage. I have to work on that. My speed needs to improve, but with growth, I know I will get faster.” — Lewisville freshman Tahj Martin


WAITING HIS TURN — All things considered, Martin’s favorable display a true underclassmen for the Farmers has, in fact, given way to a few college scouts deeming it essential to thrust him under their radar.

A pretty wise and thorough assessment, this coming from a tender 15-year-old student athlete.

A great, big gigantic one, that is.

One whose short list of interested colleges undoubtedly is expected to expand much sooner than later.

So stay tuned.


For more information about Lewisville (Texas) High School football standout Tahj Gabriel Martin, connect with him via social media at:

Instagram: @tahjmartin12

Snaphat: tmahal_878

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tahj.martin.1

Twitter: @martin2Tahj


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Memphian Gregory Lofton pleading with Penny Hardaway to possess copyrights of his music

MAKING HEADLINE NEWS WELCOMES GREGORY LOFTON


As Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway prepares to begin a new era as the new University of Memphis men’s basketball coach this week when the Tigers host a sold out Memphis Madness in FedExForum, one longtime U of M faithful has something intriguing to pass along to the Bluff City hoops legend.

Longtime entertainer Gregory Lofton, a native Memphian, the CEO of Silky International Records and the mastermind behind the hit song, “Tiger Fever,” doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s determined to garner the attention of Hardaway, a former U of M star and four-time NBA All-Star.

“I want it to be known that a song by an unsigned artist and publisher is worth $250,000 per year to sample and with all monies due according to the copyright act under a master licensing agreement that covers The Penny Hardaway Show, Stadium use, performance and broadcast royalties, CD and DVD production, TV, Movies, Film, etc.,” Lofton told Making Headline News during a recent interview.

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS — Longtime entertainer Gregory Lofton, a native Memphian, the CEO of Silky International Records and the mastermind behind the hit song, “Tiger Fever,” doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s determined to garner the attention of Hardaway, a former U of M star and four-time NBA All-Star.

“The University of Memphis, the Rebounders Club, and Highland Hundred Club know about this project, but I will not give my hard work away for exposure and season tickets,” Lofton continued. “Writing exposure instead of a dollar amount on a check will buy me nothing for my hard work.”

Lofton, meanwhile, was extremely complementary of one Mid-South radio personality, who deemed it essential to applaud his immeasurable body of work as an entertainer.

“My strongest supporter at the time I was trying to promote Tiger Fever was John ‘The Rainman’ Rainey,’ said Lofton, alluding to the sports media personality for WHBQ 56AM’s The Southern Sports Report.  If you want to know how powerful a theme song like ‘Jingle Tiger Fever’ is, talk to him.”

According to Lofton, Rainey had gone as far as to play Tiger Fever during Memphis’ NCAA Final Four run in 2008, a sequence that ended with the Tigers losing to Kansas in overtime, 75-68, in the championship game.

ANSWERING THE CALL? As Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway prepares to begin a new era as the new University of Memphis men’s basketball coach this week when the Tigers host a sold out Memphis Madness in FedExForum, one longtime U of M faithful has something intriguing to pass along to the Bluff City hoops legend. (AP Photo)

“(Rainey) used Tiger Fever to open his show and played several snit bits of it within the first hour of the show,” Lofton said.

Now with the Hardaway coaching era looming, coupled with all of the hoopla surrounding Tiger hoops, Lofton remains hopeful that the former Memphis Treadwell High star will follow Rainey’s lead and tune in to his compelling musical project.

Hardaway, 47, was hired as head coach by his alma mater on March 19, having replaced Tubby Smith, who was fired after two seasons at Memphis.

Lofton was rather forthright in his proposition to Hardaway. 

“I’m willing to transfer the rights over to you, Penny, to own it outright,” Lofton said. “You and I are North Memphis products and I support you. I only met you once when I was with Kevin Morrow.  I will do for you what I would do for the university administrators. You will own everything outright.  The whole collection promotes Memphis and the Tigers. I put my hard earned money and intellectual properties into this project and I deserve financial gratification.”

Besides Rainey, Lofton said that U of M Band Director Albert Nuguen is familiar with his popular hit that is “Tiger Fever.”

All of which is why he has extended a plea to Hardaway to strongly consider listening to what could very well become an enjoyable and fun trend for U of M sports fans.

“I was asking the one-year sampling rate of $250,000 as a buyout price that I knew they were going to try and juggle with price lowering strategies,” Lofton said. “The administration will not deal with me, because of my deep knowledge of the music industry game and knowing my worth when it comes to licensing. They will deal with (Hardaway) if (he) owns the rights in full for (his) program.”

Along with his direct proposition to Hardaway to assume copyrights of his work, Lofton is pleading with the local media to look into his music.

“The Memphis media — even though they never did a story on me — know about my work,” Lofton said.

For more information about Memphis Businessman Gregory Lofton of Silky International Records or to inquire about his music, call 901.474.9209. Also, send email to: gregorylofton@ymail.com


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Atlanta-area prep basketball standout Markus Lofton is as good as advertised as he auditions for a scholarship

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a series of reports on Berkmar High School basketball standout Markus Lofton as Making Headline News will chronicle his progress through his upcoming senior campaign. 


Making Headline News earlier this week took some time to observe YouTube footage of Atlanta-area prep basketball standout Markus Lofton.

Yep, surely, the kid who’s widely known as “The Old Soul” and “The Silent Assassin” is as good as advertised, a trend a flurry of college scouts and recruiters will likely discover in this, Lofton’s forthcoming final full year of high hoops.

“Markus first started playing basketball when he was three years old,” said Marlon Lofton, Markus’ father. “He would not leave the house without a basketball jersey, wrist bands, and head band on.”

Ever since his parents first introduced him to basketball, Markus Lofton has been nothing short of brilliant, especially on the ever-so-competitive ATL hoops circuit.

A 6-foot swingman who helped propel Greg Phillips’ Berkmar High team to a third place region mark of 16-13 finish in 2017-18, Markus Lofton figures to raise his level of play in what undoubtedly will be a crucial campaign for him.

Crucial in the sense that he knows full well that he’s auditioning for a full ride scholarship, something he’s dreamt about since, well, he first picked up a basketball at tender age of three.

“They’ve been very encouraging and uplifting,” said Markus Lofton, explaining his parents’ immeasurable impact on rise as one of Berkmar’s marquee players. “They always persuade me to follow my dreams.”

SOLID SUPPORTING CAST — For what’s it worth, the Loftons are confident that given their son’s immeasurable track record on the court to date, the time and work he’s invested will surely pay off with arguably his grand prize — a full ride scholarship, coupled with a college basketball uniform.

And following diligently after his dreams is certainly what this basketball-crazed kid has done throughout the years.

Coming off of a stellar junior campaign in which he was afforded the golden opportunity to play significant roles both of the varsity and junior varsity squads, Markus Lofton held his own and, a majority of the time, he exceeded his own expectations.

WATCH MARKUS LOFTON IN ACTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=BPzdPSgVf7Y&t=2s

For starters, he manufactured an impressive scoring average last year with 16 points per game along with four rebounds, while handing out five assists while being the only Berkmar player to see action both on JV and varsity. Add to the fact that he converted 91 percent of his free throws and shot an impressive 52 percent from three-point range, and it’s no wonder he’s already fallen under the radar of a handful of major Division 1 schools.

AUDITIONS UNDERWAY — According to Markus Lofton, Baylor, Stetson, Auburn, and Clemson are amongst the schools that have expressed interest in his services.

With others likely to follow, presuming his all-around game takes a significant upgrade this upcoming season.

According to Markus Lofton, Baylor, Stetson, Auburn, and Clemson are amongst the schools that have expressed interest in his services.

“It’s been a dream since I was younger,” Markus Lofton said of the possibility of playing major college basketball. “Basketball is all that I know and have studied, so it not being a dream wasn’t an option for me.”

As he prepares for his decisive prep season, Markus’ father, too, has stressed to his son the importance of not settling for the success he enjoyed last year. Rather, he deems it essential to often remind him on the importance of increasing his productivity and leadership qualities. 

MORE OF MARKUS LOFTON IN ACTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=MuYCATpagZ0&t=6s 

“To whom much is given, much is required,” said Marlon Lofton, when asked what pertinent advice he often passes along his son, whose impressive basketball resume includes playing for the Georgia Tornadoes, G- Team USA and ATL Playmakers AAU squads. “I also tell him what his great grandmother told me: ‘Let the work you do, speak for you.’ I think this is why he is always in the gym. He doesn’t miss a day in the gym with his coaches or working on his game and training.”

HOOP DREAMS — For what’s it worth, the Loftons are confident that given their son’s immeasurable track record on the court to date, the time and work he’s invested will surely pay off with arguably his grand prize — a full ride scholarship, coupled with a college basketball uniform.

For what’s it worth, the Loftons are confident that given their son’s immeasurable track record on the court to date, the time and work he’s invested will surely pay off with arguably his long-awaited grand prize — a full ride scholarship, coupled with a college basketball uniform.

And everything else that comes with it.

“He is smart, witty, and wants to study Sports Management, Education, and Health outside of basketball,” said Marlon Lofton, adding that his son boasts what he deems a high IQ and exceptional wisdom. “With sports growing the way that it does, the door for him is wide open with major opportunities.

“My wife of 31 years and I believed that he loved the sport so much, he would sit and study the game, watching his older brother (Markele) who is a good player and has graduated from Georgia State University.”

DAD KNOWS BEST — “To whom much is given, much is required,” said Marlon Lofton, when asked what pertinent advice he often passes along his son, whose impressive basketball resume includes playing for the Georgia Tornadoes, G- Team USA and ATL Playmakers AAU squads. “I also tell him what his great grandmother told me: ‘Let the work you do, speak for you.’ I think this is why he is always in the gym. He doesn’t miss a day in the gym with his coaches or working on his game and training.”

If Markus Lofton’s has his way and continues to show he’s as good as advertised, the Lofton household will soon find itself going to more college basketball games in the near future.

So stay tuned.

As evidenced by all of that impressive YouTube footage of the kid who’s widely known as “The Old Soul” and “The Silent Assassin”. 


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Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.