High school state titles are hard to come by. There have only been a handful of them in Tipton County over the years.

Now you can add a couple of Brighton High School sophomores to that small and elite list.

Jaxon Sherfield and Jack Houston Rushing took first place at the Student Angler Federation State Tournament last weekend on the Tennessee River in Perryville. Their five bass weighed in at 22 pounds, 10 ounces, which earned them a state tournament trophy that is on display at Brighton High School.


That victory qualified the duo for the nationals, which will be held in June in Wisconsin.

Jaxon Tillman and Oliver Oswalt, two more sophomores from Brighton, finished sixth at the tournament. Coach Brantley Tillman said those are also very likely to qualify for the nationals.

Also competing for Brighton in the tournament were Jacob Knight, Clayton Cox, Cabe Burlison and Sam Glenn.

Brantley Tillman, who is an assistant principal at Brighton and an avid fisherman, said he tried to get the bass fishing team going at Brighton in 2020 until COVID-19 stopped those plans. The team was formed again during the 2021-22 school year and it has been one of the most successful squads in the state.

The team has competed in 12 tournaments this season at various sites in West Tennessee and won six of of them.

Each two-person team has an adult who drives the boat, but the rest is left up to the high school fishermen. Teams have to supply their own boat and gas, which can be expensive, but charitable community members and corporate sponsors have helped the teams at Brighton become successful.

Most tournament winners earn scholarship money, which can range from $250 to $500.

Tillman said colleges are already contacting him about his fishermen.

“I’ve had a lot of colleges reaching out to me about signing these kids. Just about every college now has a fishing team. Bethel University is one of the top fishing schools in the nation. I’ve had several calls from colleges about getting these kids to fish for them.”

Jeff Ireland
Author: Jeff Ireland