After dislocating his hip in Seminole’s final preseason scrimmage as a junior — a freak injury that cost him his entire junior season — Brown returned with a vengeance in 2011, rushing for 1,648 yards on 132 carries for an average of 12.48 yards every time he touched the ball. He finished with 29 rushing TDs and also caught eight passes for 248 yards and two more scores. On defense as a DB, he was just as good, picking off five passes and recording 54 total tackles — stats good enough to land him on The AP and AJC’s All-State teams.
Even now, weeks after the end of a historic playoff run and a memorable career that no one in Seminole County will soon forget, Chris Brown says he feels pain when he looks back.
“Every time I drive by the stadium I think about it,’’ Brown said. “Every time I go by there it hurts. I just think how I will never see it again, never play on that field again.’’
As much as Brown will miss playing football at Seminole County High, the folks in Donalsonville will miss the elusive running back just as much.
“He’s special,’’ Indians coach Alan Ingram said of Brown. “He’s a great athlete, and he is a battler with character — a lot of character.”
Ingram then added: “He wanted to do whatever he could do to help his team win.’’
Brown did it all at Seminole County, and as a result he leaves the football field as The Herald’s 2011 John Reynolds Player of the Year.
“It’s a honor,’’ said Brown, who shredded defenses and helped lead Seminole County to the Class A state quarterfinals, crowning this year’s team as the best in the history of the program. Before Brown laced up the cleats, no Indians team had ever advanced past the second round.
“I hope the ones who follow us can go even further in the playoffs,’’ Brown said. “I hope we (set a new standard). That’s what we talked about with the younger players at the end of the year. We told them, ‘You see what it takes to accomplish this.’ We told them, ‘You have to work hard to do it,’ and we told them they can take the next step.’’
It was also a season of redemption for Brown, who missed almost his entire junior year after dislocating his hip in the team’s preseason scrimmage game. But he came back with a thunderous roar in 2011, rushing for 1,648 yards on just 132 carries. That’s an amazing 12.48 yards per carry. He rushed for 29 touchdowns, and also caught eight passes for 248 yards and two more TDs.
Brown was also a key player on defense, intercepting five passes as a defensive back with 75 yards in returns after those picks. He made 54 tackles and was named to two different all-state teams. He was named to The Associated Press All-State team on offense as a running back and to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s all-state team as a defensive back.
“I appreciate every game I played this season,’’ Brown said. “It was a great season, and the best part of the season was just being able to play.
“I knew I had to prove myself. I knew I had to make up for my junior year. I had to come back strong.’’
He couldn’t have come back much stronger.
“He’s electrifying,’’ Ingram said. “The kids call him the ‘Tin Man’ because he runs straight up and down, and when he takes off everyone on the sideline just says, ‘There goes the Tin Man. He’s gone.’ ”
The Tin Man had his best night in the second round of the playoffs against Wilkinson County. Brown rarely carried the ball more than 10 times a game in Seminole’s balanced option offense that saw fullback Barren Rambo and quarterback Antwan Buggs also combine to rush for 1,662 yards.
But when he got a chance to carry the ball — and the team — against Wilkinson, Brown exploded for 284 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns in the 28-7 win.
“He’s amazing,’’ Seminole County offensive lineman Howard Stephens said after the game. “He’s got two speeds: fast and faster. When he takes off I just look up and point to the end zone and watch him go.’’
Brown doesn’t know where he will go next. He is still waiting for offers to play at the next level and plans a trip to Georgia Tech later this month.
“I think I would have had a lot more offers if I had played my junior year,’’ Brown said. “When I came back this season my goal was to stay on the field, and my No. 1 goal was to work hard over the summer and get our team ready for the season. I feel good about that. No Seminole County team had ever gone to the third round of the playoffs, and we did.’’
There’s a lot to look back on for Brown, who still has a lot of running room ahead of him.
“He will play somewhere in college,’’ Ingram said. “Someone is going to get themselves one heck of a running back.’’