Inside the Swarm – J.  L. Mann


            “We have a different schedule today,” began coach Dave Lipsey. “Make your meetings. We shouldn’t have to look for you. Stay on time and we want to start the game a 7:30 tonight, not 8:45 .”

            At that point, Chaplain Robert Emory introduced pastor Chad Lawson who also coaches the JV offensive line.

            “I have been privileged to help you over the past six years,” began Lawson, “but I want to focus on the greatest love the world has ever known.

            “Love is a word used very loosely. We ‘love’ to eat and you know I do. We ‘love’ football. I’ve been fortunate to be a champion both as a player and as a coach.

            “I gave each one of you a handout describing a Yellow Jacket football player. ‘A Yellow Jacket football player is in any size, shape and color…concerned…does things for the good of the team…A Yellow Jacket football player is made not born…is what small boys want to become and what an old man remembers…’

            “If you love the game, you will give all you have. Now I love my ministry as a pastor. I was called to the ministry at 15. I love my family and friends. This football team is my family. During the football season I, like all the coaches, see our football family more than we do our own families. You were together as a family against Blue Ridge .”

            “But my greatest love is my Lord Jesus Christ. I know the difference that Jesus Christ has made in my life,” continued Lawson, holding a replica of the cross. “I know how much better my life is with Christ. You all know John 3:16 which says that God loved us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us so that we might have eternal life.

            “No greater love, guys. You think you have pain from playing football. But that doesn’t compare with the pain felt by Jesus. We often forget about the big picture. One day all the stuff we worry about won’t matter. When we go to see God, He won’t care one bit about how many championship rings we have. The only thing that gets me into heaven, is not my rings or anything else, it’s the blood of Jesus. My savior can be your savior.

            “Jesus became sin for us. Jesus was placed in the tomb but overcame death and Satan. God loves you. Jesus took our place. All he does is ask that we live for Him.

            “Do you know Jesus as Lord?. You have the opportunity to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. If you want to do that, Chaplain Emory and these coaches can help you do that.”

With the D. “I’ve been looking at their games over and over,” began defensive coordinator Jay Brannon, “and I believe we can stop them with our front but you gotta go. Play our reads. He’ll stay in the pocket which helps us. They don’t spread things out but you need to be disciplined on the run.

            “Our safety will take the option, read number 2. Everything we do fits what they do. Play hard. Is there anyone here who thinks we’ll give up 50 points tonight?

            “Their JV makes the same plays as the varsity. Watch the option. Watch Number 1 on a reverse and pass. We have to contain the quarterback who is not a good runner but can do some things. He’ll move the chains.


“You need to know that they are mouthy. Let them talk. Your season is over if you get tossed. They have to win to get into the playoffs. Us too. You are guaranteed eight more quarters. We have momentum. The offense is clicking.

            “I expect some screens and we are ready for that. Where is your focus now? Where will it be at 7:30 ? I know how much I want to see you get this win but it will come down to who wants it the most. You NEVER KNOW what snap matters. Bust your butt every play. Someone will make the play that will change the game. Will that be you?”

In the gym. “Attack, attack, attack,” began Lipsey. “Get them first. Be all business on the bus. Play with emotion. You will remember your homecoming. This is theirs and they want to remember a win against Union County . Remember we are still playing for the playoffs.”

Before the kickoff. “If we win the toss, take the ball,” began Lipsey. “Seniors, you have one more game after this. Win them all and we’ll have six wins. Think about what wearing the black and gold means. Go hard from the first play. Compete every play. We need complete focus. Support the players on the field when you are on the sidelines. We will go home 5-4 or 4-5. Think of the difference. You’ve worked too hard not to kick their tail. They think they can control the line of scrimmage. Enough has been said. You have three more practices guaranteed. Let it loose.”

At the half. “It’s 0-0,” began Lipsey. “Who wants it? Finish the drive. I expect special teams to make some big plays. Who wants this game? Good defense. Good defense. Go get it. Play the best second half of the year. We get the football. Who wants it more?”

Over. Coach Lipsey began by congratulating them on a great job. “Great defense but remember it begins with what you do in practice and that’s what makes you better. You had a great week of practice. I am proud of you. Next, is our final home game. Senior night. Greer. Be safe this weekend.”

Quick hitters. Co-captains were Sam Hammond, Marcus Whitener, Marcus Lott, and Dwight Brannon…Chris Smith was one of the most vocal Jackets supporting those on the field encouraging the sideline players to, “Get it up for the Jackets.”… Marcus Lott made a crucial tackle on 4th and one, keeping J. L. Mann out of the end zone…on one running play, Dwight Brannon broke through the line, keeping his feet digging even though his head was just inches off the turf which probably explains why he is the top runner in the upstate…Alvin Young made a great tackle for loss in the first half…Jacket kicker Alex Tucker demonstrated his billiard skills by banking a kick off the left upright for the extra point… Kelvin Hardy, who also had a great game, had a sack for a 10-yard loss with 9:34 left in the game…according to the coaches a much improved Joe Smith had his best game of the year including a 15-yard sack and a tackle for a 7-yard loss…Tyler Adams received high marks from offensive line coach Bryan Robinson while Darren Perkins, who coaches say works hard and is very coachable, played very well at tight end and is developing into a vocal leader….with the game on the line and the starter out, Anthony Davis stepped up and made a great defensive tackle…Alvin Young had another crucial tackle for loss at 2:15 left in the game…for about the last 45 minutes of the ride back to the high school, the Jackets on the defense’s bus were on a roll, mimicking about every high school coach they ever had: coaches Tommy Bobo, Mike Hawkins, David Lipsey, Jay Brannon, Kevin Farmer, and Cedric Jeter, to name a few… among those keeping the players and the coaches laughing were Tevin Thompson, JeBryant Barber, T. T. Burros, Clay Alexander, and Sylvester Moore…coaches say the JV offensive line is working harder making the varsity better… tight end Tim Duckett had a great game blocking as well as pulling in two catches…according to the coaches, sophomore Jared O’Shields has a very bright future ... the team of kicker Alex Tucker, holder Tyler Funderburg, and long snapper Tyler Adams have significantly improved the Jacket’s extra point game…the J. L. Mann game was the most complete defensive game of the year according to coach Jay Brannon….as a group, linebackers T. T. Burros, Joe Smith, Clay Alexander and Kelvin Hardy had one of their best games of the year according to Brannon.

 The Journey Continues. Greer. Here. Be here.



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