Outside the Huddle: The Spirit of Brookwood’s Billy Joe Young
The spirit of Billy Joe Young lives on in the town of Brookwood.
In 2022, Brookwood High School is taking further steps to show respect and pay tribute to Young’s essence.
For only the second time since 1957, a Brookwood football player will wear jersey No. 3.
“Bringing all of those families together to Billy Joe Young Field on Friday nights is what people look forward to,” Brookwood Principal Kellie Hubbard said. “(Billy Joe Young) would be so thrilled to know his number three is coming back.”
Billy Joe Young was a freshman player on the Panthers in 1951, and wore the No. 3. That season, in a game against Thompson High School, Young suffered an injury that left him paralyzed.
Young’s teammates rallied in the wake of Young’s injury, and won 10 consecutive games. It’s the longest winning streak in the history of the Brookwood football program.
Despite his permanent nature of his injury, Young continued to raise the spirits of those around him. Current Brookwood Football Head Coach Mike Bramblett says Young made it his mission to “live a life that makes a difference”.
“This is a guy sitting in the press box calling youth baseball games, youth basketball games. He didn’t give up,” Bramblett said. “That’s what we’re trying to get through to the young men of our program.”
Early this offseason, Bramblett told his players that someone would be issued the “Billy Joe Young No. 3” jersey for the 2022 season. The football coaching staff used offseason workouts and preseason football practice to assess which player would best represent the virtues and heart of Young.
“They’re bringing it out everyday. The competitive spirit that we are looking for, they bring it every day,” Bramblett said.
Last month, ahead of the Panthers season-opener against Holt, the Brookwood coaches awarded the “Billy Joe Young No. 3″ jersey to sophomore Jacob Rowell.
“I actually wanted someone else to get it,” Rowell said. “I’m glad for the opportunity, but I wish someone else would’ve gotten it. I’ve got to take a lot more responsibility than I have been (taking) and I feel like I’ve got to mature a little bit too.”
Brookwood (2-1) lost to Hueytown 67-13 on Friday night. Next week, the Panthers host Tuscaloosa-Central High School (1-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm at Billy Joe Young Field.