Inside the Swarm – Greer

 

By: Paul Davis

          “It’s week ten,” began coach David Lipsey, “and you have to be ready. Get your head in the game. A reminder - seniors will be the first to go out on the field tonight.”

            Coach Lipsey was followed by team chaplain Robert Emory who introduced the guest speaker for the pre-game devotion, Robby Quinn, who played for coach Lipsey in 1991 and is a Sunday School teacher at Philippi .

            “I teach Sunday School each week,” he began, “and I am used to crowds but I am terrified to be in front of you.

            “I played for coach Lipsey at Jonesville and to get mentally ready for the game, I would eat some dog food,” began Quinn as he reached into a plastic bag and pulled out a can of dog food.

            As Quinn opened the dog food, a flood of groans and “you-gotta-be-kiddings” bubbled up from the players.

            Quinn then took his fork, dug a hunk of food out, and started chewing it. He then took his Bible and read from John 4:88: Jesus was speaking: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murder from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

            “Guys, things are not always what they seem. I cut out the lid, took out the dog food, washed out the can, and filled it with jello and Twix.

            “You know the world is bad. Jesus said in John 4:16 that He was The Way, The Truth, and The Life and that no one could come to the Father except through Him. You are pressured to do what the crowd wants you to do. You’re encouraged to be cool but you know it’s a lie. That’s Jesus’ voice talking to you. Jesus will never tempt you so when you are tempted, it’s the devil doing it.

            “We’ve all done something wrong. You know when you do something wrong. Remember, that’s Jesus talking to you.

            “It seems just like yesterday that coach Lipsey was my coach. Actually it was 15 years ago. And when I smell that grass I get all fired up. Fifteen years passed quickly. You have to realize that in this community you are heroes to folks. The decisions you make can change the team and the community. You have to be disciplined. Your playbook is the Bible. Read it and know that Jesus, not the devil, is the only the way to know truth. He IS Truth.”

            Coach Lipsey told that team that “…Robbie caught a key TD pass in the last ten minutes, six seconds of a game. You’ll remember these games. You’ll remember these relationships. Robbie was a great guy and a good player.

            “What’s it worth you to win? The seniors deserve your best effort. Some of you have been working hard since last November, some since May. Take care of the football. Don’t make mistakes in the kicking game. Play 48 minutes. Remember, we dominated Clinton and lost. What’s it worth to you?”

With the offense. On the board, offensive coordinator Dave Manes had written: “6-4 Region, Winning Season, Home games in P/O, Win on Sr night, Another shot at Clinton .”

            Coach Bryan Robinson began the meeting by explaining a couple of things that the JVs had seen in their game and then reviewed some of the responses to Greer stunts. “They won’t play loose and let us run the ball up and down the field, said Robinson. “Monday and Tuesday were good practices while Wednesday was okay. Today you were out of school. Has this affected you? At 3:30 it’s all business. Greer has beat you twice. They are fighting for a playoff chance. They ended our playoff season last year.

            “It’s Senior Night, your last regular season game. Take care of this game. Football must be the most important thing in your life now. You have four quarters to accomplish what’s on the board.”

            Coach Maness reminded them that football is very big in Union and that a lot of people will be influenced about what they did. “They look forward to Friday nights. What’s it worth to you to win? Play hard 48 minutes. Seniors deserve everyone’s best effort. Everyone deserves your best effort. Some of you have been working since last November, some since May. Virginia Tech dominated Boston College for 58 minutes and lost. We dominated Clinton and lost. Take care of the football.”

In the gym. “It’s Senior Night, 2007,” began Lipsey. “Football is really important in this county. They expect you to play well. We expect you to win by how you play in practice. Everyone comes out to see you play so let’s give them something to remember. Let’s make sure that we play next week. Pride is on the line. Go get it.”

Before the game. “Keep together,” said Lipsey. “Play hard. Play fast. I want to hear a lot of chatter on the field and the sideline. All seniors are co-captains and will go out on the field with the four co-captains (Jamison Jones, Kierre Smith, Clay Alexander, and Joe Smith) when they go to mid-field.” Coach Jon Cudd challenged the team to remember that they were the first and only senior class at Union County High School .

At the half. With a scoring flurry during the second quarter, Union came back to tie Greer…”Zero-zero,” shouted Marcus Lott… “Who wants it more?” began coach Jay Brannon. “Some of you are not focused. This game means something.” Coach Lipsey challenged the team to “get after it. You can’t let go. Get it. Turn it on. Who wants it most? Seniors, don’t make this your last game here.”

At the end. “Great game,” began Lipsey. “You’ll have BHP at home, maybe. We’ll tell you Monday. Listen, five weeks. One week at a time. Then it’s Williams Brice. Five weeks. The first stop is BHP . Congratulations.”

Quick hitters. The public announcer let the fans know that it was senior Darren Perkins’ birthday Friday…Mike linebacker Clay Alexander had his hands on three passes, deflecting a sure reception and letting two go through his hands. The word is that he will be working out with the wide receivers to improve his receiving skills. Towards the end of the game, Alexander “punished” himself but knocking out 20 or more pushups in front of the Jacket bench…senior Calvin Rice had a Senior Night with a sack at 5:31 in the first quarter and a fumble recovery which stopped a Greer drive late in the second quarter…Deion Thompson had a 35-yard reception with two minutes left in the second quarter…with the Jacket threatening to score, “Jacket 800” was called with coach Maness telling quarterback Dwight Brannon “There is nothing wrong with taking the ball and running it in (instead of passing) and he did for a two-point conversion…an interception by Kendrick Brewton stopped another Greer drive in Union territory…Danny Grady pounded a 55-yard punt to the Greer five-yard line… Tyler Funderburg picked up a bouncing punt and ran it back for a good 20-yard return…coach Lipsey was nursing a cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt by Lamont Edney…Deion Thompson had a highlight-film level catch, out jumping the defender, juggling the ball a couple times before securing it, and then breaking a couple tackles on the way to a 50-yard scoring pass play…Colby Hawkins had a great open field tackle during a kick-off in the third quarter…Joe Smith made an outstanding defensive play tackling the quarterback for a 15-yard loss with 59 seconds left in the third quarter…coaches are very pleased with the play of the offensive line over the last few games allowing the running game to average over 300 yards per game, plus they have provided great pass protection all year…Anthony Davis is seen as the most improved defensive back because he works hard and is very coachable…coaches are impressed with how well linebackers Clay Alexander and Joe Smith work together…coaches have commented on how well Deion Thompson uses his body to position himself to catch a pass.

The Journey Continues. Step One. Home. Be there.

 

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