Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Brookwood linebacker Cameron Lynch had one of the best seasons ever for a defensive player in Gwinnett County. The senior had 188 tackles and 171/2 sacks while leading the Broncos to the Class AAAAA state championship.
Like a lot of Brookwood football players, Cameron Lynch grew up watching the Broncos play on Friday nights.
As a middle schooler he remembers watching one player in particular fly from sideline to sideline on defense.
That player was Rennie Curran, the two-time Daily Post Defensive Player of the Year and now a linebacker for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
“He had a great nose for the football, so I strived to do that when I got to high school,” Lynch said.
Lynch had the type of season that reminded Brookwood fans of Curran. He led Gwinnett County in tackles for the second year with 188 and was second in the county with 171⁄2 sacks to earn the Daily Post’s Defensive Player of the Year honor.
“I don’t like to compare players, but he’s got to be up there with the very best we’ve had,” Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said. “The numbers speak for themselves.”
Curran led the county in tackles in 2005 with 198 stops and was second in the county in sacks with 13 in 2006.
“The nose for the football, I think that’s how I compare to Rennie,” Lynch said. “But other than that, he’s in the NFL now. I’ll have to follow his footsteps, hopefully, as great as he is.”
Curran led the Broncos to the state finals as a junior, but lost to Lowndes in a lopsided contest. That’s where Lynch has the edge on Curran.
Lynch broke Curran’s sack record thanks to an attacking defense the Broncos used on their way to the Class AAAAA state championship over Colquitt County.
“We started blitzing a lot and we found our niche for the spread teams,” Lynch said.
It wasn’t until Brookwood’s game against South Gwinnett that the Broncos figured out how to stop spread teams, which they routinely faced throughout the season.
The Comets took a 14-0 first-quarter lead. They adjusted by playing more man coverage and blitzing Lynch. The Syracuse commitment flourished with big plays every game that followed.
He had a big hit at the goal line on fourth down against Grayson to help the Broncos take down the defending region champs.
“That’s when we realized we were pretty good,” Lynch said.
Against Collins Hill in the playoffs, he intercepted record-setting quarterback Taylor Heinicke to help put the Broncos up for good in the game.
“That (Cameron) Lynch kid has to be the best player in the state,” Collins Hill head coach Kevin Reach said. “He’s really good.”
The rest of the state got to see what Lynch could do in person in the state finals at the Georgia Dome. The senior posted 10 tackles, one sack, four quarterback hurries and his interception set up a Brookwood score that put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. The INT was his fifth of the season, good for fourth-best in the county this year.
After two failed attempts, it was the first state title for Brookwood since 1996.
“It means lot. For a lot of guys that have grown up in the Brookwood program, it means a lot to them. It means a lot to me,” Lynch said.
It was the second title for Lynch this year after helping the Brookwood track and field team to the state championship in the spring as a discus thrower.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Lynch committed to Syracuse in the summertime and never picked up an offer from any SEC or ACC programs. That never bothered him since he was always set on playing for the Orange.
“Syracuse is a good place and I’m concrete on my decision,” Lynch said.
After a standout career at Brookwood, Curran went on to gain fame as an All-SEC linebacker. He was one of the greatest players to ever suit up in the maroon and gold.
And now Lynch is right there with him.
“He’s in the same class as Rennie, but it doesn’t take long to call roll in Rennie’s class,” Crews said. “I hate to compare the two. They are both really good players.”