There’s no recognized name for the feat Walled Lake Western’s C.J. Brown pulled off on Friday, perhaps because no one bothered to put a name to such a rare occurrence.
In the Warriors’ 52-13 dominance of Waterford Mott, Brown was seemingly everywhere at once, rarely leaving the field. Like hitting for the cycle in baseball or achieving the so-called Gordie Howe hat trick in hockey, Brown recorded a trio of touchdowns, scoring offensively, defensively, and on special teams in the same game.
A 6-foot junior who recently began contributing on offense in addition to his starting safety role, C.J. Brown is the younger brother of Western’s offensive tackle Spencer Brown, a top recruit committed to Michigan State next fall.
“I already knew he was capable of doing that,” Spencer Brown said of his brother’s breakout performance. “C.J. is an NFL player and the best player on the team. We worked hard all summer together … They gave (C.J.) an inch and he took a mile.”
The defensive touchdown came first Friday, as C.J. Brown made arguably the most important play of the night when he intercepted a pass at his own goal line and sprinted 100 yards untouched to the opposite end zone in the second quarter.
First-year Warriors head coach Alex Grignon was anything but surprised by the big play.
“That choice route, we practiced defending it all week. We literally did a drill for 45 minutes in practice where he throws that inside seam like a skinny post pick route. We just switched and locked our corner and safety on it. (Brown) was sitting there waiting for it. He’d seen it all week and made the play when he needed to. Just like studying for a test,” Grignon said.
In the second half, Brown posted a pair of touchdowns from the running back position. On the first one, he broke a tackle and burst through a hole for a 26-yard score. Not long after, his 2-yard plunge over the goal line put the Warriors ahead by 24 points.
“He loves the game. He’s a student of the game,” Grignon said. “He texts me all weekend asking, ‘What are we doing?.’ As soon as I send the scouting report out, he’s on the phone right away. We’ll talk for 30 minutes on Sunday. He loves watching film. Every time he comes off the field, he’s on the iPad looking and coming up with ideas. He gives me feedback. It’s just like having another coach on the field. Fortunately, he runs about a 4.5 (40 yard dash) and moves pretty well.”
Brown saved his special teams touchdown for last, putting an exclamation point on Western’s big night by scooping up Mott’s late-game onside kick attempt and returning it 53 yards for a score.
“I knew I would get it because I was in the gap and they were pointed my way,” C.J. Brown said of the return touchdown. “Then, when I caught it, I saw the kicker fall, so I knew I had a lane. I took it and ran with it.”