Saturday’s 62-35 victory over the Stratford Knights wasn’t just personal for Northwestern senior defensive back Brayon McCoy.
It was about family, and not just his Northwestern Trojan family, but his blood kin. It was about keeping a family tradition of collecting jewelry alive. McCoy’s father, Arthur, and his uncle, Paul Lindsey, both played on the 1993 Northwestern team that defeated the Gaffney Indians 2-0 in Clemson’s Death Valley for the school’s second state championship.
His brother A.J. carried on that tradition in 2010 and took it a step further in helping the Trojans to their first undefeated season and their third state title, that time over Greenwood.
Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, Brayon did more than just carry on the tradition and collect hardware. He made a key contribution with two second-half interceptions, part of the eight turnovers the Trojans forced en route to finishing a second perfect season.
“My father and my brother got rings,” said McCoy, who also had five tackles, a forced fumble and two pass breakups. “Now I can join them with my ring.”
Four of those turnovers were interceptions of future Georgia Bulldog Jacob Park, one of the top quarterback prospects in the country. Those turnovers were key as the Knights tried to rally in this matchup of top QBs and video game offenses. Stratford’s defense only forced Trojan QB Mason Rudolph into one pick. It was a key contribution for a defense that gets overlooked by all the glitzy numbers put up by their offensive counterparts.
These offensive teams play a much different style from the days of McCoy’s father and uncle on the defense-dominated ’93 team. Gaffney and Northwestern combined for two points in that game, while Saturday the Trojans and Stratford combined for 97.
The result was the same. Northwestern gets more hardware for the school’s trophy case and the McCoy family gets another ring.
“The tradition goes on,” McCoy said. “When Coach Wallace was here, he started it, we’re keeping it going, and our younger players will keep it going.”
For those that are wondering, there may be another sequel in the works. Are there any more McCoys?
With a sly smile on his face, the most recent McCoy answered, “I’ve got a little cousin.”