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UTILITY PLAYER: Lanett senior Trikweze Bridges returns a punt for the Panthers at Maplesville. He also served as the team’s punter, wide receiver and safety. Photo by Rashad Milligan

Lanett’s Bridges named All-American

LANETT —  Lanett senior safety Trikweze Bridges was named to the 2018 MaxPreps Small Schools All-American Football Team on Tuesday. Bridges was named to the first team as a defensive back.

Bridges’ selection marks the second Lanett player who was named to an All-American team this season. Junior quarterback Kristian Story was named a MaxPrep All-American for juniors earlier in the month.

“When I found out and looked at the [news], I was just like, ‘wow,’” Lanett head football coach Clifford Story, Jr. said. “I scrolled through just to see the different areas and locations of the U.S. that other kids are coming from, and I was like, ‘this is unbelievable.’ For a small school from Lanett, Alabama with the complexes we have, to have two guys get the exposure that they have received in the past two weeks is remarkable. I said to myself that small schools really do matter.”

The 2018 All-Valley Area Player of the Year, Bridges finished his senior season by tying the all-time state record by grabbing 36 interceptions. He also set the all-time state record for career pick sixes with 13. This past season, he finished with 88 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 10 forced fumbles.

As opposed to his teammate Story, who was already ranked the No. 1 athlete in Alabama for the Class of 2020 and was named to the sophomore All-American team last season, Bridges wasn’t near the top 100 of many national boards before this season.

“I’m not surprised because he has worked so hard to put himself in position to receive any accolade that he gets,” Coach Story said. “A lot of kids talk about being great, but he worked his butt off to be in the position that he’s in. I’m a living witness to see what hard work will do for you if you stay humble. He’s a humble kid. He’s always very humble when he receives these honors because he always says that ‘they didn’t have to consider me,’ or ‘they didn’t have to think about me.’ He’s always appreciative of what he receives from different groups.”

His work ethic and his demeanor away from the field are two things that Bridges gets acknowledged for around the community just as much as his play. His GPA remains above a 3.6, and Coach Story said that his work ethic along with the ability to be coached is what has helped him get to this point. Story also keeps a low profile away from sports, and stays away from trouble

“I’m very proud of them,” Coach Story said. “I tell them all the time that there are three things that we live by here: Don’t do anything to jeopardize the team, your family or the community. That covers all of it. I’m so proud of them because even when they were little eighth graders going into their ninth grade year, Coach [Charlie] Williams and I were driving them to these Nike and Under Armour camps, they were skinny kids, and all they wanted to eat was McDonald’s. To see them mature, and get better at the game each year, it lets me know that not only were they performing on the field, but they were listening.”

A four-star recruit, Bridges signed his letter of intent to play football this fall at the University of Oregon last month. Coach Story said that he believes that Bridges can grow into an All-American at Oregon, and get drafted into the NFL like he expects his older cousin, Marlon Bridges, Jr. to do once his career is done at Jacksonville State University.

Callaway offensive lineman Keiondre Jones was also named to the first team.