Almost every child fantasizes about this moment when they first pick up a football, Columbia High School football coach Brian Allen told himself as he watched former CHS defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan in his moment of triumph Sunday night.
The fact that Jernigan and the Philadelphia Eagles claimed Super Bowl glory at Tom Brady’s expense was just icing on the cake.
“It was a Lake City kid, an alumni of our program that had an opportunity to make history as our first Super Bowl champion,” Allen said.
Jernigan had done what Allen, the first CHS alumnus to play in a Super Bowl, could not.
In 2002, Allen played for the St. Louis Rams against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.
In 2004, he played for the Carolina Panthers against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Allen lost to Brady and the Patriots on last-second field goals both times, but said he didn’t want to dwell on his past losses.
All that matters, he said, is that Jernigan, the Eagles’ defensive tackle, has shown the nation what Tigers are made of.
“My time is come and gone,” Allen said. “But for him ... bringing the championship to Philly, [he built] the legend of his magnificent career, [got] another notch on his belt.”
“It was just a special feeling for someone from Lake City,” he added. “[I’m] proud of one of our fellow Lake Citians reaching the highest feat that you can reach in the game of football.”
Brady will go down in history as one of the best quarterbacks who ever lived, Allen said, and Jernigan will forever be remembered as the man who beat him.
“For someone to be able to dethrone one of the greats like that ... each one of those guys played a part in being able to defeat the greatest quarterback to have played the game,” Allen said.
Though the moment belongs to Jernigan, everyone from Lake City can share in the victory, Allen said.
“I would definitely hope that this community is extremely happy and proud of our hometown kid,” he said.
Allen and other elated fans took to social media to celebrate the Eagles’ win Sunday night.
“Timmy Jernigan is truly blessed,” Marquez Bell wrote on Facebook. “i Really look up to You ... Straight outa Lake City”