Lanett’s Bridges named the 2018 All-Valley Football Player of the Year

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018

LANETT — Being an athlete from a small town who’s going to a big college program makes you an immediate celebrity in the community. In the case of 18-year-old Trikweze Bridges, the 2018 All-Valley Football Player of the Year has the entire city of Lanett watching his every move, and he knows it.

“For me, I can come back late from practice, and the kids will just be waiting for me to come home,” Bridges said. “They’ll be like ‘hey, Trikweze!’ Sometimes, I don’t even see the kids, I’ll just be looking around and I’ll wave, but the kids help me a lot. If they’re are looking up to me, then I want to be the right person that they’re looking up to. I don’t want them to be out here doing the wrong thing. They actually help me to be successful and be the person that I am because I don’t like kids doing wrong things. I have to set an example for them.”

On the field, Bridges had a high school career Lanett fans will remember for years to come. He tied the all-time state record for career interceptions at 36, and he also holds the state record for career pick-sixes with 13. On the offensive side of the ball, Bridges emerged as Lanett’s No. 1 receiving option, wrapping up his senior year with 27 receptions for 528 yards and 13 touchdowns. Bridges was also a pivotal part of Lanett’s first football state championship in 2017 as well.

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Despite all of his accomplishments at Lanett, the memory that he’ll carry most with him will motivate him in college. He signed with the University of Oregon on Wednesday. “Going to Eugene, I’ll remember the 36 interceptions that I had, and [I’ll remember] not beating the state record by one more,” Bridges said. 

Off the field, Bridges has held the same standard for himself that he had in his playing career. Growing up, he said that receiving a low B as a final grade wasn’t good enough for him. The words ‘humble’ and ‘character’ come up a lot when the Lanett football coaching staff describes his personality. During his press conference after his signing on Wednesday, Bridges gave every reporter his full undivided attention with eye contact. 

“My parents taught me to do the right thing,” he said. “I know right from wrong. Doing the right thing is what I know.”

Being a star recruit from a small town can bring a lot of attention for an 18-year-old, but Bridges said that he knows what comes with the spotlight.

“I don’t really have friends or a big circle,” he said. “How I know that people are just in for the attention is how they carry themselves, and the things they say to me. I don’t really get into that. I’m not a mean person, so I’ll talk to them, but it’s not really a daily-basis thing. I’ll greet them, but I can tell if you’re just in it for the fame.”

Bridges has accomplished a lot in his high school football career, but there was still an expression of joy on his face when he initially learned that he was named the All-Valley Football Player of the Year on Wednesday morning.

“There are a lot of other high school players as well,” he said. “For me to be chosen, it’s a blessing, and it feels good.”

Making the move to the Pac-12 Conference, Bridges’ words of advice to the local underclassmen remains clear.

“Work hard,” he said. “Don’t give up. Be humble. That’s the main thing that comes to mind is just to be humble. Being humble can take you a long way.”