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Submitted / The Outlook Brett Pritchard, right, is heading into his 20th season broadcasting the Benjamin Russell football games. Since 2005, he has been joined by Randy Lee Jr.

“And he’s off! To the 40, the 30, the 20… he’s gonna make it… Touchdown Wildcats!”

It’s pretty clear after listening to just one Benjamin Russell football game on the radio Brett Pritchard, the play-by-play announcer for the Wildcat Football Network, is a Wildcat through and through. He was raised a Wildcat and he remained a Wildcat, and for the last two decades, Pritchard has gotten a chance to spread his passion for Benjamin Russell football around the state.

In just two weeks, Pritchard will take his seat next to Randy Lee Jr. in the pressbox of a Wildcat football and broadcast the first game of his 20th season.

“He and I used to sit at ballgames together when we were young and he had a passion for knowing what was going on and being active with it and he’s never had a problem talking,” Lee said. “That’s something he had going for him. It’s really a pleasure to work with him. He’s so passionate about it and it comes out.”

Pritchard is a 1995 graduate of Benjamin Russell. From there, he went to Central Alabama Community College before heading on to Auburn. He worked in the media relations department at Auburn, interning under Tiger coach Tommy Tuberville. From there, he did an internship at Auburn Network before returning to Alexander City when Gary Burkett brought him on the radio team for the 2000 season.

Just a few years later — and with two championship games under his belt — Pritchard became the play-by-play announcer for the Wildcats and he’s worked alongside Lee since 2005.

“I grew up wanting to be in broadcast,” Pritchard said. “To be able to come back and do it for the high school you went to, it’s your home. To be able to do that on a Friday night, that fed that passion. I love high school football and I think it’s a lot of broadcasters’ dream to be tied to something that they’re so close to.”

Pritchard and Lee, along with their team on the Wildcat Football Network, broadcast every BRHS football game, home or away, and they also call many playoff games across other sports for the Wildcats. As part of the AHSAA Radio Network, Pritchard is also part of the team that covers the Super 7.

“I don’t know how many people have told me, ‘I don’t even have to listen to the game but after a minute or two, I know how we’re doing because of what Brett sounds like,’” Lee said. “If people can tell within a minute how things are going for you based on what you sound like, you’re doing something right. It just comes out of him, and it’s a perfect fit.”

Throughout the years, Pritchard has called countless games for Benjamin Russell and it’s apparent when he talks about some of his best memories, he has too many to count. His passion for the student-athletes is probably the most impressive as he rattled off talented player after talented player he had the pleasure of following during their high school careers.

But there was one call that still stands out as one of Pritchard’s favorites.

The Wildcats were playing against a really tough Eufaula team in 2012 and were fighting for the Class 5A Region 2 championship. Back and forth the teams went before Eufaula took a 24-21 lead with just a few minutes left on the clock.

But with Bryant Horn under center, the Wildcats stormed back and Horn threw a game-winning touchdown pass Pritchard will never forget.

“Randy kinda jumped there on top of me and we were all celebrating together,” Pritchard said. “You could hear all of us in the booth going crazy, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s not just about me but all of our emotions coming together in the moment.”

Pritchard, whose son, Brayden, is now a Wildcat in his sophomore year, knows having his son playing is going to add a whole new level of passion to his broadcasting. But he’s hopeful he’s got at least 20 more seasons in him as Wildcat and he’s ready for so many more emotional moments.

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.