PREP FOOTBALL

A chip off the old Brantley Block

2013-09-19T16:45:00Z 2014-09-30T21:32:18Z A chip off the old Brantley BlockDwight Haislet Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 19, 2013 4:45 pm  • 

Bloom Township senior Justus Brantley and his father Thomas break down plenty of game tape. The viewing sessions don't always include recent footage.

"He teaches me everything that I know now," Justus said. "I watch his tapes, and he watches mine. Every Saturday after our game, we go home and watch the tape. He tells me what I did wrong, and I go Monday and fix it in practice."

Brantley's father was a running back at Hillcrest and had multiple tasks on the field, just like his son Justus does for Bloom.

"He played running back, kick returner and punt returner," Justus said. "I'm just learning off of what he did. How to run low, explode through the hole like a bullet."

Despite his father playing football, Justus Brantley is fairly new to the sport. He began playing football in the eighth grade.

Justus has made a big impact on the football field for Bloom Township, helping the Blazing Trojans return to the playoffs last year. It was the first time Bloom had been in the postseason since 1989.

"Everybody around here looks for us to go back to the playoffs," Justus Brantley said. "We just have to work up to that ability to go back now. We want to take it further than last year."

The Blazing Trojans are 2-1 entering tonight's game at Elmwood Park. Bloom and Brantley have raised the football bar at the high school, so coming up short of a playoff berth this season will be a disappointment.

"We're just looking for teamwork and the same mindset," Brantley said of the Blazing Trojans. "We go out there aggressive. ... We're going to end with the same aggression."

Brantley has five touchdowns for the Blazing Trojans, including the game-winning score in last week's 27-20 win in the Southland Athletic Conference opener against Kankakee.

Brantley also has spent time at quarterback, throwing for three touchdowns in a season-opening 34-13 win over Thornwood. Brantley is one-third of the way toward his season goal for TDs.

"My mind set is, every time I get the ball, touchdown," he said. "I want over 2,000 yards this time."

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